Judson Glass studio

What alerted me to the South Pasadena Art Walk was a post on the Judson Studio FB page. I love this 130 year old family owned company. I especially love the fact that they continue to develop and grow. They recently took on a major project, a massive Stain Glass wall in a Church in Leawood Kansas. Here is a short video of part of the process. Throughout the years of this project they shared photos and videos on their FB page, worth going back and taking a look.

Because of this project they needed more space, which they found in walking distance from their century old headquarters.Leaded glass as door decoration.The Leawood church forced them into a whole new way of creating stained  glass. Working with an expert they moved into the realm of fusing glass, not just painting. This allows for a whole new world of color and vibrancy.This piece does not need the separation of the lead, but combining the old techniques with the new is part of what Judson is doing today.

They get all kinds of commissions, from private homes, Churches, large public installations. They are often called in to repair old stained glass. The lead gets very weak after 100 years. What is fun is that they have gone back to repair work they had originally installed.

A project they are working on now, for a monastery in Wyoming. The monks are building it all by themselves. They sustain themselves with a beer brewery and a distillery, in Europe it used to be wine, so why not update the spirits here.This is 100% traditional stained glass technique. Each piece of glass will be separated by lead, first,they draw in the shading with gray or black,  they paint in the colors. In some cases, the glass is colored glass upon which they paint in the shading.Not only are the techniques very old, the subject matter is very traditional. When completed this will be transported to Wyoming and from that point on, only monks in the monestary will be able to enjoy this beauty.They had a full scale cartoon on the wall, this is a large commision. One piece is already complete and was hanging in their window.

On the second Thursday of every month they lead a tour of both facilities. I can’t make it in August but most certainly will be going in September. So look forward to an even longer disertation about glass and this wonderful family run business here in Los Angeles.


Art Walk as community activity

It all started years ago with the Downtown LA Art walk where once a month the new galleries on Spring St. would stay open late one night a month. Soon it became a big festival, with food, music, and hoards coming down for the event.

So other cities took notice, some of the smaller ones simply took the name. On those nights businesses stay open late, a few craft booths will appear and maybe some street music. I found out about one happening in South Pasadena, so on a lovely balmy Saturday evening off we went. People used to talk about LA as being a bunch of suburbs in search of a city. Those people were too snobish to actually go and find out that many of these small communities have a lot of civic pride. As you can see in the window, an early ostrich farm was part of the growth of this little town.A three seater on a merry-go-round?  Maybe for three small children.I love how these small towns have the clock in the center. There was a time when owning a wrist watch was something only wealthy people could afford. So having public time pieces was very important.Especially next to the train station. In France our group kept pronouncing the word as Garrrrrrr. It’s fun to see a little street named: The street of the Station. What once was part of the vast Trolly car system, is now part of the Metro Gold line.  It goes from Boyle Heights all the way to Azusa and is well used.The local nursery/design studio was offering free wine and music. As well as showing off their wares, such as these wonderful Talavera style ceramics.I would love to be able to use some of these tiles around the house. These are quality!

There were some craft booths, all the stores were open, street musicians set up on the corners. Families strolled around, enjoying the evening. We found a lovely restaurant with a patio for a nice Al Fresco dinner.I have to conclude with some arrested decay. There are a number of old brick buildings here, it was fun to see the stucco peeling, just to reveal older stucco.

I’m happy to say, my own nieghborhood is having such an event in a few weeks. I’ll be sure to go!


The final one from France and Switzerland

Buildings interest me, architecture defines a big part of the landscape.

This Tudor style in Montreux next to the very blah modern buildings. I’d guess this is late 19th century, it’s not true Tudor. It has so much more character than the modern buildings next door.Why not go for Indian elements? It is a mish-mash, yet it works, maybe because the designer just went with what they wanted.Our Chalet was very modern, which worked great for a large group. Every room had a bathroom, you can see the chairs in the big window because most of the top floor was open space, 26 of us fit around a few tables for dinner.I think this is a more modern building with a nod to the past.I want to call this Art Deco, and yet, because of the mosaic, this is the side of good old Banque De Chamonix, so it probably predates Art Deco. Which just comes to show, what we think of as signature elements of a style, was around before hand. Love the colors!TThis hotel was built in the 1880’s. During WWII the daughter hid Jews who were trying to escape to Switzerland just a few miles away. She was awarded a Righteous Person recognition from Yad Vashem. Her granddaughter now runs the hotel.A farm house turned restaurant. Many of these buildings are decorated with old farm tools.Others have stuffed animals. This wasn’t the only building I saw with an animal outside. All that wood!!! Didn’t stop amazing me.More old decorative elements.And more wood and flowers.Painting on a small scale.And on a large scale.Graffiti encroaches.Even in Switzerland.The smoke stack of an old industrial building, with running water nearby.Sheep in the front yard in Chamonix. As much as this has become a ski resort, the locals still do their own thing.


