When you think stained glass no doubt you’re thinking of the great gothic cathedrals, the classic churches, but there is a whole world of stained glass out there! Welcome back to the Associated Crafts blog where we talk everything stained glass from sculpted leaf, to the history of stained glass to the now: contemporary stained glass of the modern era! Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most wonderful pieces out there!

Wonderful Works of Contemporary Stained Glass

Harmonic Convergence

Photo from Miami Airport.

This piece was developed in 2011 by the American architect Christopher Janney for the Miami International Airports.  Janney is a sound architect meaning he crafts incredible audible experiences for audiences (yes, we had to look it up too!)  The Convergence is a combination of colored glass, LED lights, speakers, sensors all to create an interactive installation for travelers. They walk along the hall and are treated to a rainbow of colors, sounds ranging from thunderstorms to the songs of tropical birds. Janney leveraged his sound architecture skills to create a sonic experience of southern Florida.


Kehinde Wiley’s Work

This artist is most widely known for creating former president Barack Obama’s official portrait, has also put together an amazing collection of stained glass works, using the styles of the European Renaissance to depict a more modern experience, featuring sneakers, caps, shorts. It imbues a classic grace to its subjects who often aren’t seen in such a way.

Grossmunster Cathedral

We’ve talked about it before, but it is such a unique take on the concept of stained glass that we want to bring it to our readers attention again. German artist Sigmar Polke created a collection of 12 windows in 2009 bring a contemporary take to the classic stained glass window. Seven of the windows aren’t even what we might call ‘stained,’ but instead are made from precious stone sliced incredibly thing. They create a beautiful kaleidoscope of color.

Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Gethsemane Lutheran Church image of contemporary stained glass

Photo from Olson Kundig

While we are on the subject of churches, let’s take a look at these pieces done for the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Seattle, WA. The building itself is from the 1950s and has played host to wide a range of services including housing, social services, and worship. Remodeling the building with multi-colored glass and metal create one incredible tapestry of glass. When viewed from afar, the metal pattern creates oversized cross forms. Speaking on the piece, Jim Olson had this to say:

“Sunshine, projected through colored glass, creates a nonmaterial weaving of light that moves across the room as Earth spins in space. This chapel brings a sense of spirituality to the urban core.” 

The Kaleidoscopic Watertowers by Tom Fruin

This huge water tower measures 25ft x 10ft x 10ft and sat near the East River Waterfront in Brooklyn, NY. It is made up from almost a thousand pieces of salvaged plexiglass in a rainbow of pieces. During the day the sculpture lit and blazes by natural light. When it was originally installed it also had a programmed light show designed by another artist named Ryan Holsopple playing inside the piece. 

Since building this first water tower, Fruin has went on to add another to the rooftop of 334 Furman street. These water towers are visible to anyone with a clear view of the skyline in these areas of Brooklyn.

contemporary stained glass piece the kaleidoscopic watertowers

Photo by Nathan Hasselby

Whether it’s in a church chapel, an airport walkway, or an outdoor found art sculpture, the tradition and principles of stained glass live on in a wide number of ways. Artists are constantly iterating on the process and evolving the tradition with it. It’s a tradition Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser are proud to be a part of.

If you are interested in seeing what stained glass can do for your building, or how Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser can help maintain and restore your current beautiful windows, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are where light learns to speak, and we are overjoyed to help light find the right words.