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Juliene Berk: A Unique Stained Glass Technique

FTJC window panel. Photo by Karen Greene.

Detail of FTJC window panel. Photo by Josh Greenfield.

Berk’s technique redefined standard components of stained glass practice. As opposed to traditional kiln-fused and lead-bound glass, Berk discovered that polyester resin could affix glass fragments to backing.

Berk’s polyester resin, tinted to complement or contrast colored glass shards, became itself a unique color stain—filling the background of the panels, and often spilling over the fragments to change their tonality.

Detail of Juliene Berk's early stained glass work, n.d., showing hot pink polyester resin used both as the fixitive for the glass shards, and spilling over to color the clear glass pink. Photo by Elizabeth Berkowitz.

Detail of FTJC window panel. Photo by Josh Greenfield.

 

Berk’s stained glass method could be described as deliberate color layering for chance effect.

She began with clear polyester resin, to which she added a color paste.

Berk’s resin was sourced from Miami, Florida, where this particular formulation was typically used in boat building.

Berk then coated a Plexiglas base with the dyed polyester resin until the base appeared her desired color.

After the resin had cooled, Berk arranged shards of stained glass, as if mosaic tiles, on the Plexiglas base and repeated the resin pours, thereby securing the glass shards to the base with the resin as it dried.

Berk’s glass shards were not cut-to-measure pieces, but rather akin to found objects. Berk would visit stained glass studios and ask for scraps—boxes of broken glass from failed projects that stained glass artisans gave her for free. Berk then transformed (literal) trash into beautiful treasure, with the shapes and contours of her mosaic designs circumscribed by the cut and shapes of the shards she collected.

Details of Juliene Berk's FTJC window panels, showcasing her unique stained glass process.

Thu, December 2 2021 28 Kislev 5782