Mark Angus Inspires at the Bild-Werk Frauenau

I had the immense pleasure of spending 3 days last week with Mark Angus at the Bild-Werk in Frauenau, Germany.  Mark proved himself to be a wonderful teacher as well as an inspiration to myself and the other students in the course. 

Mark shared with us some of his techniques for creating his art.  We got right to business by silver-staining a bunch of pieces of float glass on the first evening and using traditional tracing black on others to start some small compositions.  Over the next days, we continued to work those pieces, which were fired overnight, and to create new ones as well.  I absolutely loved seeing how his mind works and how he goes about creating his artwork.  He has a fabulous personality and is very open and graceful in the way that he teaches.  I gained so much over the course that I could never have learned on my own and I am eternally grateful for the experience.  I immediately grabbed a slot (one of the few remaining, apparently) in the Bild-Werk’s International Summer Academy and I am already eagerly anticipating what I’ll learn then!

If you’re not familiar with it, as I was not until I found I was coming to Germany and someone graciously suggested it to me on, The Bild-Werk is a school and art facility dedicated to furthering all forms of art and inspiration from music and theater to painting, drawing, and especially glass work – just to name some.  It’s situated in Bavaria in the beautiful little village of Frauenau which also houses the Glass Museum and many glass production sites and outlets.  The website for the Bild-Werk is and I would encourage anyone who is near the area to visit!

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Ludwig Schaffrath Windows in K-town

As I piece together my Post-War German glass education, I am learning every day that not only are there treasures of stained glass everywhere here, but some are right underneath my nose. I only had to drive 25 minutes outside of my tiny little village to find my latest bit of personal research. “Thank goodness for the internet,” is all I have to say about this, because all I need is a little bit of a clue about whose work I want to see and Viola! there it is. A little Mapquest™ action and I can find amazing things to go see — all within the span of the time that my kids are in school.

My latest discovery was the Gelöbniskirche und Wallfahrtskirche “Maria Schutz” in Kaiserslautern. Ludwig Schaffrath is another one of the contemporary glass artists I wanted to research during my time here and I was delighted to find that the whole church is filled with his work. Installed in 1998/2000, there are gorgeous blue and green windows lining the hallway (or Kreuzgang) along the outside of the church and uplifting clear and amber pieces aloft in the sanctuary itself. (These are what I had access to, although I believe there are a few others in the choir and perhaps in the sacristy.)

I was lucky enough to be granted a sunny day to view the windows. It has been dreadfully dreary here for the past months, and it was a real treat to see the windows with sunlight streaming in and dancing off of the sanctuary walls. The windows are mostly clear with amber accents and quite a few bevels that cast beautiful colors onto the adjacent walls (see photo).

What I like the most about these windows is that I simply find them to be very pleasant to look at. They do not assault the senses as some of Schaffrath’s works do; they caught my attention rather completely and then quietly let it go leaving a definite mark in my mind, but not so much as to distract from the general quietude of the church itslef.  The electricity of the hallway works (blue, green and clear with shots of magenta and orange) seem to fit their placement in the lively walkway into and out of the sanctuary. The “Hallos”, “Guten Tags,” and lively conversations that are sure to take place there seem to be echoed in the window designs. See below . . .

Conversely, the reserved color scheme and more orderly lines of the sanctuary windows convey a sense of serenity and peace. Plus, the fact they are high above the viewer’s line of sight, gives an automatic reminder to look skyward. I don’t know what Schaffrath intended with his designs specifically, but as I look at these windows, I can see impressions of sky and clouds. The amber glass reminds me immediately of halos and heavenly gold.

As I look at these contemporary works of art that I am seeking out while here in Germany, I see not only the windows, but I feel that I also see the marks of the artists themselves. The German tradition of having stained glass artists who are formally trained in the fine arts as opposed to a strictly artisan approach, makes for a wonderful collection of beautiful works spread across the country. I can’t wait to find the next treasure! See the rest of my photos from the Maria Schutz Church at:!/album.php?aid=56517&id=100000560056594

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Stained Glass in Germany

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As a primarily self-taught glass artist, I have to work a little harder to get the perspective I believe I need in order to speak meaningfully about glass art. I spent my college years studying electrical engineering and not on … Continue reading

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