Still hiking

I don’t want to stop hiking just because our big trip is over. It is so much better than being in a gym.  So we tried to get out early and went to Griffith Park.The hills are steep but they aren’t very green. I searched out the one green shady area in the mountains, Amir’s Garden.What started as a one man project has become a wonderful shady hideaway. Since Amir’s death, the park takes some responsibility while volunteers do the rest.Amir came to Los Angeles from Iran, and like many other Iranians immigrants – brought wonderful changes to the city, or in his case, the park.The garden is less than half a mile from Griffith Park Rd, but it’s a steep climb. Today many different paths meander through this lush garden.Some of our hikes in the Alps looked like this, here we only had a short time in the shade, before it was back to the hot sun and the dry surroundings.Not everything is planted in the ground, some are sculptures. There are also benches and even a horse trough, since Griffith Park is a favorite place to ride horses. He planted a fig tree! Since this is a mediterranean climate, the tree thrives here. Right now the fruit is too small, but I do hope that people enjoy it when it’s ripe.This is a boy-scout camp, it reminds me of the picture I took in France, a lone house in a field of green. Well, I had to really crop out all the gold and brown, to get this much green in the picture.Up we went, to a point where we could almost see the Hollywood sign. This is one of the radio towers on Mt. Lee above the sign. I was tired, I wasn’t do a good job of framing my photos, right next to this branch is the foreground you can barely see the D of the sign. It’s there, I swear it is!

And then we trekked back down the hill. Part of the way we were on a service road that actually had some trees that provided shade.This isn’t a pathway, it’s a channel to direct water downhill. There are so many water towers as well as a few resevoirs in this park. Good water management.We took a shortcut, once again, not the best shot, the road below us was really steep! We met someone who was hiking up – ah Los Angeles! We do have some very interesting people here. He said, rightfully so, that going down would really hurt his knees, so he walks up and takes a longer path down.

Then we stopped for tacos on the way home and collapsed. It is easier to hike when it’s not so hot, but a hot hike every few weeks won’t kill me right?


Decorative Arts

Art Nouveau really put the craftsmen to work. A major design element was mosaic.All the Train stations in the Savoie region have the town name in mosaic, with the background being gold tesserae. You notice the shield that looks like the Swiss flag? That is the shield or flag of the region – Savoie, the Swiss have the same white cross on a red background, but it doesn’t go from edge to edge.Even the station is the tiny town of Le Buet has this mosaic. I wonder if they have some artists employed to fix or replace these when they get damaged.Was the Q reversed by mistake? I have to admit that I just noticed that right now.These three images are from the same building, from very ornate to a very simple design. Yet, each has gold.This one from Montreux. That alphabet – pure Art Nouveau. I wonder if it took 37 years to build the building, or if the date means something else. Also, the ironwork of this period is intricate. This is when cast iron became very popular. On the railing, there is both, as well as the use of gold paint.A more modern railing, Art Deco maybe?This beauty was out in the country. It’s the name of this house:Although the house is out in the country, in a prosperous farming community, it doesn’t look like a farmers house. Except for the pickup in front. I wish the architect had included the year this was built. I googled, there is an architect by the same name in Indiana. The building at 2 Rue de Berne still stands and commands very high rent. But no other information.Speaking of mosaics. While wandering around the old city of Geneva we came across L’ancien arsenal. There were a few canons and these wonderful mosaics that describe some of the history of Gevena. This was the open air market in Roman times. By the 15 century, it was turned into the arsenal. Today the building holds the State archives as well as three beautiful mosaics that depict important historical events connected to the city. It’s not easy finding information about these. The artist is named Alexandre Cingria, like most Swiss artists – to most of the world he is a complete unknown. Aside from painting, he designed stained glass for Churches. He wanted to infuse more color and livliness into Swiss Protestant churches. That didn’t go so well in a Calvinist country. So I guess he had to make do with these vibrant scenes outside the arsenal. He died in 1945, the little information I could find said that these were created in 1949, which makes sense. Even if Switzerland was ‘Neutral’ during WWII (hiding Nazi funds in your banks doesn’t exactly make you neutral, it just guarantees that the Nazis will leave you alone), I doubt they spent any time creating art until after the war. So the designs must have been made beforehand. I do love the large stones and pieces of glass that are used here gives these mosaics a very strong tactile feel.I took a close up of this creature decorating one of the cannons.I can understand why had a problem with sparse Calvinist churches. Although Calvin himself was happy to march into the Catholic Cathedral and preach there. Today it is a Protestant Church, Cathedral is a Catholic term. As much as they have tried to simplify things, notice the light fixture, at least they didn’t get rid of the stain glass windows.Like my love for mosaic, there is something about stained glass that makes my heart sing.







