NEW ERA, Mich. (WZZM) - Workers at Omnibus Studios in New Era are continuing a craft that dates back to the seventh century, with a new process that eliminates the use of lead.
The business started 40 years ago creating stained glass windows. The process starts at the end of Richard Hanley's pencil, moves to color sketches, and after a client signs off, workers start cutting glass, before beginning assembly. The final products are currently going all around Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.
Historically stained glass artists were basic storytellers, working to communicate spiritual themes. Hanley says ,"Images that even a child could look up and say there is John the Baptist baptizing Christ, we do the same today."
Projected sales growth has them looking for larger studio space, a move that would connect the business to a larger pool of artists.
The future of stained glass does not include the wide-use of lead. "It will be used some by people who are licensed to do restoration. But this is evolving into a different craft." Hanley said, "So what we are doing is kind of the tail end of what was done for hundreds of years in Europe." Now the glass is fused together.
Omnibus Studio is finishing a job for a new chapel at Lansing Catholic Central High School. Most of the windows are in crates, about to be shipped. Richard Hanley says it is a nervous time, "Until those windows are set in place and the last screw is in place I am a little stressed." Next week at this time the windows should be safely in place. Then Hanley's focus will turn to the next project. He hopes to transform another space with art from Oceana County.