Illinois Artist Uses Glass as His Canvas

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The sanctuary of Emmanuel Christian Reformed Church in Sauk Village, Ill., is enhanced by two glass windows and a baptismal bowl, both created by world-renowned glass artist Charles Lotton.

Lotton’s glass art is displayed in art museums throughout the world and prized by collectors. Emmanuel CRC is a recipient of Lotton’s work because Lotton, 73, has been a member of the congregation for 38 years. Lotton also donates pieces of his art to Christian schools, which sell the donated pieces at fund-raising auctions.  

A self-taught artist, Lotton is known for using unique colors. He makes his own colored glass, which is unusual for glass artists. Asked where he gets all the shapes and colors in his creations, he said, “I pray for them.”

The furnace where he works runs at about 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. The glass is heated and reheated many times as an art piece is created. Lotton draws on his pieces with hot melted glass, making beautiful designs such as vines, leaves and flowers, or peacock feathers.

Visitors to his studio are allowed to watch him work. Lotton has a gallery at his studio and another in Chicago.

About the Author

Ruth Moblard DeYoung, a former Banner news correspondent and teacher, writes children's books. She is a member of Hope Christian Reformed Church in Oak Forest, Ill.