Kate Grady has been working with stained glass for over 25 years — from repairing giant cathedral windows to designing and creating unique Manhattan entrances to producing leaded glass cabinet panels. She has worked at prominent studios in Manhattan and Philadelphia and continues to study technique with masters in the field.
While stained glass is a daylight art, it is often at dusk when the windows are most compelling. The colored glass seems to rap the last lingering light of day, the glow fading in and out like smoldering embers. As darkness falls the windows release the light to the night and their images disappear from view, but not from the senses.
Kate was introduced to and inspired by her next-door neighbor when she was still a student at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. Kate babysat for the neighbor, a stained glass artist whose home was filled with pieces that prompted in the then young teen an awe-inspired calling to the craft. So, the two struck a barter agreement — babysitting services in exchange for lessons in stained glass artistry. The rest is history.
Kate loves the art today as much as she did on that first day she set foot in her neighbor’s upstairs studio. She continues to hone her artisan skill by studying with masters in the field.
While Kate has a solid background in liturgical restoration, her commissioned original creations can be seen in commercial and residential venues. Whether it’s the restoration of a cathedral window, an original window piece, an entranceway panel, door sidelights, transoms, leaded glass kitchen cabinet doors, painted glass pet portraits, family heraldry pieces, mosaics, jewelry, tchotchkes, or even an original belt buckle, Kate’s passion for her work is unsurpassed. That passion radiates in each artisan piece.
Among Kate’s larger commissioned work are many functional pieces that give an intimate personal glimpse into the client’s personality and life’s pleasures, while offering privacy and attracting natural light in colorful hues. Then there are those pieces that add a personal touch of aesthetic to the home or business space, paying homage and/or giving a certain spot signature style.
A discriminating artist’s palate
Kate is a purist. She prefers to work with hand-blown materials, which she feels are less uniform and offer a wider spectrum of colors, textures and sizes. With hand-blown material, no two sheets of glass are exactly alike, each offering natural textures, unique color gradation with a unique fingerprint of vibrant hues. The difference, as Kate sees it, is subtle, but important. While the hand-blown material is more expensive, Kate feels its unique qualities and tactile nature are far superior.
There are two materials used to wrap around and secure each stained glass panels set in a piece of work: lead came and copper foil. Kate prefers the lead process, which she sees of as a more meditative one. While the lead process is the more demanding of the two, she feels it produces cleaner lines throughout the work. She calls it mindful art.
Kate’s workplace — the studio
Her Middletown workshop is nestled in horse country just off of Whippoorwill Valley Road where horses, chickens and cows roam the pastures along with her own pets.
The studio itself is a cozy home to an eclectic set of projects in varied stages of completion.