Whether we are restoring an historic church window or creating new stained glass, it is universally true that our efforts are made possible by the generosity of individuals who appreciate what this medium adds to a sacred environment. We consider the dedication inscription to be a very important part of the design, not an afterthought. Our efforts to design the text for a donors dedication is our chance to acknowledge their generosity while at the same time, afford the donors a chance to dedicate their gift to a loved one.
We have always valued the great calligraphy one sees in ancient windows. Text beautifully done adds another layer of interest to the compositions. The visual cadence adds another opportunity for rhythm within the composition but unfortunately, calligraphy has been all but completely lost to the craft of stained glass in these days of endless font choices. Too often I have seen artists fail to recognize how much can be gained seemingly for lack of either skill or interest. This truly is unfortunate because the entire window design suffers when a dedication is reduced to a mechanically executed, computer-generated font. The resulting dedication generally looks amateur and cheep.
Here I would like to offer as an example of excellence the work of Rita Beyer who’s skill as a calligrapher has added greatly to some of my best designs. Rita is designing the dedications for the four windows for Saint Joseph’s Church in Pomfret Maryland.
This first step is a pencil sketch or cartoon of the actual lettering as it was provided by the donor. This is executed on 100% cotton tracing paper.