In 1897, when The Judson Studios was established in Los Angeles by the painter and professor William Lees Judson and his three sons, they could have never imagined the scope of the work their studio would produce in the 21stcentury. Under the direction of David Judson, Lees’ great-great grandson, every project is approached with a cutting-edge sensibility and technological savvy, whether the client is a boutique hotel or a historic cathedral.
Helmed by Walter Horace, the eldest of Lees’ sons and a stained glass expert, Judson Studios thrived from the start, beautifying the booming metropolis of Los Angeles with works that represented the best in traditional and modern design. Today, Judson is the oldest family-run stained glass studio in America, still proudly offering an exquisite, handcrafted product made by local artisans, and continuing to serve the community that has sustained them through the decades. Located in the Highland Park section of northeast LA, the studio was founded in the Mott Alley section of downtown in the mid-1890s, but moved to its current location in 1920. The Judson Studios building was named a Historic-Cultural Landmark by the City of Los Angeles in 1969 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
In April of 2017 Judson Studios’ Resurrection Window, the largest single composition fused glass window in the world, was dedicated. Created for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, the groundbreaking work measures 37 feet tall by 93 feet wide. For the ambitious project, Judson Studios collaborated with world-renowned artist Narcissus Quagliata to bring then Judson designer Tim Carey’s vision to life. This represented the first time a notable liturgical window was created entirely from fused glass. To accomplish the daunting task of producing this first ever fused window wall, Judson Studios expanded from their workspace in Highland Park to a new addition in South Pasadena. More than 5,000 square feet of modern factory and kiln capabilities enabled the studio, with Quagliata’s assistance, to complete their most challenging commission to date.
The changes necessary for the creation of The Resurrection window have completely expanded and redefined the studio’s offerings and capabilities, allowing Judson Studios to take on more work in fused glass and to collaborate with artists who don’t normally work in glass. As Director of Innovation, Quagliata works with the studio to further develop capabilities in fusing while also helping to guide Judsons’ growing artist development program.
Recent collaborative projects include: the Santa Clarita Fire Station 104 by Anne-Elizabeth Sobieski, commissioned by the Los Angeles County Public Arts Commission in 2020; “Embracing the World,” by Amir H. Fallah, was one of the studio’s first artist collaborations in its new fusing studio in 2017; “The Muralist, ”by David Flores. Judson Studios took a design by Flores and translated it into a stained and fused glass panel. The work was displayed as part of his solo show at Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara, California, in October of 2017; “Portals,” by James Jean, includes three panels titled “Portal Verso,” “Portal Interior,” and “Portal Recto.” Judson Studios took designs from Jean and crafted them into a stained and fused glass triptych. The work was displayed as part of his solo gallery show Azimuth at Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, in April of 2018. Judson’s 2019 collaboration with Jean titled “Gaia” is a nearly 8-foot-tall, three-dimensional crystal made entirely of fused glass and bound with lead in a custom steel frame. The piece was displayed at another of Jean’s gallery exhibitions, this time at Lotte Museum in Seoul, South Korea.
To commemorate the studio’s expansion and growth, Judson Studios along with Angel City Press recently released a new book, JUDSON: Innovation in Stained Glass, the first book of its kind to chronicle the studio’s remarkable five-generation history. From the earliest days of the studio during the Arts and Crafts Movement, to the newly refined fused stained glass used in today’s contemporary buildings, Judson Studios has been recognized internationally as among the world’s finest in stained glass artistry. You can pick up your copy today by clicking here.
Current president David Judson is the fifth generation Judson family member to own and operate the Studios. A supporter of the arts like his great-great grandfather William Lees, David believes in maintaining a workplace that fosters creative expression. The Studio has hosted on-site art exhibitions, and its staff includes a diverse group of artists who bring fresh eyes to this meticulous process.