Building and Designing Stained Glass with the Gomms

David and Jeanne Gomm are stained glass artists, operating Gomm Studios.  They have been working with stained glass since 1983, including video rental stores, furniture design, yoga instruction, IT support, and numerous other interests–but all revolving in orbit around their attachment to stained glass.

What are your backgrounds?

Jeanne is deeply involved with yoga and environmental therapy, and David was a volunteer minister in Colorado after his flirtation with being a rebellious teenager.  Both of us have always worked (the ministerial work was during every free moment between hours at his full-time job), and have always devoted our energies to improving the value we bring to the table as employees and stained glass professionals.

Why stained glass?

Ages ago, we lived in a home in Denver which had a space over the front door demanding stained glass.  David bought the materials he assumed he needed at a local craft store and built the most hideous window in the history of the art form.  Shortly after, we moved to Missouri and on a whim took a stained glass class.  With proper instruction, we were hooked–Tolstoy said art is like an infection seeking to afflict others with beauty, and we were well and truly infected.

In the early eighties we began building windows for clients; we realized we had to provide additional income for our “habit” and opened what became a video rental chain, so our family wouldn’t be hit by changing whims in the glass market.  Both of us work with clients and design windows, David has a degree in industrial design and does CAD and IT work for schools, and Jeanne is a professional yoga instructor.

How is your work affected by your faith?

We are non-traditional Christians–both of us regularly do volunteer ministerial work in our community, and we are active in our faith.  We include some kind of personal and faith-building symbolism in everything we do; of course, we try never to be overt or offensive to the faith of the client, this is an expression of sincerity and devotion.  We always ask ourselves how the symbolism reflects and supports the patron, and they appreciate the extra “oomph” to their design.  Jeanne has put some of this energy into her first book of designs, Stained Glass Mandalas for Meditation.

In our art, the work ethic is vital.  We enjoy the creative process and building, watching ideas crystallize into reality as the work develops, and we enjoy teaching as part of the process.  But underneath it all is an awareness of principles like, are we giving fair value?  are we keeping our commitments and being honest with the client?  are we building windows which are structurally sound, meet building codes, and will last far longer than the client is expecting?  We do this because we believe it reflects James’ assertion that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-22).  This is our business, in and amongst all our supporting activities, because we also feel that creativity has to be connected with earning a living.

How does your work affect your faith?

At one point we had gone a couple months without a paying commission.  We were beginning to feel panicked and desperate.  A client bought one of our “Women of Faith” series panels, and we brought three more panels in the series with us when we went to install it.  We installed the first piece and there just happened to be spots for the others; we showed the client what they could look like, holding them in place near the first panel.  The client bought them all without caring about the price, and literally saved us and our business until things picked up again.

A flood of gratitude washed over us, and still comes when we think about the experience.  Doubt enters about what you do if you can’t make a living, and this client still has no idea the great blessing they were in our life, at just exactly the right moment.  After that experience, we realize that we receive blessings through our clients; we keep an attitude of mindfulness and gratitude throughout our work, and thank God for the blessings of every commission.

More information about the Gomm’s and their glass work is here.  They have a regularly updated blog and many other features on their site.  They also have videos on Youtube.com and instructional videos are available through Amazon.com.

Invite the LightImage by Gomm Studios

Invite the Light
Image by Gomm Studios

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