The process begins with a large sheet of clear glass. The glass is cut into two identical pieces which will eventually become fused together to form the finished piece. One of these sheets of clear glass is placed in the artist’s workstation above a light source. A stencil made of paper, fabric or thin plastic is placed on the glass and covered with different colors of powdered glass using a mesh sieve. The stencil is removed and this process is repeated many times, as each pattern is a series of hand-cut stencils. After the bottom glass is decorated and inspected, the matching glass sheet is carefully placed on top. The terracotta molds are then prepped for firing, arranged in the kilns, and the decorated pieces are centered onto each mold. The kilns are set to reach a temperature of 1500°F, locking the colored design in between the two sheets of clear glass as they fuse together.
The following day, the finished pieces will be removed from the kilns, washed, inspected, and placed on display in the gallery.
Bill Sydenstricker continued to develop and perfect this unique art-form up until his passing in 1994. To this day, all of our pieces are made using the exact same process that Bill used in the 1960’s, and many of the original molds and stencil designs are still in production. All of our molds are handmade from high fire terracotta, each piece of glass is cut by hand, and every stencil is meticulously designed, drawn, and hand cut by one of the artisans.
Over the last fifty years, thousands of different designs have been produced by Bill and his small group of talented glass artists who continue to refine the craft and create new and exciting pieces regularly.
To allow our customers to witness and learn about this unique art-form firsthand, the workshop is open for walk-throughs every Monday through Friday from 9:30AM until 3:30PM May through December.