A break from travel posts

Yes, I have more to share from my amazing Alp vacation, but we all need a break. So I’m sharing a dress I made just before the vacation.See how well I match my mosaics?  I found the rayon at Joann’s. I love the soft flowy nature of rayon. The Pattern had an option for some contrast, I didn’t have any rayon, so I found some batik instead.I need to learn how to smile or find some new poses.Yay for both! A smile and a new pose. This dress is so soft and comfy, also, it isn’t tight fitting, so is perfect for a hot summer day.

Back view, the collar was supposed to meet in the center in both the back and the front clearly it didn’t. That is probably because of the different fabrics. Rayon has so much more give.The side plackets add some interest as well. Had I made this dress out of a solid fabric, I could have done without contrast. With such a busy print I feel it gives some space for the eye to rest. This side has an actual button hole, since the dress has an invisible side zipper, on the other side, I simply sewed the button down.Hmm, so one side of the color has some ripples. I wonder if I could iron that out, or, just live with it.  Becasue the batik is cotton and much thicker than the rayon, I didn’t want to self line the collar or the waist plackets. I also didn’t have enough of the batik to do so. I could have lined them with the rayon but I found a better solution.I used silk organza instead. This is a miracle fabric. I use this as my protective ironing sheet, since it can take very high heat and it’s see-through. Since it has some body to it, yet it is very light, it was a perfect choice for the lining. A few years ago I bought a couple of yards at Mood, I need to purchase more, slowly but surely I’ve been using it up.The back of this dress is lower than most I make. It’s a summer dress, I shouldn’t get cold, if I do, I have many shawls to chose from.

I think I’ve sewn enough dresses this summer. I need to replace some skirts and maybe make some more shirts.



Flowers in the mountains

I’m not doing the wildflowers any justice with these pictures. The mountains were carpeted with them, and I was busy taking close-ups. Lucky for me, Joel took some good wide angle photos.
These are quite small, yet quite bright and yellow.Here is the wild version of the Campanula, or the Bellflower. It comes in all shades of purple, I have spent good money to buy these in a nursery, so seeing them wild was fun.This Scabiosa looks no different than what I buy.I think this is a wild version of the Azalia.The Hollyhock was growing wild behind our Chalet, but I wouldn’t call it a wild flower. This is called paying attention to the little details.Didn’t see many of these, but those I saw were very impressive.Even some of the leaves are colorful, I hope this isn’t a sign of fall, summer had just started.The town is full of flowers, roses against a chalet with green shutters.One of the amazing things here is that when I aim to shoot a picture of flowers, I get the mountains in the background. They don’t even look real.This looks photoshopped, the backdrop just looks fake.These arrangements of petunias are all over the place. When you get steady rain, these flowers thrive, even in containers.Love the creativity here. It all just works.



Art Nouveau, European architecture.

In America, we have the Beaux Arts style, from the late 19th c. till the mid-1920’s when Art Deco took over. In Europe they had Art Nouveau, and it was WWI that put a complete stop to that style. Since in many ways, WWII was a continuation of the first war,  the massive building in Europe doesn’t happen until the 1950’s, so Art Deco isn’t all that common there.

