Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dennis Crews Stained Glass

Photos copyright by Dennis Crews.

When Dennis Crews was commissioned to design and install new stained glass windows, the artist told the pastor and his committee that if the windows made their children look forward to going to church every week, he would feel he had done his job well.

The new windows for Southern Asian Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland were installed in February. Seven sanctuary windows commemorate Creation. Two additional windows were also included for the foyer, with plans for more to follow.

The windows were built by Salem Stained Glass Studio in East Bend, North Carolina, “a great bunch of folks, a real pleasure to work with,” the artist says. “Back in the seventies I built all my own windows, but nowadays it's nice to have a crew of great craftsmen I can trust with the detail work and installation.”

“Two years ago I was approached through an intermediary to do windows for this church…. I said "no thanks" - not once, but three times. Seven months later I learned they were still waiting for me, so thought maybe I should meet with them. I decided that if I could find a studio I had confidence in, I would design the windows and oversee their production,” Mr. Crews explains. “Salem Stained Glass in East Bend, NC, has proven to be a wonderful working partner, and we have done several jobs together already. They built and installed these windows and did a superlative job - I cannot say enough for them.”

“The dynamic qualities of the glass and the flow from one window to the next can't really be captured adequately in photos,” according to Mr. Crews. “If you're in the area try to visit the church and see them with your own eyes.“ The suburban Washington, D.C., location is 2001 E. Randolph Rd, very close to Rt. 29. The church is usually staffed weekdays during normal business hours.

A complete selection of photos are available on the artist’s Facebook Album at

The installation team from Salem Stained Glass on location in Silver Spring, Md., Dennis Crews on the left; Al Priest, owner and founder of Salem Stained Glass, second from the right.

As a young child, Mr. Crews lived in India and Pakistan, where his family were missionaries. He has written extensively about the role of religion in government. "I've written more commentary critical of Bush administration policies than anything else over the last six or seven years," he notes, but "now finally feel I can give that a rest, and devote my attention to being an artist again."

Mr. Crews, who calls Frederick, Md., his home town, also designed windows for the renovation of Annie's Paramount Steak House, near DuPont Circle in Washington, D.C., another collaboration with Salem Stained Glass.

Copyright 2009 by William C. Cotter


luther said...

I've probably spent more time in Dupont Circle bars than in church. So why is it I understand the windows in the church but not the bar?

marcia said...

Received just fine : )

I'm glad you were able to repair whatever the problem was because I love stained glass and Dennis Crews' work is particularly gorgeous!

Paw Paw Bill said...

Dear Luther:

The artist explains, "All those clear squares in the tall window were acid etched from mouthblown flashed glass (flashed glass has a layer of colored glass fused to a layer of clear glass). Acid etching is rarely used now as it's a hazardous process, but nothing else achieves such a smooth clear etch. I hand-masked every piece of glass (front, back and edges) with beeswax, then suspended the glass in a tray of dilute hydrofluoric acid - very nasty stuff. As it turned out the masks lifted, ruining some pieces (I should have used a bitumen mask but that's much harder to clean up afterward) and most pieces had to be remasked numerous times to achieve a clean edge on the etch. Needless to say it was a very tedious process, but the results were worth it."


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