Throughout Kathy Jordan’s career, education via workshops and hands-on experience has kept her approach to glass fresh and informed. Her training is the beneficial byproduct of many workshops, including a decade of Richard Millard’s glass painting instruction held at his Antrim School in New Hampshire, intensive China painting study, and master instruction internationally. Antrim inspired Jordan to teach others by providing the same kind of camaraderie combined with intensive glass painting instruction. Jordan states: “If I had gone to an art college or university when I graduated high school, I would not be involved in glass today. My education has been unconventional, but most certainly degree worthy.”
At home in Media, Pennsylvania, Jordan is wife, mother, and artist. The success of her studio, The Art of Glass, Inc.,rested upon her multifaceted talents in visual arts, historical research, technology, and entrepreneurship. Jordan’s studio completed projects in churches and public spaces from Barbados to Maine, 95 percent of which were restorations. Though restoration painting is her forte, in 2013 she painted and fabricated seven new windows for St. Joseph Church in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. The largest, a panoramic baptism scene, measured 560 square feet. The late Charles Z. Lawrence, who created five windows for the Washington National Cathedral, designed the windows and selected glass for the project.
Over the last three decades, Jordan has been involved with many notable restoration projects by Tiffany, LaFarge, Clayton and Bell, Mayer of Munich, Lalique, and other historically significant artists/ studios. Many of these jobs were carried out in collaboration with Femenella & Associates, including seven Tiffany angels for a travelling exhibit called In Company with Angels, Princeton University Chapel, the Washington National Cathedral and the fire-damaged windows of St. Bernard’s Episcopal Church in Bernardsville, New Jersey, which established Jordan as a conservation painter. Several of these projects received Historic Preservation awards.
In 2014, Jordan closed The Art of Glass, Inc. and began working for Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As Director of Art Development, one of her first jobs was to represent the studio at an important function at West Point Military Academy. She is currently involved with ongoing large, new window projects for St. Wenceslaus in Omaha. Nebraska., St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Jefferson, Mississippi, and St. Agnes in Key Biscayne, Florida. Willet Hauser received the Philadelphia Preservation Alliance Award this year for the historic restoration of the Isaiah Rose Window by John LaFarge, First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In contrast to her work on historic windows, Jordan’s autonomous panels, especially those that involve portraiture, reveal her hand and are painterly and spontaneous. For example, The Chief’s Wife, which is comprised of three, 5-inch-square paintings of Native American elders that turn within the frame, was painted with Reusche’s water based medium. She explains: “It behaves like an oil, but thins with and cleans up with water. It will dry if left out, but you can work into it for an extended period of time before drying occurs. I can work quickly and get a full range of value in one face, in one fire. This technique can be spontaneous and loose or controlled and refined, allowing the viewer to see tool marks, brush strokes, or none at all.” Jordan created her panel On Walden’s Pond in a Debora Coombs’ class from a sketch done previously in a life drawing session. Coombs’ workshop was an exploration of all the different textures possible with water-based medium.
Many of Jordan’s autonomous panels have been donated to the American Glass Guild (AGG) auctions to raise money for the James Whitney educational scholarship. Involved with the AGG since its inception in 2006, Jordan is going into her third year as president of the organization – an extended term due to the global pandemic. The AGG will hold its annual conference from July 14 – 17, 2022 at the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York. Also serving as Co-Chair of the International Year of Glass’ North America Steering Committee, Jordan says 2022 is the perfect year to celebrate glass in all of its forms.
Jordan states: “My work and more importantly my contributions to our industry, emerging artists I work with, the clients we work for and the students I teach is why I love this medium and continue to work and volunteer in glass. It is in my DNA and am enthralled by its beauty, mystery and endless possibilities. I was asked not too long ago what or where my body of work was. It was a leading question, and my response was swift. I responded by saying, my body of work was within historic works of stained glass windows that were preserved. My work is called upon by the many students I have taught and by doing so, they now create with confidence and pass along what they have learned. I can’t ask for any more.”
Click the link above for the webinar, The Business Life of an Artist, featuring Kathy Jordan, Narcissus Quagliata, and Orfeo Quagliata. On the checkout page, click on Have a coupon? and type: toyg