BLOG NO 23 / Making San Gennaro by steve joseph

People often ask how long each of my works take to make. Walter Hahn, my high school teacher, would answer this by saying 'my whole life.' Which is true, especially when you include the thought process behind the original design.

Here is a short outline of design steps made while producing the work titled San Gennaro. (If you are interested in learning my techniques consider one of my upcoming classes here, or to see this work in person see my current solo show at the Italian American Museum, in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan.)

1. (above) The initial sketch was designed for a "Photo Bomb" class I took at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn. The idea of doing a piece based on San Gennaro, was initially suggested by Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa, founder and president of the Italian American Museum. New Yorkers know “San Gennaro” as a popular feast in Little Italy, but Saint Januarius I of Benevento (the original Italian version) has a assorted and mysterious background. He is know as a martyr and saint. Legends claim that he died during the Great Persecution in 305. I don't claim to be an expert on religion but I see San Gennaro being similar to Russell Crowe in Gladiator. Januarius is currently the patron saint of Naples, Italy. The faithful gather to witness the liquefaction of a sample of his blood kept in a sealed glass ampoule. I really enjoy basing my art on historic stories, and this background was exceptionally strong, especially the liquefaction elements! I expanded the story by adding an audience of muscle men holding the glass ampoule on their heads. Below shows how the designs progressed. They were created using Photoshop and InDesign programs. 

2. The above image had a few more adjustments then was made into a silk-screen and printed on glass using enamel based inks. See this blog for details on silk-screening on glass. Additional colors were added after the original black and white image was fired onto the glass. The finished work is set into a wall hung light box with internal LED lighting. 

The Italian American Museum is right in the middle of the (crowded, sloppy, crazy) San Gennaro Feast that runs from September 15-25, 2016. Stop by if you are in the area. My show runs from now to October 10th, 2016.

The final work. 


BLOG NO 22 / MAKING A SEURAT by steve joseph

 My exhibition at the OUT Hotel (Manhattan 2016) resulted in one of the largest commissions I have done to date. It was based on a very tiny conte crayon on cream paper titled "Study For Bathers at Asnières" (above) by Georges Seurat (French, 1859 - 1891). The client has the art in his collection and asked me to super-size it in glass, to measure over 70 inches (1.7 meters) tall.

I suggested using black frit which was kiln fused onto clear glass. This kept the integrity of the rough texture, matching of Seurat's chosen 'Ingres' brand of paper. The clear glass was placed over a sheet of off white Uroboros glass, creating shadows within the glass. The final installed work has a texture you can see and feel with your fingertips. 

The image was divided into 20 equal size panels, that were copper foiled and soldered together. The challenge was not creating the art but installing the work. 

I placed the glass panels onto a wooden support, finished the soldering, lifted the support and placed it near the existing framed opening between the kitchen and the dining area. We then lifted it into place and secured the work from the back. Truthfully we asked two buff doormen to do the lifting... the work weighs about 200 lbs. (90 Kilograms).

Here is the final work in position. It measures 60 inches wide by 70 inches tall (152 x 178 cm) and can be seen from both sides. The view from the behind is a frosted effect. Here is me in front of the art to show the scale of the work. 

BLOG NO 21 / Tips on being "Mocho" by steve joseph

There was a bully in my 6th grade art class in Pleasantville Middle School (above). He would verbally abuse me in every class. Art was my favorite subject. I wondered why couldn't he have annoyed me in gym class, so I would have an excuse not to attend? Whenever the young art teacher, Sally Aldrich, turned her back, he would verbally tease me, so much that I would get nervous before each class started.

One assignment was to use blades to cut linoleum blocks for ink printing. That day this kid started teasing me, and I threatened him with my blade, saying something very mocho like "you touch me again I'll cut off your finger!" I have no idea where this came from, but it stopped him completely, and he never bothered me again, actually he was very friendly after. An early experience proving there was nothing getting between me and my art.

40 years later, that bully's name is long forgotten, and, through the magic of facebook, I have reconnected with my art teacher Sally Aldrich. In 2010 we met face to face during my Open Studio Residency Program at the Museum of Arts and Design here in New York City, and since then we have become friends. Here is a photo of a trip to MoMA in 2015.

