Friday, November 26, 2004

The contribution by John La Farge to the development of American stained glass-making was immense though he is far less well-known than his rival and contemporary, Louis Comfort Tiffany. Glassmasters have produced several authorised reproductions of La Farge works and this is a personal favourite of mine called, simply, Butterflies and Foliage. Posted by Hello

Friday, November 12, 2004

Press release

This is what finally went out:

War Story With a Difference

Verona, NJ (PRWEB) November 9th 2004 -- On Christmas eve, all around the combat zones, services will be held for US and Allied troops, airmen and their support personnel. These services are usually held in large buildings, without character, which have to serve as briefing rooms, hangers, movie theatres and, sometimes, places of worship. They are almost invariably spartan and lack any of the decor usually found in a place of worship.

This year things will be different, thanks to the efforts of a US Air Force chaplain based in Kyrgyzstan and a New Jersey-based photographer and stained glass enthusiast. Though they have never met and are living thousands of miles apart, these two are working together to create a slide-show which will be used at Christmas services not only at the Manas USAF base in Kyrgyzstan but potentially at every base in Iraq and neighbouring countries, in Afghanistan and even onboard US Navy ships around the world.

It was Fr Tim Butler who came up with the idea of projecting appropriate images onto the base?s 30-foot screen in order to give more meaning to the usually bare space which they would be using for Christmas worship. He contacted Neil Ralley whose website ( ) has literally hundreds of images of stained glass windows, many depicting Advent themes, and Mr Ralley immediately agreed not only to give free use of his images but also to donate his time to create the slide-show for them both to distribute.

About Fr Timothy Butler:
Fr. Butler has been an active duty chaplain in the Air Force for over 10 years and a priest ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston for 15 years. He is currently performing a 4-month tour of duty at Manas base in Kyrgyzstan.

About Neil Ralley:
Ralley created and launched the website Stained Glass Photography ( ) in 2002 to provide free access to his photographs of vintage stained glass. The site became a Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) ?Pick of the Day? barely a month after it was launched and has attracted a significant following. Ralley strongly believes that stained glass represents an important part of America?s artistic heritage which is at risk and that it should be properly documented as well as being preserved for future generations.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Nativity scene by Glassmasters based on a work by Zettler of Munich. Which can be purchasedhere. Posted by Hello

The Election is over and the Holiday season begins

The pundits and pollsters are still trying to understand what happened with the election result and why even the usually-accurate exit polls on the morning of the election itself simply came in with the wrong answer.

The concensus which is emerging is that a substantial body of voters from middle-America, perhaps including people who don't usually bother to vote, became motivated to vote against gay marriage and for Bush. The election is hailed as having been won (and lost) on moral value issues rather than the expected economic and security considerations which both campaigns fought so hard over.

Anyway, for better or for worse, it is behind us now and the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest. For anyone 'out there' who is waiting to order something from this website with Christmas in mind NOW is the time to act - not next week or the week after and, PLEASE, not the week before Christmas itself!

In addition to our 'Frameable Art Cards' the Glassmasters and Stonemasters collections include some great gift and decorative ideas. However, to minimise the risk of disappointment, if items are required before Christmas the orders should be placed as soon as possible. Please understand that it is not just a question of shipping times, in the case of cards we often make these to order and when we get a large number of orders the lead-time increases. In the case of the Glassmasters items if a particular item sells out in November the chances are that new stock will not be available until early in the New Year.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Harvest Beauty by Alphonse Mucha in stained glass, one of the latest Glassmasters designs Posted by Hello

Hidden Gems

This week I discovered that there are some items in the Glassmasters inventory which I had thought to have been long sold out.

Amongst these are some exceptional reproductions of stained glass works by John La Farge as well as one by Edward Burne-Jones.

I have uploaded 5 of these magnificent works onto a special page which I have titled "Hidden Gems" and would urge anyone who is interested to make your purchase soon because in a couple of instances there are less than 20 in stock and these are unlikely to be manufactured again.

Reproductions of stained glass by John La Farge and Edward Burne-Jones

Saturday, October 30, 2004

What's going on? What on EARTH is this??

Well, it's a long and complicated story which (a) I don't wish to bore anyone with and (b) contains many technicalities which are well beyond my grasp, the explaining of which would get me out of my depth in no time.

