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CZ Lawrence

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Release Date: 02/10/2021

Between Us: John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s Contributions to Glass show art Between Us: John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s Contributions to Glass

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Well-known early on for their signature blown glass Bags, the subsequent cast glass work of John Littleton and Kate Vogel provided a new outlet for complex contemplations, questions and reflections. In this dramatic departure from their lighthearted Bags, faces and hands are used in various poses and combinations to explore states of mind, relationships, and even spiritual themes.

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Robin Grebe show art Robin Grebe

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Inspired by Cycladic fertility icons, early Byzantine paintings, and folk art, Robin Grebe’s figures serve as a canvas or setting for her narratives. Using birds and plants as metaphors for mythic flight, spirituality, the intangible, and nature’s uncontrollable forces, Grebe transforms her personal search into a shared exploration.

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Joshua Opdenaker aka JOP! show art Joshua Opdenaker aka JOP!

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

The first in Philly’s Fishtown area to make a name for himself in the field, today there are at least five glass studios and 18 glassblowers on Opdenaker’s street alone. From group builds such as those of the Molten Art Classic to individual skill-building works such as goblets, JOP! glass’ pioneering spirit continues evolving with the scene.

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Sylvia Nicolas show art Sylvia Nicolas

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

One of the leading ecclesiastical artists in the United States, Sylvia Nicolas is a member of an illustrious and prolific stained glass family. She is the fourth of five generations specializing in the liturgical arts and the daughter of Joep and Suzanne Nicolas, both famous artists who immigrated from the Netherlands to the U.S. in 1939 to escape the rising tide of Nazism. Joep Nicolas was sometimes referred to as “the Father of Modern Stained Glass.”

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Crista Van Slyck-Matteson show art Crista Van Slyck-Matteson

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Crista Van Slyck-Matteson’s multi-media art speaks of her love for wild spaces and deep connection to the Pacific Northwest. An accomplished sculptor, she allows her finely-honed intuition to guide spontaneous sculpting of natural world observations. Matteson’s work also utilizes technical mold-making skills to create exact replicas of found botanical forms. She combines these skills to create magical-realist sculptures.

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Jason McDonald: Investigating Identity, Racism and Representation show art Jason McDonald: Investigating Identity, Racism and Representation

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

In his current work, glassblower Jason McDonald tells important stories about social inequality through his intentionally made, well-crafted objects. His successful interweaving of those two trajectories continues to evolve through life-changing experiences such as his participation on the popular Netflix competition series Blown Away 2 and his recent week-long Murano, Italy, study with Maestro Davide Fuin as the recipient of the Windgate-Lamar Fellowship.

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Scott Ouderkirk: From Autonomous Panels to Wooden Boats show art Scott Ouderkirk: From Autonomous Panels to Wooden Boats

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

In this ToYG interview, Captain Scott Ouderkirk discusses his successful combination of fusing and stained glass in autonomous panels, unique marketing ideas and suggestions for stained glass artists, thoughts on the creative process regardless of genre, and his love of wooden boats and boating.

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Susan Taylor Glasgow show art Susan Taylor Glasgow

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Susan Taylor Glasgow’s work embraces feminine ideals of sensuality in a seductive but unforgiving material, offering conflicting messages of comfort and expectation. Some of her sculpture pays tribute to the era of June Cleaver and Betty Crocker via images appropriated from the world of ‘50s and ‘60s television and advertising.

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Remembering Benjamin Moore show art Remembering Benjamin Moore

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Seattle glass art legend Benjamin Moore died on June 25, 2021. A seminal figure in establishing Seattle as a contemporary glass center, Moore provided his studio and top-notch glassblowing team to make the work of the world’s finest artists and designers.

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Mark Peiser show art Mark Peiser

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Since 1967 when Mark Peiser became involved with the Studio Glass Movement, he has been recognized for his uniquely individualized approaches and accomplishments in glass. Continual investigation of the expressive implications of glass properties and processes has led to his distinctive bodies of work. Recently Peiser published the book, Thirty-Eight Pieces of Glass – with Related Thoughts, pairing his glass with brief writings of resonance.

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CZ Lawrence: A Thin Line Between Humor and Pathos

Charles Ziegler Lawrence was a man who could have easily held his own in a conversation with the likes of Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, or Hunter S. Thompson. Whether reflecting on his life as a young artist in 1960s Greenwich Village or reliving the making of five windows for the National Cathedral, all of his stories were replete with an equal amount of psychedelic detail. Though the truth of the tale was never in question, the content was unbelievable.

Lawrence seemed as unlikely a candidate for the priesthood as he did for a life dedicated to liturgical art; however both are his truths. Sometimes tragic, sometimes triumphant, the personal history of this “existential iconoclast” blurs the thin line between humor and pathos. His professional success might very well be the reward for having learned how to walk that line.

From his obituary: Lawrence, 83, died on January 1, 2019. He began his career in 1956 as an apprentice to master craftsman Rudolph Henrick Beunz. In the 1960s while attending design school at Pratt Institute, New York City, Lawrence worked in the glass department of the Rambusch Decorating Studio where he perfected skills in glass painting and color selection. In 1968 he went to work for the Willets Stained Glass studio in Chestnut Hill, where he completed prestigious commissions for the National Cathedral, the Temple of the Latter Day Saints, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, as well as the University of Rochester, and Penn State University. In the 1980s Lawrence established his own studio in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, completing additional commissions for the National Cathedral, as well as works for the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, St. Mary’s at the Cathedral, Andorra, PA, the Burlington Bridge Commission in NJ, and the Gore-Tex Manufacturing Co., in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Lawrence received The Stained Glass Association of America’s faceted glass design award twice, the Interfaith and Forum on Religious Art and Architecture award twice, and the St. Francis Xavier Chapel Award of Excellence. In 1994, the SGAA presented Lawrence with its Lifetime Achievement Award. A senior advisor for the American Glass Guild, he was also an associate member of the British Society of Master Glass Painters. 

There will never be another CZ, as he was affectionately known, partially because stained glass and what it takes to conquer the craft has forever changed. But the art and the artist will be represented throughout the ages by his many bold, gothic revival style masterpieces.

In 1994 Lawrence made his final window for the National Cathedral. This small, two-lancet window is located in the east end of the cathedral in the chaplain’s office. In most cases, he didn’t bother to make or apply the putty himself, but this time was special. Lawrence combined linseed oil, whiting, and lampblack, the major components, and added one last special ingredient—the ashes of Angus, his beloved dog who had died and was cremated during the making of his previous cathedral window. 

Said Lawrence: “The cathedral was done, and Angus was in a safe place for the coming millennium. After that we will be together again. I am sure God knows how much I’ve missed him and She will bring us back together. Until then, I know I will always have a friend in the cathedral and so will Tracy, Vanessa, and whoever else comes after them.” 

Recorded live at a coffee shop at the 2012 American Glass Guild conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this podcast conversation was created from the TOYG archives.