Sally introduced me to the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden (below), in North Salem, New York. She is on the museum’s exhibition committee, and has exhibited her ceramic work in the museum as well as a variety of galleries in the area. In 2015 Sally was asked if she knew a glass artist to show at the Hammond, and she immediately suggested little old me! 

I hope you enjoyed my short story! Click here to learn more about the Hammond Museum exhibition and artist talk opening this April 2016.

BLOG NO. 20 / The Making of Cinderella by steve joseph

In my 20th blog I'l like to show and tell how "Cinderella", my latest commission, was created.

1. The image on the far left (above) was supplied by the client. They asked me to use the figures of Cinderella and her Godmother in a new setting. I presented the three designs on the right. These were created using PhotoShop and InDesign programs. From there we had a few minor changes.

2. Once a design was approved I produced this sketch to repaint on glass.

3. I cut glass to fit into sections of the sketch, then paint by hand, or spray with an air-brush.

4. Some pieces (left) are painted and fired a few times. Once all the pieces are painted, they are copper foiled.

5. The work is layered and soldered together, then placed into a wall hung light box.
See the final work here.

BLOG NO. 19 / "Jackie oo" and other tragedies by steve joseph

In my 19th blog I'l like to speak of 6 tragic exhibition experiences, while showing my work inside and outside of the gallery setting. I am sure other artists can fully relate to many of these...

1. Drunk Openings
In 1997, while still working at GQ magazine, I had work accepted in an exhibition named "After Hours", which exhibited art made by professionals creating art after their 9 to 5 shifts. I was excited, it was my very first group show in Chelsea, New York. The opening was packed and my three-foot tall stained glass panel hung smack-dab in the center of the gallery. As the wine was flowing, a drunk guest walked head on into my panel. The work swung and she fell to to floor. Miraculously, neither the art or the woman was damaged, and only one was escorted out of the gallery.

1. Flipping "Flipping the Bird"

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At the "e-merge 2008,” opening at Bullseye Glass, in Portland, Oregon, my Flipping the Bird Chandelier (above) was hanging at the top of the stairs, at the very entrance to the gallery. I attended the opening and was excited to have the work in such a great spot. As I ascended the stairs, I found a guest tapping the glass eggs together to produce a chime like sound. She said "Just listen to the lovely sounds this makes!!". I guess she misinterpreted the title of the work and thought that SHE should flip the bird herself. 

3. Clauses in Your Contract

It is important to try to predict possible clauses in a gallery contract. Often overlooked is the "Blow Up Football Player" clause (see above). I think I will change the name of my work (peaking out from the back) from "Jackie O in White" to "Jackie 00". 

4. Badly Hung

I was glad to have my work chosen for a show in the Wayne Art Center in 2014, but when I arrived to the opening I found the work unplugged, and placed high behind a tall wooden cabinet. I had to plug the work in myself and request for it to be moved so it could be viewed eye level. A week later a friend visited and found the work in a new position, but again, it was unplugged. 

5. Going MAD

I am very happy the work my work (above) is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Here is some advice before you arrange for work to be in a permanent collection. Ask if the you can have a lifetime pass for the museum, and ask if the work will be on the museums website. If I were asked again I would have requested to have a lifetime pass, which large museums like MoMA offers, and even a theatre named Dixon Place here in Manhattan did for a commission I made for them. I have been waiting for over two years for the work to be posted on the MAD web site. I understand they have a small staff at MAD.

6. Doing it Right

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Being the optimistic guy that I am, I must end this blog with the best show I have been invited to show my work, which is the "VOICES X" exhibition in Dubuque, Iowa (2014). Nothing went wrong. It had a very organized staff, most of which were volunteers. They helped with my delivery and return of my work, and even better, hung all of my art in a space which they painted black (see above). They put on a classy, 7 hour opening with entertainment, food, and I had plenty of sales. The best part of this was meeting the super friendly locals, and they still have my work posted on their website. I highly recommend artists to enter this show.