Trying to simplify the explanation, there has grown up a whole technology around what is called "blogging" which is short for "web log".

Blogs have been in existence for years, decades even, and they are basically diaries or journals updated and published by individuals or groups and until the last couple of years were a kind of fringe activity.

What has happened more recently is that they have begun to have a greater influence on search engine results and this has resulted in them coming more into the mainstream.

My own interest stems from recent evidence that the contents of blogs can be reflected in Yahoo search results within a very short time-frame. I initially tried to set up the "New" page as a blog or RSS feed a couple of months ago but was unsuccessful due to problems with the interface between and my web-host's server. This week, however, I decided to give it another try in an attempt to drive up traffic and hopefully sales of Glassmasters items and cards in the run-up to Christmas. To my incredible surprise this time it worked.

As far as I am aware blogs or RSS feeds have little or no influence on Google search results but that could change at any time and in any event Yahoo is a good source of commercial traffic.

My level of competence in getting the page "right" in terms of colours and text etc is sadly lacking and until that changes I'm afraid that visitors are stuck with the bright orange banner and text of varying colours.

The good news is that now that it is set up it really is a breeze to add updates and even images. I don't need to edit the page in my own system and upload it via FTP. All I have to do is log on to, create a post, add links and upload in a couple of clicks.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

October 17th

The new items have been added to the various sections to which they belong. A few details have still to be posted but we did not wish to delay adding the items with the Holidays getting closer each day.

A couple of pieces of news to report. Firstly one of our images is to be published in the December edition of 'Good Housekeeping'. This is the US (not UK) magazine which I understand has a circulation of over 5 million. This is far from being the lucrative proposition that most would expect for this kind of usage but hopefully the mention of the website will result in some more visitors and perhaps some of them may stop to buy things. The image which they will be using is a picture of an angel and I believe that it is to accompany an article about true-life experiences involving angels.

The second thing to mention is still evolving and it concerns the free use of some of our images by at least one branch of the US military (USAF) to enhance Christmas Eve services on remote bases where worship has to be conducted in surroundings which have been described to me as being 'spartan'. The particular base which has made this initial request is Manas Air Base, in Kyrgyzstan which I have yet to look for on a map. However, it is my hope that whatever we produce for use there can also be utilised by other bases in other parts of the world to brighten up the Christmas services for soldiers, sailors, marines as well as members of the air force.

October 10th

There is probably more news than I have time to type but I will at least try. Firstly there are a lot of imminent changes in the Glassmasters line-up. The company has recently launched over 20 new products which I will get posted on the site shortly but this is also being accompanied by the retirement of some of the older products, a situation which is tricky to manage.

Basically what happens is that pending retirements are announced but the items are available as long as existing stocks last - this can range from weeks or more in the case of less popular items to as short as a few days with others. Rather than delete items when the retirement is announced we prefer to continue to offer them until stocks are more or less totally exhausted but we do run the risk that we might not be able to fulfill an order as happened on at least one occasion recently.

Of course when this happens we always offer either a full refund or a substitution according to the wish of the customer but there is still the potential for disappointment when someone was hoping to get a particular item.

The best advice we can offer is not to delay any purchase which you plan to make. This is all the more true with the Holidays looming ever-larger on the horizon. Glassmasters (and Stonemasters) have warned us that they expect to have a very busy season this year and every year there are some items which sell out by December, by which it is too late to plan additional production. So if you are thinking about buying any items for the holidays please place your orders as soon as possible. Right now most current items are available but this will almost certainly not be the case as we get nearer to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

You will notice a link at the top of the page inviting you to send a free e-card - please follow it and send at least one card. We are participating in a competition which is being run by CrossDaily and the first referring website to send 100,000 visitors to them via the card link will receive $1,000 which we plan to donate to the Save the Children Fund. I plan to circulate links to this page as far and as fast as I can. Technically we have until December to hit the magical 100,000 visitors but I believe that with some energy and creativity we could hit the number within a lot shorter time, perhaps even less than a week, such is the nature of the internet. There is really no cost to it, just a small investment of time, and the recipient of the card(s) you send will be most appreciative.

