Jay and Mary Ann Paulukonis are founding members of the recently formed Glass Artisans Chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. Both are showing stained glass and fused glass works in the Chapter’s inaugural exhibit, “Born From Fire,” which opens on June 1 at B’s Floral and Design. The exhibit opening corresponds not only with Scranton’s First Friday Art Walk, but also with the Arts on Fire Festival.
In October, 2011, a dozen or so glass artisans gathered in Dickson City to explore common interests. Coming from Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, and Wayne Counties, all hoped to share their love of glass, learn from one another, and promote glass craftsmanship. Some of those present were artisans who had been making stained glass windows for several decades or creating fused glass for a number of years. About half the group had been working with stained or fused glass for only a few years or less, including a person who had taken his first glass class a few weeks earlier. That autumn evening the group discussed the advantages of meeting regularly and what they could do by forming some sort of glass organization. They decided to look into the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen as one possibility and at the November meeting agreed to apply to become a medium-specific chapter of the Guild.
The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen is one of the nation’s largest and most recognized craft guilds. Members include crafts-persons working in many different media, lovers of fine craft, and organizations that exhibit fine crafts or otherwise support Guild ideals. Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen members belong to Chapters, all geographically organized until recently. Just at the time local glass artisans were starting to meet, the Pennsylvania Guild opened to media-specific Chapters. On February 15, 2012, the Board of The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen recognized the Glass Artisans, as the local group named itself, as its second media-specific Chapter.
During the month of June, the Glass Artisans Chapter will hold an inaugural exhibit, “Born From Fire,” at B’s Floral Design, 131 Penn Avenue, Scranton. The show opens during First Friday Artwalk on June 1, 6:00–9:00 pm and also connects with the Arts On Fire Festival that weekend. “Born From Fire” reflects the fact that all glass artistry begins with elements that come together in a fiery furnace. Participating artisans work with either or both fused and stained glass. They include Angelo Cerra, Dennis Christie, Paula Gantar, Anthony (Jack) Lawrence, Mary Ann Opecko, Jay and Mary Ann Paulukonis, JoAnn Radicchi, Richard Roberts, Karen Selige, Lisa Stafursky, and Jan Winemiller.