With all of the planning artists and curators put into exhibitions, you never know what to expect. My advice is to ask questions on all aspects of the show, before the exhibition, and to visit the gallery as much as possible during the exhibition.

BLOG NO. 18 / Creating "The Dive" by steve joseph

I am currently creating works for an exhibition here in New York City in September 2015. I am taking a break from production to write about one stained glass piece that will be featured in the show titled "The Dive".

During a trip to Mexico in 1992, my friend Daniel Boike held his breath and dove 30 feet (9 meters) underwater to explore coral at the bottom of the ocean.  He didn't come up for a good 3 minutes!  This hidden talent impressed me so much, that 23 years later I sketched my memory of the event (above).

From my pencil sketches, I first drew a more detailed design for the border (above) using InDesign and Photoshop programs. 

Next, I placed images of a half diver in the center of the design for position, then I scouted for a tall, thin model with a swimmer's build. Dustin, who I met at my local gym, fit the bill and agreed to a photo shoot. Using Photoshop I later rotated and silhouetted his figure, changed the pattern of his shorts and added him to the design.

Title: The Dive
Medium: Hand painted and silk-screened (kiln fired) enamels on stained glass, set into a non-rusting stainless steel frame with LED lights
Size: 30 1/4 x 40 1/2 inches (76 x 102 cm)
Date: 2015

Current exhibition at the OUT Hotel  (see article on exhibition here).

BLOG NO. 17 / Shortcuts for Silk-Screen Printing on Glass by steve joseph

After the success of Blog Number 8, "9 Easy Steps to Silk-screen Printing on Glass", I've decided to post a more detailed step-by-step posting titled "Shortcuts for Silk-screen Printing on Glass." I will specifically talking about how I cut and print on glass, using visuals from a work in progress.

With all my work I first design the work and print it full size to use as a "cartoon" to cut the glass to fit. Cartoon is basically the paper printout pattern of the design. Like a large jigsaw puzzle, all the glass should fit together as close as possible on top of the cartoon. 

The bottom section of a work in progress showing cut glass and the color printout "cartoon" pattern underneath.

The bottom section of a work in progress showing cut glass
and the color printout "cartoon" pattern underneath.

To cut glass precisely, I use a glass cutter and flat nose pliers to grind the edge of the glass. I also use a ring saw to cut intricate concave shapes only when needed. I skip using any wet glass grinders, they waste time and slow the process down.

Cutting Bullseye glass in the Taurus Ring Saw. Remember push very slowly with this machine, to prevent jamming.

Cutting Bullseye glass in the Taurus Ring Saw. Remember push very slowly with this machine, to prevent jamming.

When making a silk-screen save the original acetate image. I tape this acetate onto the silk-screen board, and tape the cut glass down on top. Place your glass in the exact positioning you need. I add tape to the back of other pieces of glass and tape them down as well.

I order all of my silk-screens through Standard Silk-Screen in New York. 

I order all of my silk-screens through Standard Silk-Screen in New York. 

Once I have the glass pieces under the screen, I use the best water based enamel on earth, produced by ColorLine (you guessed it, I love this stuff). I only add the enamel above the glass pieces, and not in areas where their is no glass underneath, so when I "pull the enamel" with the squeegee, I also save on materials. To see the steps for silk-screening please visit Blog 8

joseph cavalieri
Notice the bottom right didn't print perfectly. Since the glass is taped down and I was using clamps to hold the silk-screen in place, I was easily able do another print in this area.

Notice the bottom right didn't print perfectly. Since the glass is taped down and I was using clamps to hold the silk-screen in place, I was easily able do another print in this area.

(right) My favorite "clamshell" Paragon kiln.

(right) My favorite "clamshell" Paragon kiln.

Place as many pieces of glass on the kiln shelf as you can, then bake. ColorLine enamels bake at 1300 degrees in a "polish firing" where only the surface layer of enamel is permanently baked onto the glass. This kiln fired enamel method dates to Medieval times. 

Fr comments, question of if you would like to see this final work please email me [at CAVAglass (at)] to get on my mailing list. If you are interested in taking a class in this process, please visit "Classes"

Blog no. 16 / Glass Bits in Public Hair by steve joseph

...and other dangers being a glass artist.

