Listen for the music behind the stained glass

When you look at Josh Blumenthal’s stained glass art, listen carefully as you admire it.
You might just hear music.
Josh did.
Josh, a Bristol resident and graduate of Briarwood College (now Lincoln College of New England) in Southington, has an exhibit at Paris in Plantsville in Southington.
Josh, whose exhibit is entitled, “My Glass heART,” was asked how he is able to find the “heart” in a medium that easily could become more architectural than artful.
“The thing is the basis of all of my work is music,” explained Josh, who is a resident artist at Paris in Plantsville. “Growing up, I kind of lacked communication skills so I turned to music. I listened to music, and I connected to somber emotional music.”
To find the emotion to give his work dimension and passion, Josh said, “When I get inspired by a song, I listen to it over and over again and I pick out moments that I connect to most. Those, most of the time, turn into an image and a design. That’s how (my creativity) really starts, my connection to music and my emotions.”
Josh’s discovery of stained glass as a creative medium essentially was a fluke. After he left Briarwood, he entered Central Connecticut State University. During his first semester, he took a crafts class. As part of that class, he was assigned to create a 12 x 12 mosaic and make a piece of furniture.”
Josh said he finished the assignment and “after I started doing that, I got so addicted to (the form) and I kept going and going.”
From his initiation in that crafts class, Josh said he started to learn and read as much as he could about mosaic. He also would join organizations that dealt with mosaic.
“Now I’m trying to do more (with the media) and being more expressive,” said Josh.
Stained glass seems like it would be a challenge compared to paint since the medium lacks fluidity to reshape into a new form. The pieces have defined shapes because they are solid.
In order to create one of his stained glass pieces, Josh said he has developed a number of different approaches. For instance, sometimes he will create a template of his own design.
Other times, he said, “I’ll just break a piece of glass with a hammer, a whole sheet… and I’ll work like a painter and block all of the pieces in where there’s only small patches of open space and then I take small pieces and refine them to the smallest piece to a quarter of an inch, an eighth of an inch, and make them all fit as fluid and tight as possible.”
When he is commissioned for a piece, Josh said he often looks to Tiffany as an inspiration. But outside of that, he said modern artists such as Keith Haring and Willem deKooning may fit in the mix. Or, he may find inspiration in Jackson Pollack. He even will look to different cultures for inspiration as he creates.
At the Paris in Plantsville exhibit, Josh said the pieces on display date from his very first to his newest. From that creative expanse, he said, “I put up ones I wanted to show.” And that particular grouping was quite large, Josh said, “I almost didn’t have enough room.”
Josh Blumenthal’s stained glass art is currently on display at Paris in Plantsville, 15 West Main St., Plantsville. For more information, call (860) 426-1149 or go to JoshuaBlumenthal.blog spot.com.
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