August 11th

I need to add something otherwise the "New" will be a misnomer! It is not that things have not been happening but I have not been disciplined in recording and publicising what has been going on. The real purpose of this particular update is to highlight the fact that today, for some selected items in the Glassmasters range, we have begun to offer *FREE* shipping on domestic orders.

It was apparent that some of our visitors were coming to check out our Glassmasters offerings but were not buying from us and when I surveyed the market it was clear that some of our competitors are offering free shipping on orders above a certain threshold. Not to be outdone, we have initiated a trial period of free shipping for selected items and we will see how it goes. Whether we continue it or not will depend on the number of orders we get, it only really makes sense if it means extra volume.

Earlier today we did receive a trial order from a company in Japan for quite a range of our cards and I feel confident that it will lead to larger orders in the future.

If you have been tracking the 'Buildings' section you will have noted the folders containing the recent work from the 4 churches in Jersey City.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

February 2004 Update

18th update

Not very much news to report. Two events are on the horizon which might interest readers who live within reach of northern New Jersey. The first is an exhibition of work which will take place in the Atrium Gallery which is within the Municipal Court buildings in Morristown from sometime around the end of April until July. The other is a slide show and lecture at the New Jersey Historical Society on Saturday May 8th, subject yet to be determined.

I did send out a February update but I have noticed that email has recently become less reliable than it used to be and I am wondering all of the copies reached their addressees. If anyone reading this did not receive a copy and would like one please email me.

Mel Gibson's film 'The Passion' is scheduled to be released in about a week's time and I am anticipating that it will result in an increased interest in everything to do with The Passion and Holy Week which will probably result in more traffic to the site as people search online for images of Gethsemane, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

24th update

I am very pleased to be able to report that from today StainedGlassPhotography cards may be purchased from the giftshop in St Bartholomew's (St Bart's) Episcopal Church on Park Avenue in New York (between 50th and 51st). I personally made the first delivery today so that they would be available for people attending the Ash Wednesday services. The cards are also going to be available both physically and online at the Episcopal Book and Resource Center whose shop is on 2nd Avenue
and, in addition, the Book and Resource Center is planning to stock some larger-sized prints.


I thought that I should make an entry today as this date only comes around every four years! This week saw the release of The Passion of Christ after a very skillfully managed publicity campaign. I went to see it on Friday and it is probably the most poweful film I have ever seen. I read an interesting comment earlier today which unfortunately I am unable to attribute because I did not see the whole article. Basically the question was posed that, in light of the huge success of The Passion of Christ, has the cinema become the stained glass of the 21st century? Films about the Bible and the Life of Jesus are not a new phenomenon and they have not all been given the 'Hollywood Gloss' as, say, 'The Ten Commanments' or 'King of Kings'. I seem to recall that 'The Gospel according to St Mark' had a few things in common with The Passion of Christ, at least in terms of it's realism, the treatment and the use of relatively unknown actors. Nevertheless, Gibson's Passion of Christ marks a watershed and it will be interesting to see what develops and evolves from it.

In anticipation of some interest in Passion, Holy Week and Resurrection images today I revamped the cards section. We have decided to make the individual card purchase option a permanent feature and so what we have done is to create a common 'Cards' page from which can be accessed 'Individual Cards' and 'Sets of Cards' and to both we have added some images which are appropriate to The Passion and the run up to Easter. However, if the image(s) which you like are not represented on the
card pages please email us and ask because most of the images on the site, and others not yet up[loaded, can be available as cards or even larger prints.

On a slightly less serious note it is interesting to see what happens with keywords in search engines such as Google and Yahoo. I just tried a few searches around 'The Passion of Christ' and this site is nowhere, at least not in the first 23 pages brought back by Google, unless you add the two magic words 'stained' and 'glass' and then we come up #2 in Yahoo and about #4 in Google. It will be interested to see if this page comes higher ranked in the general search. Google updates quite often and the Google spiders visit every day or two.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

