City guide

American stained-glass makers to give free talk in Budapest

Photo : Kessler Studios

Kessler Studios, a husband-and-wife artist team, are coming to Budapest this Wednesday, 15 January, to give a free talk on stained-glass production and design. Bob and Cindy Kessler began their stained-glass business in 1980 as newly married young artists, and have been designing large-scale architectural pieces for churches, hospitals, universities and other spaces ever since.

Photo: Kessler Studios

Kessler Studios began in my grandmother’s basement,” says Cindy. “We insulated it with old blankets and worked out of her garage.” Cindy had studied ceramics at university, and Bob was a film student. There were no places in America which taught the art of making stained-glass windows, so Cindy taught herself. As the business expanded, the couple eventually moved out of Cindy’s grandmother’s basement, and their current studio is located in a large, retrofitted industrial unit shared with other local artists.

Bob and Cindy work on a section of a stained glass window. Photo: Kessler Studios

The pair has been working largely with Lamberts Glass Factory in Waldsassen, Germany, a small town only a stone’s throw from the Czech border, for the last 40 years. Lamberts is one of the last factories in the world which still produces glass in the traditional, mouth-blown way, a process which takes skill, patience and heart. A master chemist consults with Cindy on the specifics of each colour needed for the windows, and this information is given to the glass blowers, who fire up the furnaces in the dead of night and work until daybreak. If any piece is not perfect, the process must begin again.

The Great Hall at Lamberts Glass Factory.Photo: Lamberts Glass Factory
A worker blows what will eventually be a flat piece of artisanal glass. Photo: Lamberts Glass Factory

In 2016, Bob documented the glass creation process at Lamberts, which will be included in the talk this Wednesday.

Lamberts Mouthblown Glass 2017_1-30 from Bob Kessler on Vimeo.

The Kesslers have produced windows across America, including a hanging glass sculpture in Toledo, Ohio, a 5×27 metre window at a retirement centre in Chicago and a window for the university library in Peru…Nebraska.

The Clare at The Watertower, in Chicago. Photo: Kessler Studios

The Kesslers’ talk will cover how glass is produced traditionally, as well as how they create designs and translate them into glass, how windows are transported and assembled, and the genesis story of Kessler Studios from 1980 until today.

A hanging glass sculpture designed by Cindy. Photo: Kessler Studios

The talk will take place at The Workshop, and is free to attend. The event begins at 7pm and will be followed by a Q&A session. See more information at the Facebook event.

Bob works on a window.Photo: Kessler Studios
Cindy steps back to see how a piece will look once installed.Photo: Kessler Studios