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About Mark Stine and
Transparent Dreams Stained Glass


stained glass artist   
Mark                                               Ponder

My name is Mark Stine. I am the driving force behind Transparent Dreams Stained Glass Studio in Denver, Colorado. I have undergraduate degrees in Microbiology and Psychology and a Masters in Social Work, but my first choice has always been to work as a glass artist, which I have done almost full-time since 1975.

When I was eleven, my father and two of my uncles decided to take a class in stained glass.
At first, stained glass is a frustrating hobby requiring a lot of patience and practice. My father and one of my uncles quit the class before it ended. The other uncle finished the class and made stained glass suncatchers, lampshades, and 3D objects for a number of years until, he too, stopped working in stained glass (today he does hot glass, mostly fusing, combined with photographic techniques, which you could see here.)

One day, I was too sick to go on a family outing, so I went to spend the day at my uncle's house. He helped me to make my first stained glass artwork (thanks Uncle Ted!), which had only 2 pieces of glass in it! I was hooked! I went home and commandeered my father's tools and supplies and an artwork-in-progress (the class was still going on, but my father had already stopped going). I was given a small space in our unfinished basement in which I could make a mess, and a card table to work on.

My progress was probably slow compared to most people who take up this hobby. At first, I made only suncatchers (small hanging pieces depicting butterflies, sailboats, skiers, etc). Later, I learned to make lampshades and 3D objects. It was years later that I actually made an actual stained glass "window," that is, a flat stained glass panel with a background that defined its overall shape.

By the time I was in high school, I was selling some of my work, and by the time I was in college, stained glass had become my only summer-time work (while on summer break from studying microbiology). After college, I wasn't quite ready to follow through with my plan to go to medical school, so I hit upon a make-stained-glass-until-I-went-broke plan, thinking that I would soon be financially forced to do something less enjoyable but more dependable. That never happened. And I fell in love with the work itself.

In the years since college, I have been self-employed full-time as a glass artist (except for a part-time return to academia - psychology and social work culminating in an MSW, thank you very much! - between '92 and '97). Throughout my artistic career, I have had the wonderful opportunity to make many thousands of stained glass artworks, including windows, lampshades, doors, ceilings, room dividers and more for many wonderful people (including some very famous people). I have also created many artworks that I have sold through galleries and at craft shows and art glass shows. I have won many awards for my work, and I am proud to say that many stained glass artists who know me consider my craftsmanship to be among the very finest.

Since 2008, I have also marketed a comprehensive set of DVDs that teaches all that I have learned about stained glass. This has been almost as rewarding as my career as a glass artist because the feedback from people who have purchased this set has been extremely positive. To read more about this, visit my stained glass class web page.

I certainly don't do everything related to artistic glass. For instance, I don't work with hot glass (glassblowing, beadmaking, fusing or slumping glass). I also don't do glass carving (multi-stage sandblasting, generally on clear plate glass) or acid etching on glass or glue-chipping on glass. I also do not make bevels, even though I use them frequently in my work.

Whenever a project calls for one of these glass specialties, I am happy to collaborate with other artisans who have mastered these techniques.

What I have "mastered" (I used quotes there because this is my biased opinion - you can decide for yourself after a visit to my gallery) is the art of designing and producing stained glass panels and objects. I am one of the best stained glass artists when it comes to precision craftsmanship. I also strive to continually expand my artistic vision concerning stained glass. I combine these qualities in every artwork and commission that I undertake, whether large or small, whether expensive or not very. I have been fortunate enough to be honored by others in this profession.

My work differs from other stained glass artists in two significant ways:

[1] My craftsmanship is clean and precise. Straight lines are always perfectly straight. Circles are always perfectly circular. Solder joints are smooth and almost invisible regardless of whether or not patina is applied. Size and shape are always accurate in artworks that are to be installed. For a more detailed explanation of what precision craftsmanship looks like and how vitally important it is to the longevity of a stained glass artwork, visit my Craftsmanship Page.

[2] The acquisition of precision crafting skills has allowed my designs to become discernably clean and innovative. By "clean", I mean that I have been able to adopt a style that has very few of the extra background lines that are apparent in most other stained glass artists' work. I can precisely cut and fit very oddly shaped pieces of glass (without a diamond bandsaw!), allowing me to design in a way that almost every line is relevant to the design. This is all-too rare among artists who work in this medium, and it allows me to focus on pushing the boundaries of stained glass design to more and more innovative heights.

These two qualities are far too rare among stained glass artists who are professional, that is, who get paid for their work. Visit my online gallery, then search online for other stained glass studios. I highly recommend that you do this. How else can one evaluate between visual artists in the same medium? And if that research uncovers another artisan who is even better for your purposes than I, then so be it.

I offer my services worldwide. To date, I have completed projects all across the continental United States and in Canada. Some clients I meet many times, others I meet only once (usually for the installation) or not at all (shipped the work and consulted from afar on the installation). I have done custom work that was shipped as far away as Dublin, Ireland. Although I would never hesitate to travel to meet with a client, to view an installation site, or to deliver and install a project, I have tried to make this web site a wellspring of information so that actually meeting with most clients is not required.

If you are considering having me make something in stained glass for you, I suggest that you start by reading my Commission Process web page. This will educate you about the process of ordering a custom made artwork from me (or from any another stained glass artisan or studio). This page details the costs involved, the mounting options for permanently mounted artworks, the methods for taking accurate measurements, and the design options you'll want to consider when giving me input about the stained glass or beveled glass you may want to order. Once you have at least skimmed that web page, you should be able to provide me with enough input that I can get back to you with suggestions, with an accurate estimate of the price, and with answers to any questions you may still have.

Thank you for visiting my web site. I hope that you will go away amazed at the artworks I have created and a more savvy consumer of this wonderful - but often misunderstood - art form.

Sincerely,
Mark Stine

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