Stained glass enhances library
Visitors to the Dickinson Public Library will notice several doors now feature stained glass panels. Two panels showcase an open book surrounded by roses while another has the outline of a cat beside a flower garden. The glass motifs were created...
Visitors to the Dickinson Public Library will notice several doors now feature stained glass panels.
Two panels showcase an open book surrounded by roses while another has the outline of a cat beside a flower garden. The glass motifs were created by Mary Lovell, the library's cataloguer and head of technical services.
"When we first started the building plans, I felt the library needed some stained glass. I guess the idea came from me," she said.
Art is her passion, especially pottery, stained glass and jewelry. Lovell's home is filled with original art and books.
As a student of art history, Lovell said the Carnegie library was built in 1908 during the Arts and Crafts Movement.
"The arts and crafts school of thought suggested all projects needed to incorporate art," she said.
The movement flourished during the 1880s and faded during the early 1930s.
The movement is exemplified with artists' designs on woodwork, stained glass windows, furniture, pottery and tapestry, she said.
As an example, Lovell said the home in the TV sitcom "Numbers" is an "arts and crafts" house.
Lovell started the stained glass project with the door to her office. Being a 'cat'-aloguer by profession, she included a housecat in the design.
She said the foundation board liked the window, but it wanted the other windows to be less contemporary.
Lovell then studied the ceilings above the library's original doorway.
"I looked at the motif from the tin ceiling. Part was a rose. I took the motif from the ceiling," she said.
The design, together with an open book, enhances the doors to the conference room and the library director's office.
Lovell starts a project with an idea, which is sketched on paper called the cartoon.
"There's lots to consider, the design must fit the medium you're using," she said.
Carbon copies from the cartoon are used as patterns for cutting the glass.
"It's like quilting. It has to be very exact," she said. "The glass breaks sometimes. I use the pieces to make sun catchers."
The seams are connected with a variety of mediums, depending on how strong the window must be.
Lovell said a window may take up to 80 hours to complete.
"It's like a jig saw puzzle," she said.
When asked if stained glass is an art or a craft, Lovell consider it an art form.
"I loved stained glass. I never get tired of it. It's gorgeous," she said. "I do all my own designing. There are lots of patterns to help with ideas."
"I'm really pleased with the way they (windows) turned out. I think they are a good fit where they are," she said.
"There are a lot of windows in the library, but we don't want to do too much," she added.
Lovell also replaced glass in the doors on the lower level. The glass came from the textured skylight that was broken during construction.
She also restored the side lights surrounding the door to the original north entrance. The windows above the door were original, but the side windows had been filled with block glass.
Lovell replaced the block glass with beveled glass. She ordered the glass through the Internet and set the cross-cross pattern.
"People have a lot of memories of coming up the old steps into the library," she said.
Lovell studied art, theater and English at Montana State University, Bozeman. She graduated with a degree in general studies. She met and married Alan Lovell, who was farming at the time. Alan has since retired, but she continues working at the library. They have a son, Mark, who lives in Seattle.
Lovell is currently making pottery, jewelry and stained glass for sale at the Dickinson State University Arts Roundup. She also works on commission out of her studio at home.
Dickinson Public Library Foundation President Deanna Vickers said the stained glass adds interest and beauty to the original library.
"Perhaps the most important was to restore the north door to its original look," she said. "However, the stained glass windows are beautiful... Her patterns and colors are very typical of the early 1900s when Carnegie was built. It's been a wonderful team effort, so many of the staff have contributed so much."