Camp Washington artist salvages, creates stained glass

Whether you realize it or not, Cincinnati is full of stained glass. It's part of our German heritage, says Gillian Thompson, the proprietor of Gillian Thompson Glass.

She meets with property owners throughout the Cincinnati area, restoring old glass designs, repairing age-damaged leading and designing new stained glass projects.

Stained glass can encompass either colored or clear designs and projects can be artistically complex or as simple as a clear patterned glass that provides privacy.

Repairs to stained glass are typically needed to salvage old pieces or repair cracks. After decades, window bowing, called deflection, can occur as the soft light between glass disintegrates as it is exposed to moisture. Thompson says this deflection can be mistaken for an artistic style; actually, it's just damage.

Thompson began her career as an apprentice for Architecture Art Glass in Pleasant Ridge (now located in Milford) and worked her way up, eventually launching her own studio a little more than four years ago, when a Camp Washington studio space opened up. She says the neighborhood's old factory buildings offer her the perfect combination of natural light and space.

"My style is all over the place," she says. "I really love traditional styles, but also have fun with contemporary work."

Although Thompson took advantage of a SCORE mentor, she raves most about the entrepreneurial support she gained through the SpringBoard program.

"Springboard focused me," she says of the ArtWorks-sponsored business development program. "(What) I really got from them, was learning to turn on the knowledge base in my community, just looking around at the people I know. Through friends, I've just got a web developer.”

Her next stop, she says, is using that website to grow her client base.

By Robin Donovan
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