Living and working as a glass artist brings about dangers I had no idea I would ever face. Having loads of friends also working in glass, I see numerous Facebook postings. No missing fingers or deaths yet, more on the lines of cuts and burns. After my blog posts about my brain tumor (blog 13 & 14), I figured I would stay on the bodily invaders top and talk about what life is like as an artist dealing with a medium that even the littlest child knows can hurt you: glass. 

Part of the process of working with glass is grinding the edges of the glass, so they fit together perfectly, like a big jigsaw puzzle. Most stained glass artist use a water lubricated grinder, I opt for flat nose pliers. Mainly because it is a real time saver. One should always wear eye protection with both methods. The flat nose method takes strong hands, and as you can imagine, scatters tiny glass bits everywhere.

Inevitably at the end of the day, when changing out of clothes, these bits of glass tangled in the hairs on my arms, in my sneakers, and in my jeans pockets. Often I am walking on the street and feel shards inching their way down into my socks. This could be hours after I have finished working, or even the next day. All of the sudden there is a jolt of pain at the bottom of my foot and I have to immediately remove my shoes and remove it—even with street crowds around me or wet or ice below me.

Worst than a shard in my jeans or the bottom of my feet, is what I discovered yesterday that freaked me out bits in my pubic hair! Imagine the injuries that can lead to, and the embarrassing hospital visit afterwards!

It took a while, but that was the final straw. Unacceptable.

Other than giving up glass completely, a simple solution to this situation came into my life about 5 months ago. 

I met so many great people during a month long artist in residence program at the Torpedo Factory, including one beautiful and mysterious woman. She first visited and started up a very friendly conversation, then left, then returned a few minutes after with a t-shirt as a gift. I thought then that people in D.C. are friendly, this would never happen in New York. A week later she stopped in with another gift, a work apron. Now I thought people are super friendly. I placed this in my luggage and forgot about it, until the pubic hair incident.

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I immediately started to use this in my studio, and it works wonders for keeping the glass shards out of my private places. Or my public places. I also love the idea of wearing a work specific uniform, it puts me in the right frame of mind, and feels nice to take it off at the end of the day, hang it up, and feel good that I’m not endangering myself, or any of my special friends. Safer sex, indeed!


As with all my blogs I welcome feedback. If you have questions, comments or additions please send them to my email:


See my latest work, and my teaching schedule including 10 workshops in the USA and Europe for 2015.

Blog no. 15 / MY Favorite Sculptural GLAss artists by steve joseph

You know how TV Networks do “The Best of...” shows at the end of the year? They show the highlights of year, splicing together favorite segments, and treat it as if it is something extra special for the viewing public. In reality most of the staff is tanning on a beach in the Bahamas, while the interns run the show. It is a lazy way to end of the year while keeping the audience happy.

Don’t worry, I am not going to do this to you.

Instead I’d like to share the work of artists Cheryl Wilson Smith and Adam Kurtzman. Two of my favorite sculptural artists. This is only an introduction, I will leave it up to you to visit their web-sites. 


Cheryl’s work fits into the palm of your hand, they are delicate and complex kiln-cast works pictured above. The inspiration of the pieces come from interpreting the northern Ontario light, landscape and wilderness. They are made of individual layers of glass grit. I find the work spiritual and precious.

Cheryl lives in the far north of Canada, in a remote and isolated location far from galleries, from sales, and from other artists, yet she is a social person. She is about to leave home tomorrow, to do the interior design show in Toronto, then a residency in Norway inside the Arctic Circle of Norway (close to the North Pole), followed directly by another show, the Artist Project in Toronto. She will be traveling for over a month for her art.

Please take the time to learn about  more of Cheryl’s work on her web-site.


Los Angeles artist Adam Kurtzman most recent work is named the “Urban Series”. It is large scale architectural sculptures that are meticulously built from use hundreds of cut and slumped glass tiles (see above). The results are glowing super structures that act as art objects as well as functional lighting. Adam describes himself as a “hard-core glass junkie.” He describes “the big payoff of the artists life is the privilege of experiencing the process, the love of the journey, and the product being completely secondary to that road”.

