Stained glass artists Molly Superfesky, Nora Raymond, Colleen Langford, Jane Ann Superfesky and Carol Cook are exhibiting their art at Unique Consignment LLC, 3438 University Ave., through the holidays. Here Carol and Molly share with Zackquill about the significance of West Virginia glass, being a creative in Morgantown and more…

Z: How did you end up in WV?

Carol Cook: A job opportunity brought us to West Virginia in the mid 60’s from the Midwest. What made me fall in love with West Virginia at that time was the weather. In the Midwest it was impossible to sit outside during a summer evening without bugs buzzing around your ears, here you could sit outside day and night with just an occasional pesky fly.

Molly Superfesky: I was born in Elkins, West Virginia. My mom is from Morgantown, and my dad is from Barbour County. They met while my dad was in school at WVU. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, but my dad’s job allowed them to settle in Morgantown. So, I was able to experience life in different states and towns.

Dragonfly

Z: How did you become an artist?

CC: I identify more as a skilled crafter. I don’t have the innate talent of an artist but have acquired, with experience, an idea about what I want to create and then actually making it happen. My mid-western father and mother loved visiting West Virginia. Once we discovered the local glass factories and then the Wissmach Glass Factory in Paden City my father’s passion became learning how to construct stained-glass lamp shades. Upon his passing I was given his tools, books and glass which I loaded into my car and brought to West Virginia. I was about to give up learning the trade when I took a class from Bill McLaughlin here in Morgantown. Bill was a master crafter who understood what glass would and wouldn’t do and eagerly passed that information on. It was easy to experiment with projects under Bill’s leadership because he knew how to correct any miscalculations or cutting errors.   I now enjoy the challenge of repairing old stained glass panels, creating new windows or sun catchers and continuing to use beautiful stained glass produced in West Virginia.

MS: I am not an artist. There is nothing evocative or transcendent about what I make. Everything that I make is decorative. I just really like to try make beautiful things. I always have. It starts when you are a kid with crayons and paper, or making clothes for your dolls, and then ends up with more adult materials like glass and lead solder.

Z: How did this exhibit come about/why is it important to the community?



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CC: Currently seven stained-glass crafters are working out of a studio in Star City. We often visit Unique Consignment so when Courtney Claudio offered us an opportunity to exhibit stained glass art works we accepted. As crafters we, mostly, share our finished projects with family and friends but appreciate displaying it to the public.

MS: My friend Virginia and I are frequent visitors to Unique Consignment. Virginia is a part of the stain glass group that I belong to. We rent space together. Virginia and I go to Unique Consignment to look for West Virginia glass as we are both collectors. Cortney at Unique Consignment knows that we have a stain glass studio just a couple of buildings down, so she asked us to show our work.

Glass is important to the community and state because it is part of our history. Many of the stain glass in pieces feature West Virginia glass. Carol is the expert on that matter, so I will defer that subject to her. Places like Unique Consignment are important because they are supportive of all mediums. I have not viewed a collection of stain glass works by multiple contributors in Morgantown, so I am really appreciative of Unique Consignment’s recognition.

Bleeding Hearts

Z: How is the environment for the arts in Morgantown?

CC: We are fortunate in Morgantown that all forms of art classes are available at reasonable costs from multiple sources. I taught stained glass class for a few years in the early 2000’s and found fellow crafters eager and willing to learn the process.

MS: Great – because everyone is very supportive and enthusiastic, and there are a variety of different mediums. However, the one thing that is lacking is a cooperative space for the public to go and participate in doing and making. The stain glass group that I belong got started at the Stain Glass Warehouse under the auspices of Bill McLaughlin and Vince Bartling. We were lucky. When Bill died and the Warehouse closed, we had to scramble to find work space and storage for our supplies that could handle the safety considerations of stain glass. Again, we got lucky and found a place, but it made me realize that studio space in Morgantown may be an expensive luxury that is not available to everyone.

Z: What is your favorite thing about being an artist in Morgantown?

CC: I love living in a town with a crochet covered tree, a mosaic panel next to the bus station, and our university slogan freshly painted each year on a wall near campus.

MS: Over the past thirty-five (35) years, I have witnessed Morgantown grow and diversify, and in this day and age, in small town America, it is a great thing!

Z: Anything to add?

CC: I love having a passion that allows me to create, complete, and display a project. I am proud of every piece I have made, even though they have not always been perfect.

About the show: Jane Ann and Molly Superfesky are mother and daughter who started doing stain glass together in 2003. At the urging of a friend, they signed up for Carol Cook’s stain glass through Monongalia Technical Education Center (MTEC). At the class they meet, Carol, Nora, and many other stain glass enthusiasts\friends in which they share the lifelong bond of stain glass love. Visit the exhibit at Unique Consignment, 3438 University Ave in Morgantown. Facebook.com/uniqueconsignment3506

Sally Deskins is a writer, artist and curator based in Morgantown. She currently serves as Exhibits Coordinator for WVU Libraries. Email her ideas to sallydeskins@yahoo.com.