Stained Glass Horror Story

I’m a glass addict. I am honest about my addiction and hope I never detox.

My husband and I travel a bit and in the past many years, since my addiction has taken hold with its tenacious grip, we’ve made a point of looking up and checking out glass studios and supply stores in whatever city we happen to be visiting, searching for bits of odd and wonderful glass. I’ve had the honour of meeting some incredible artists and discussing their works in progress, lauding their successes, hearing about their experimentation in technique, and listening to their stories.

Most recently, we stopped in Savannah, Georgia. “Savannah”. The old, smooth sound of it fits the city. Live Oak trees dripping with moss. Parks and statues and squares and fountains which are the epitome of south’ren elegance. Architectural magnificence that beams you into another age. People moving through it all.

Savannah is home to SCAD – the Savannah College of Art and Design. This should tell you something about this place. There is an artistic charge in all of the historic downtown. Art supply stores, galleries, shops and studios are everywhere. But no glass shops.

And did we search? High and low, backwards and frontwards, to no avail. I reconciled myself to the fact that I was bringing no glass finds home from Savannah, but I did find a studio complete with glass artist eager to chat with me about the craft. This is where the horror story comes in.

As well as being home to SCAD, Savannah is also home to hurricanes. This area gets affected by a hurricane every other year and is directly hit by hurricanes that can have sustained winds of 75 to 115 mph about once every 8 years on average.

Hurricane graphic - stained glass horror story


The artist to whom I was speaking told me about an installation of a stained glass door insert that he had made when he first started his glass business several years ago. He described the piece to me in wistful detail and it sounded like an incredible piece of artwork.

Now picture this: This talented gentleman is putting the finishing touches on this door installation, when an Inspector of some kind arrives on site. The Inspector conveys to the artist that – because of the aforementioned hurricanes – there are extraordinary durability rules for stained glass put in windows and doors in Savannah to prevent glass damage from this wild force.

“I have to test your work to make sure it’s strong enough to withstand gale-force winds,” the Inspector tells my artist friend.

“How do you do that?” innocently queries my friend of said Inspector.

“Like this,” says the Inspector as he brings out a length of two-by-four and gives the glass door insert a mighty whack.

The door insert failed the test.

I’ll let your imaginations fill in how it was for my artist friend to see his many hundreds of hours of creative toil on this $5,000 door insert smashed to fragments. My brain can’t cope with the image.