Like Art Deco, Art Nouveau is much more than architecture, but that is what I am focusing on here.Cafe La Terrasse in Chamonix is a wonderful example of Art Nouveau. Just like Beaux Arts, the buildings don’t look alike at all, they simply share similar philosophies. In reaction to modernization and mass production – Art Nouveau looks like something that was painstakingly made by hand. Anything but a sharp edge or a straight line.It takes some sophisticated machinery to acheive this ‘natural’ look. It also takes a lot of design, man power and engineering to get the curved columns and the oval windows. I do agree that there is something very pleasing to the eye to have these rounded shapes and wonderful naturlistic vines.Not sure about a whole block of buildings that look like this, I’m happy that they stand out in a crowd. I do love all the details, even that dusty rose pink color. Look how simple the adjoining building looks by comparrison. Although as I look at the windows, I see detail and planning that would be non-existant today. I didn’t go inside, I did look online, the exterior is the star, not the interior.We went to Montreux in Switzerland, where I was happy to see many examples of Art Nouveau. See the contrast between the elaborate building in the background and the sparse apartment building in front of it.  Art Nouveau is New Art in French. The ‘newest’ style is always, new, or modern or some other catch phrase. Sometimes, the New actually sticks, long after we see it as old and vintage.The best way to describe Art Nouveau would be: overly ornamented. It also means that it was beig built at a time of prosperity. A time when people expected each building to be it’s own masterpiece that would survive forever. Another concept that died in two world wars. No matter how tall and imposing our buildings are today – they don’t have the artistic details. As if we know that very few of them will be worth preserving for centuries.Extensive iron and glass awnings are wonderful areas for extensive designs.How about this tower? Why can’t we have more towers! As we exited the train station, this is what I saw to my right, wedding cake kitsch in all its’ glory! I’ve looked online for information but found none. What is clear is that at some point two more stories were added. When I don’t know but talk about disrupting a building! If this addition saved it from being demolished, it was worth while, but still…..I guess it’s an office building, there is a sign that something is available for rent.There is another funky building between this and the train tracks, but still if these are apartments, the funkiness of the building may make it worthwhile.Clearly, someone thought it was worth it to add to stories of blah above this magnificence. I really didn’t get enough details! But no one wanted to stand there with me while I tried to photograph from every angle.Gold mosaic is a big part of Art Nouveau, there will be a seperate post on mosaics. I’m also loving this dragon or serpaint crawling along the marble.



Up into the Alps

I started this post while on vacation, it was slow going,  but I’m posting it now and soon will be posting more images, now that I’m home and it doesn’t take hours to download a photo.

Here’s the view from our chalet, snow, glacier, and. Right blue skies.time to take the Mont Blanc tramway up to one of the peaks.one of the longest cog railways in the world. World War l puts an end to these.  Years later the gondola will become the favored technology. The view all the way up is amazing.Watching the tram go back down the mountain. Looking back down into the valleys below. A glacier closes up, as it slowly moves down the mountain, it scrapes the rock and it becomes incorporated into the mass, changing the color to grey. The cloud formations are equally fascinating.

Later we hiked through the Forrest to this suspension bridge, Joel had no problems , me on the other hand, I have fear of heights, so this was a no go..A wobbly bridge over a gushing river? No Way!but to be able to look down on a view like this? Priceless.We took to cable cars to get to the Aiguille du Midi, this is part of Mont Blanc, what they call needles in French we call minarets. I need to clean my camera lens, otherwise, what a cute couple!This tower reinforces the idea of the needle. Very visible from the valley below.Cable car going to Italy.Glacier hikers.And rock climbers. I love watching other people do these kind of physical challenges.



On our way to a week long trip in Chamonix we spent a day in Geneva. Geneva is a very nice little European city. No one I know raved about it. When the city’s industry is the UN, the Red Cross, selling watches and Swiss banking, one is left with a rather bland city. Yes the old town is nice, the Cathedral is impressive, especially considering that Calvin originated here. So what started as a Catholic cathedral is now reformed Protestant. There are some incredible gothic features, like this spire, which is magnificent.Or incredible stained glass windows. In order to make up for the magnificence of the church, there were all kinds of posters about Protestant theology. What do you think people were paying attention to?This is about as good as it gets here. Knowing me, I started to pay attention to the small details. Signage is something I love, when your hotel is named after a swan, having a golden swan is perfect.This is probably a sign for a clothing store.Look down, the escape room fad has arrived here, what caught my eye is of course the owl.There are some pretty ornate canons out on display. Some of the Gothic designs on the wall of the Cathedral.modern decorations on a building.Of course, the famous lake.Surrounded by the Alps. We did see Mont Blanc above the clouds, but I didn’t get a picture.Not many street performers, these bubbles were fun.I stumbled across the Brunswick Monument. it’s Gothic, I tried to find out some information, meh, someone important got an impressive mausoleum.very nice details, don’t really care to know who he was.I guess we missed the flower clock, we saw the sculpture called broken chair.  This city was never on my bucket list, now it’s been there done that. Now Chamonix! Hat is a whole different story.