Winona Stained Glass Company Wins Preservation Alliance Award for Greater Philadelphia

Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser Architectural Glass Meticulously Restores Intricate Stained Glass
Master craftsman Cassy Krueger welds as she worked meticulously for three months to rebuild the window. (Photo Crafts & Willet Hauser)

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) – A renowned stained glass studio in Winona has received a major award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia for a comprehensive window restoration at a church in the City of Brotherly Love.

The alliance presented the Preservation Achievement Award to Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser Architectural Glass Inc. for its work in preserving and restoring the “Isaiah” window of Philadelphia’s First Unitarian Church. The company shares the award with the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, Friends of 2125 Chestnut Street and Fairmount Park Conservancy, according to a press release.

Famous American stained glass artist John LaFarge created the rose window, which has tracery made up of overlapping arches like flower petals. The subject of the central section is the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, whose LaFarge pose is based on Michelangelo’s fresco of the prophet on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, according to the statement.

In the early 90s, the whole window needed to be repaired, but the project was underestimated. Thus, only the outermost petals had been restored, with the central section to be kept for another time.

The center section was stored until 28 years later when an anonymous contributor donated money to complete the window.

After an exhaustive search, the church chose Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser to carry out the project.

Work began as a preservation effort, but after significant metal fatigue was discovered in the window matrix, Winona’s craftsmen moved into restoration mode.

The restoration was very complex and demanding due to the deterioration of the window and LaFarge’s intricate, multi-layered work method, the workers said.

Master craftsman Cassy Krueger led the team, working meticulously for three months to rebuild the window.

“It was a tremendous opportunity to be able to bring this historic window back into view after a 28
one-year hiatus,” Krueger said. “An entire generation of this congregation will be able to see this beautiful window in its entirety for the first time.”

Kathy Jordan, the company’s Art Development Manager and leading conservation painter, brought back the lost painted detail of Isaiah’s face.

Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser has been producing stained glass since 1898. The company’s windows are found in churches and historic buildings in all 50 states and 14 foreign countries.

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