January 2004 Update

January 11th

Happy New Year! I have just finished a somewhat belated reorganisation of the cards pages. There are two significant changes - firstly the Christmas cards have been given their own page and this means that the cards page will now load faster. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, for a limited time we are offering visitors the chance to buy individual cards with a below-cost S&H charge. This means that if you just want to buy one card for a very special gift or occasion you can do so for about the same as you would pay for a Hallmark card but with one of these you are getting a miniature work of art, a real one-of-a-kind. The following is a quotation from an email which I received from someone who had just purchased 2 sets of the cards,
I was going to paraphrase it but I don't think that I could possibly do it justice and so here it is, verbatim:-

"Thanks! The pictures are incredible. My wife couldn’t believe they were photos of stained glass. She said they look like paintings – not photos of paintings, but paintings themselves. She didn’t know how you did it. High praise, I think. A personal letter written in that note card would be a gift to treasure. You may want to pitch that concept around the holidays, or Valentine’s Day. What better gift than a photograph of an incredible work of art accompanying a personal note. You’re bringing two nearly lost (and moving art) forms -- stained glass and letter writing – together in one gift."

I am certainly hoping that we make some sales for Valentine's Day, and for Easter too which is just around the corner. Last but not least I believe that I will soon have completed the upload of pictures of the windows in Christ's Episcopal Church in Riverton. The crowning glory is a fairly early Tiffany rose window which I believe dates to when he was about 35 yrs old and would have been involved personally to a much greater extent than with some of the many later works. It is an unusual design with an inner circle with some angel faces surrounded by what appear to be cornucopias decorated with holly branches. There are other nice windows but I have yet to determine the makers of the other works. I will apologise in advance for any shortcomings in the editing. I should have spent more time adjusting them and even eliminating some duplications which slipped through but I ran out of time and decided to upload something rather than nothing.

19th update

Unfortunately the Christmas Concert at the convent of St Elizabeth had to be cancelled due to the severe snow-storm which struck New Jersey on the weekend that it was planned to take place. However, I am delighted to be able to announce that some of the photographs which I took and which were going to be exhibited have now been posted on the website of
the Sisters of Charity
from whom prints may be ordered.

January 18th

A folder has just been uploaded which contains images of some of the windows from Christ Episcopal Church, a beautiful stone-built church on the border of Bloomfield and Glenridge. There is a set of 3 lancets by Tiffany Studios - one is an Annunciation, the second is an Adoration of the Magi and the third is Jesus as a boy, preaching to the Elders in the Temple. There is another 3-lancet set opposite it (image #04) which includes a rather fine angel playing a mandolin is signed "Kimberley" and dates from the 1920's. The west window is a depiction of Jesus blessing the children, I do not know the maker. As with the folder uploaded last week these are not labelled and have been subject to minimal editing.

The other significant item of news is that we have located a source for genuine examples of antique stained glass. These are mostly panels from houses and other secular buildings and right now there are some beautiful examples of early Arts and Crafts Movement panels from the 1880's. One set in particular which caught my attention features beautifully hand-painted images of birds. Due to the fact that most of their customers are from the US all their pricing is in $US and is therefore unaffected by the weaker dollar. Eventually I plan to set up a permanent link to this interesting source of original works but for the time being you can access it from here
if you like Victorian and Edwardian stained glass and have a house
where it would look good then you would do well to at least take a look at what is available. However, you must bear in mind that these are original, one-of-a-kind pieces and the stock is turning over all the time. On the one hand it means that new items are constantly being added but it also means that when you see something you like you may need to move quickly.

January 30th

I am delighted to announce that Stained Glass Photography has been appointed as an online distributor of the entire range of Glassmasters fine stained glass reproductions. For many years now this company in Richmond, Virginia, has been producing fine miniature replicas of works by Tiffany Studios, Frank Lloyd Wright, John La Farge, Marc Chagall and others. It is no coincidence that many great museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation have all chosen Glassmasters to reproduce their stained glass treasures.

This represents a significant enhancement to the website and offers not only the chance to buy these beautiful works but also the chance to see many new images. Whilst these are not photographs of real windows in situ the Glassmasters models are so beautifully made and with such attention to detail that they are themselves worth looking at in order to better appreciate the design qualities in the original works. For me this was particularly true of the Frank Lloyd Wright collection because I have never seen his work first-hand and the opportunity to look closely at the pictures of these 25 to-scale miniatures has given me a much better appreciation of why his work is so sought after. Examples