Saturday, 17 November 2007

Conrad Schmitt Studios

While I was visiting Wisconsin I had an extra special treat - I was given a guided tour of Conrad Schmitt Studios. My friend Maggi's son works there, and he was delighted to show us around.

If you want to know more about Conrad Schmitt and what they do, check out their website:

Basically, Conrad Schmitt are a world class organisation which renovates and restores old buildings - churches, cathedrals, and more. They do the complete restoration, including paintwork, stained glass windows and frescoes. The entire studio was a feast for the eyes....

There are models of all manner of decorative objects,
everywhere. I liked this pillar top.

This window, built into the studio wall, was fascinating.
Although my brain 'knew' that the red wine glass was part of the window,
my perception was that it appeared to be about a foot in front of the window.
The effect is less obvious on the photo, but was very pronounced on the day,
and is caused by the fact that some colours
make things appear further away than others.

A wooden model of Christ on the crucifix.

As church restorations form a large part of the work of the studio,
they have quite a collection of crucifix models,
and also of the 12 stations of the cross.

Models are stacked on top of and hung on the ends of the large racks
designed to hold the sheets of glass.
The studio has a fantastic selection of glass.
The 'cartoon' hung above is one that would have been used
by an artist to show how to shade the glass when it was being painted

More models on the end of another glass rack.
These are mostly made of plaster.

An effigy of a child.

Nice pair of cherubs!!!

A wall panel

A painting, with a 'clean' strip across the middle,
showing where the restoration has taken place.

A modern stained glass window,
built into the studio wall.

Some stained glass windows waiting to be delivered.
The one on the right was about 4 ft 6 inches high.

Several 'cartoons' are drawn for each stained glass window.
This one is to show the painter where the 'light' falls.
This will be cut into pieces, and matched up with the individual piece of glass,
so that when the artist is painting the piece,
he or she can match the shading to the cartoon.

This cartoon shows which colour glass goes where

This is a window in progress - where the glass has been cut in the different colours,
and has been laid on a workspace as if it were a giant jigsaw.
This glass will have painted designs added, plus light and shade, before firing in a kiln.
It will then be leaded up ready for installation.

This panel has been painted and fired, and has had the glass edges copper foiled.
This is the way Tiffany did his interior glass panels - after copper foiling,
the entire panels were soldered together.

This is nearly ready to put together with lead.
The artist is just checking it on a giant light box,
to make sure all the paintwork is perfect.

The interior of the studio - not a square inch of hanging space is wasted.
There are models and cartoons everywhere,
and some of the artwork is built into the building.

Some plaster models, showing different finishes.

A glass wall - each panel is over 6 feet high - where the design is modern.
Conrad Schmitt are experimenting & developing new etching techniques.

A modern stained glass window,
an example of their artwork built into the studio building.
There are interesting things hanging on
every vertical space in the studio!

Models hung on the end of the glass racks.
Modern stained glass window built into studio wall.

These were painted 'cartoons' or small scale paintings
of the design for a domed ceiling

I would like to say a HUGE thank you to
Kevin Grabowski for showing me around.
I could spend a whole month there and not see all there is to see,
but I loved my quick tour.
It really made me appreciate some of the
processes involved in restoration,
and also the skill and craftmanship
of the artists working for Conrad Schmitt.

1 comment:

Fiona said...

Wow, what a fascinating place. I think my favourites are the modern stain glass windows. Such craftsmanship.