Students' stained glass brightens St. Vincent College offices
A little yellow bird took a permanent home recently near the office of St. Vincent College public relations Director Don Orlando.
The animal is not perched outside on a branch, but inside as a part of a newly installed piece of stained glass.
“We look out the window from time to time, and we make judgments from time to time about what kind of day it is ... but this will be a whole new dimension,” Orlando said.
The stained-glass window is the latest of about 30 installed to replace plain glass or painted transoms on many of the office doors in Alfred Hall, which houses administrative offices for the Unity college.
Brother Mark Floreanini has taught three sections of a stained-glass design class through the Department of Fine Arts in the School of Humanities and Fine Arts.
Floreanini ran his own stained-glass studio for 35 years before joining the Benedictine Order.
When he organized the first class in 2009, he wanted to provide students with a purpose to drive their artistic creations, much like he would have when taking on a client with his studio.
“I'd notice with other art courses, it seems like unless there's a specific goal in mind, the art just gets tossed or it's not important,” he said. “I saw Alfred Hall and all these ugly transoms that were painted over. ... I knew if I gave these students a job to do like that, they would learn a lot.”
Students like 19-year-old sophomore Joni Mulvaney met with the staff in the office where the window was to be placed, then took measurements and discussed design and color patterns.
Mulvaney, an art education and theology major from Bakerstown in Allegheny County, said she has a penchant for outdoor scenes, especially with birds. Orlando and the public relations staff were amenable.
The 29- by 34-inch window complements another over the main door of the office with its yellow, green and pink color palette, Mulvaney said.
Many of the other windows on the third and fourth floors feature crosses, flowers or geometric designs.
About eight students and four adult learners had to cut the glass, arrange it with lead strips and solder the pieces together to produce the window.
Patterns require simplification and linear shape unique to glass, Mulvaney said.
“For stained glass, you can't have too curved of a line. You can't really cut a circle of glass; it will just break,” she said.
Students used up one or two boxes of adhesive bandages nursing cuts while mastering manipulation of the glass, Floreanini said.
The yellow bird's body is two pieces instead of one after a break, Mulvaney said.
After working with photography and drawing, she plans to share her newfound skills in stained glass with her stepfather, who makes small windows and sun catchers.
With the class popular during offerings in 2009, 2011 and 2013, Floreanini hopes to offer a second class, expanding to teach copper foil and other techniques.
Each of the windows, which Floreanini estimated would cost $1,000 if custom-designed by a studio, is engraved with each student's name for a lasting impression on Alfred Hall.
Acknowledgment of the students' work could point visitors to a future, more legible plaque, Orlando said.
For now, he's just glad to have the yellow bird as a landmark near his office.
“That will be a much improvement from what I tell (visitors) now, which is ‘I'm the office across from the restrooms,' ” he said.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or email@example.com.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.