November 19, 2018

Judson Art Studios Continues a Thousand-Year Artform

Stained glass is an art form that has been around for about a thousand years.  Today it remains extremely popular and largely unchanged since the 12th century. It’s beautifully simple, yet as complex as a mosaic, as a broken kaleidoscope reassembled as a bright light jigsaw puzzle. I’m talking about the unique qualities of stained glass displayed as cathedral windows or casino ceiling domes or even beautiful room dividers in a private home. Did you know that the oldest stained glass company in America still owned and operated by the same family is as close as Pasadena?  An easy excursion to Judson Stained Glass Art Studios is one of the newer trips offered by DayTripper Tours.

I had the great pleasure to lead 23 passengers on this trip on Tuesday, November 13th. With our coach driver, Carolyn, negotiating the roadways we actually arrived early in Old Pasadena for lunch on our own. Some in our group chose the familiar Cheesecake Factory or Buca de Beppo, while others ventured into a Himalayan or Mexican cafe, and still others visited Crepes de Paris, the new Fig Sprout or the newly opened Crack Shack.  Once back on the coach, everyone seemed happy with their lunch choices and excited to see the main attractions.

Our next stop was the newer of the two Judson facilities – the “Fused & Kiln-Formed Glass” factory, opened in 2016.  Judson’s guide, Melissa, walked us through the 7000 square-foot open workspace pointing out several large kilns lining one wall.  She also walked us between the many layout and assembly tables where artists were painstakingly combining different colors of glass shards to be melted (fused) into whole new colors and shapes.  Each one of us was taking taking photographs, trying to capture the whole colorful process. With a little time before Carolyn picked us up, we explored the Bullseye Glass retail shop next door.  This is also the company, based near Portland, Oregon, that supplies Judson with their glass.

Just a five-minute ride away, we arrived at the Judson “Stained Glass & Restoration” facility, which could not have been more different from their new studio.  Greeted and led by Judson’s guide, Jocelyn, we learned that this was their original operation, dating back to 1911.  The old building has been described as “a charmingly disjointed Victorian meets Arts & Crafts house”.  We were able to watch multiple artists working in multiple small workrooms, carefully cutting glass shapes to fit into precise spaces, or restoring someones’ priceless old stained glass window, or masterfully bending slim strands of copper to wrap around and hold the glass pieces in place.  Again, our cameras were working overtime to try and capture the light prisms around us.

Our tour group even included several people who work with stained glass here in San Diego, such as Cathy who has created beautiful Tiffany-like lamp shades or young Mike, who plans to make stained and fused glass work his career up in Julian. This was a beautiful day for all of us, in every sense of the word, from the cloudless sky to the rainbows of colors inside both of Judson’s studios.  Yes, the day provided lots of colorful stories for us to tell and won’t that be a nice reflection on us?  Okay, I wouldn’t want to be a pane so I’ll stop now. But come along on our next DayTripper Tour.  I promise it will be another illuminating experience

Steve Weber
DayTripper Tour Manager

Tour: Judson Stained Glass Studio Tour
Date: November 13, 2018


Categories: Blog