Touring the Historic Judson Studios

When the new year rolled around I did something I’ve never done before – I made a list of places I need to visit in 2019. I’ve never been one for planners or lists and prefer to keep my ideas in the old noggin’ but, as we all know, memory can be spotty at times and every once in awhile I find myself thinking I still need to do that…see this..go there. So, this year I decided enough was enough and made myself a list. Happily, it seems to be working because only 2 weeks into the new year I crossed my first item off – a tour of Judson Studios.

In 1897 in Downtown Los Angeles, William Lees Judson founded Judson Studios – a stained glass manufacturer that remains family owned to this day. In 1920, the studios moved to Highland Park taking over a space formerly occupied by the USC School of Fine Arts and Architecture. The historic structure (built in 1911) remains to this day and much of the company’s stained glass is still created on the premises.

On the second Thursday of every month Judson Studios opens their doors to the public offering tours of their manufacturing process. For a nominal fee, visitors are shown around the historic property and its nearby more modern facility and learn all about the company and its beautiful works of art.

You may not realize it but the odds of your having seen a Judson piece are pretty high. Their work has been distributed around the world and their clients include the Disney Parks, USC, The Air Force Academy, the Ace Hotel and many more. Now matter how far abroad the glass travels it all originates in Los Angeles.

As one fascinated with learning how things are made how could I not take this tour? So, last Thursday I found myself with a number of like minded folks following our knowledgeable guide, Kyle, through the whole stained glass process from design to glass cutting to glazing to soldering to painting to cementing.

Along the way we were introduced to the studio artisans and were able to observe them as they created beautiful works of art. What skill they have! I was in absolute awe as I observed their work first hand. Growing up Catholic I always loved the beautiful stained glass at my parish church and it was wonderful to see exactly how it comes together.

Especially the painting, I am so amazed at the delicate work that goes into creating these beautiful images.

Just down the street from Judson’s historic studio is their newest space – a fused glass studio.

Here the the most cutting edge stained glass design is used to make fascinating works of art and, once again, we were lucky enough to see artisans at work.

For over two hours I was immersed in the world of stained glass and I absolutely loved it. Judson Studios is a true California landmark and I’m so happy it thrives to this day.

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