His work is sold through select venues in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, and has been used for props in film and television, as recently as “American Horror Story”. 

Currently you can see Adam’s art in New York the George Billis Gallery, and the Metropolis Modern showroom, as well as the ArtHaus Gallery in San Francisco.

Please take the time to learn about  more of Adam’s work on his web-site.


I first met both Cheryl and Adam about three years ago. Both work in “sculptural glass”, both ultra-talented, have a fantastic body of work, and aren’t afraid to discuss the excitement and stress that come with their art careers.

Cheryl works out of Red Lake, Ontario, Adam from Los Angeles. To imagine how north Cheryl is, just look at the temperature of minus 10 Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius) this January day. Los Angeles is 70 Fahrenheit (21 Celsius). Because of the distance from New York, I organized a series of face-to-face discussions using Skype with both of them. Each had certain issues they wanted to seriously discuss about reaching their goals. 

We talked many issues including the best way to take their careers to the next level, without wasting time. Topics ranged from artist statements, to logos, the look of their work and web-site, and the best way to photograph their work, among many other items. I feel every artist should have other professionals they can seriously talk about important issues. 

Soon after these Skype sessions I was able to meet them both in person. Adam took a private class in my New York studio, and Cheryl took a painting on glass class I was teaching at The Studios of Key West. In 2013 Cheryl helped organized a “Meet & Greet & Learn” with artist from Toronto. It was a round table talk on 10 top issues facing professional artists. I have worked along side Adam twice in his LA glass studio. 

I am totally enjoying how these relationships continue to grow in many challenging and unpredictable ways.

As with all my blogs I LOVE feedback. If you have questions, comments or additions please send them to my email:

blog no. 14 / Thoughtcrime by steve joseph

Today I’d like to celebrate the medical oddity of Rocco, and how he is fast becoming part of my past. (If you haven’t already, please read blog no. 13, below, first.)

As of today, I have five more sessions of radiation of the brain cavity, to kill off any “a-typical” deformed cells. The final session set for December 31, 2014. That same day, I have tickets to fly to Los Angeles for my second “Mount Washington Glass Residency” (see blog no. 10 “ARTIST IN RESIDENCIES: THINKING OUT OF THE BOX... AND INTO THE SWIMMING POOL, below).

I am super psyched to get back to the swing of making new work.

During my (current) 30 sessions of radiation treatment my head is locked down to the radiation table using this lavender colored plastic mask (see photo). I have yet to figure out why that specific color was chosen. The mask was custom made by stretching heated plastic over my head in the hospital. This one mask is now used every visit. It is positioned over my head, and locked down onto the table, so I lay in the exact spot for every session. It is an extremely tight fit, I can hardly open my eyes, except to squint. 

There is no pain, but my mind goes different places before and during these radiation sessions. 

For instance, every day during the first fifteen sessions, I would see images from the torture scene from “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. It is a gruesome film and in this scene a wired cage holding hungry rats is fitted onto the head of the person being tortured. This film scene, along with my real life subway rush hour crush, getting to the upper east side, is not a healthy combination for anyone! 

The other event that flashes in my head is a loss of memory occurrence when flying back from a trip from India. I had picked up some sleeping pills at a local pharmacy that were similar, but not exactly the same as my prescription. I downed two pills on the return flight back to New York. What I didn’t realize was these sedatives were super strong. I didn’t remember disembarking the flight in New York, I didn’t remember filing out forms for missing luggage in the airport, I didn’t remember taking public transportation, or was it a cab home. All I remember is taking the pills on the flight, and then opening my apartment door ten hours later. The hours in between these two events is completely missing. 

Needless to say I am super sensitive to drugs now. A half glass of wine makes me very tipsy. I know, Rocco is gone, the brain is healing. I feel blessed that this is becoming history. I promise not to speak of Rocco in my next blog. I believe the next subject will be on the process of designing and making art work.
My last blog “Rocco the Tumor” resulted in a huge amount of support from friends and complete strangers. Thanks for the messages. Looking back, “Outing” Rocco was a very personal event. Being able to write about it here made it a therapeutically helpful experience.