March 11, 2004
Whitworth Art Instructor Inspires Students to Reflect World through Stained Glass
Whitworth adjunct art professor Carl Stejer encourages his students to do something that most parents discourage - handle broken pieces of glass.
Stejer is in his second year of teaching in the glass program at Whitworth College, the only school in Spokane that offers glass-fusing and slumping classes. Whitworth has offered stained-glass classes since 1978.
Stejer teaches his full-capacity classes stained-glass-lead, stained-glass-copper-foil, glass-fusing and mixed-media-mosaics. Instructor Anni Ryan also teaches stained-glass copper foil and mosaics classes at Whitworth. Ryan is the founder and former owner of Ryan House Studio of Stained Glass and is president of the board of trustees for the Spokane Art School.
Stejer's eclectic background reaches beyond the world of art. He earned a bachelor's degree in business, economics and finance from Eastern Washington University in 1988 and is a certified deep-sea commercial diver. He has taken stained-glass courses at Spokane's Ryan House Studio of Stained Glass and the Spokane Art School, and has studied glass fusing, slumping and casting at the Bullseye Connection in Portland, Ore.
In his classes, Stejer teaches Whitworth undergraduate students and students attending the adult evening degree-completion program about the physical properties and science of glass. Students also apply design principles involving composition, color, texture, pattern and three-dimensional shapes.
"One of the benefits of teaching in the glass program is that I get to see the students tackle a major project and learn about the commitment it takes to see it through," Stejer says. "They are always so proud of their accomplishments during our critique on the final day of the term."
The Whitworth glass classes provide students the opportunity to make one-of-a-kind glass creations that they can display at home or give to friends and family, Stejer says. Others turn their love for glasswork into a career.
Former Whitworth students who are undertaking successful careers in stained-glass include Susan Ponti Kim, a 1989 Whitworth alumna who owns Reflections Stained Glass in the Spokane Valley. Ponti Kim created the glass work at the Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane. Linda Sinclair is a resident artist at Ryan House Studio of Stained Glass in Spokane.
Currently, all of Whitworth's stained-glass classes are filled to capacity. Stejer's spring 2004 glass-fusing class had a waiting list, and he had to turn away students who wanted to take his glass-lead class. Stejer hopes to increase the amount of kiln space for the glass-fusing classes, and to add cold-working to the stained-glass program.
"I gain so much energy and enthusiasm from my students," Stejer says. "I really enjoy watching them come out of their shells and discover artistic abilities they never knew they had."
To view an online gallery of Whitworth students' stained-glass work, please visit www.whitworth.edu/Art/Student_Work/Gallery/Glass.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Carl Stejer, adjunct professor of art, Whitworth College, (509) 993-2681 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or email@example.com.