Winona stained-glass firm wins award from Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia

Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser Architectural Glass meticulously restores complex stained-glass window
Winona Window 2
Master craftswoman Cassy Krueger solders as she worked meticulously for three months to rebuild the window. (Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser photo)

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) — A renowned stained-glass studio in Winona received a major award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia for an extensive window restoration for 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 to preserve and restore the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia’s “Isaiah” window. The company shares the award with the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, Friends of 2125 Chestnut Street and Fairmount Park Conservancy, according to a news release.

Famed American stained glass artist John LaFarge created the rose window, which has tracery consisting of overlapping arcs like flower petals. The central section’s subject is the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, whose pose LaFarge based on Michelangelo’s fresco of the prophet on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the release said.

During the early ’90s, the entire window was slated for repair, but the project was underestimated. So only the outermost petals had been restored, with the central section slated for preservation at another time.

The central section was moved into storage 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 complete the project.

Work began as a preservation effort, but after the discovery of significant metal fatigue in the window’s matrix, craft workers from the Winona company shifted to restoration mode.

The restoration was highly complex and demanding because of the window’s deterioration and LaFarge’s complex, multi-layered working method, the workers said.

Master craftswoman 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 viewing after a 28
year long 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 director and a leading conservation painter, brought back the lost painted detail of the face of Isaiah.

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

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