Featured Windows, February 2006
Margaret Cavanaugh: Michigan Artisan of Stained Glass
St. John's Seminary - Plymouth, Michigan
St. Mary Catholic Church - Williamston, Michigan
St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church - Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
There have been few women involved with such a whole lifetime of stained glass as has Margaret Bouchez Cavanaugh of Warren, MI. This month the Michigan Stained Glass Census is featuring several churches where Margaret supplied designs and/or the fabrication—her days at Detroit Stained Glass Works as well as time as an independent artist.Born in Detroit, Margaret's family moved to Ohio where she attended a Catholic high school. Then she received an art degree from the College of Mt. St. Joseph in Cincinnati. After completing college Margaret returned to her native Detroit where she went to work for Detroit Stained Glass Works (DSGW). For a while she lived with her employers, the Irving family, as their daughter Mary Ellen also worked at the studio. The Irving family was the third generation of the Frederichs family, who began the stained glass company back in 1861. Frederichs and Staffin (later became DSGW), although it went out of business in 1970, today is still among the oldest stained glass studios in the United States along with the J&R Lamb Studios in New Jersey, Willet Studios in Philadelphia and the Judson Studios in Los Angeles. Margaret's arrival at DSGW coincided with a very important studio job. She became part of the team submitting a bid to design the windows for the Chapel at St. John's Seminary in nearby Plymouth, MI. Three of the four team members were women (one of the others being Mary Ellen Irving), which caused some special "performance" conditions to be included in the contract. Thankfully times have changed! The windows were designed after consultation with then Cardinal Mooney and other trained liturgists at the seminary. To prepare young men for the priesthood, the window iconography needed to have examples of "duty" and "inspiration." Although the building has a medieval appearance, the windows were strictly post-World War II European modernist in design. The artists arrived at designs that controlled the light by having the background glass of various shades of blue-turquoise, lake blue, gray-blue and into the violet range. This was accomplished by using French, German and English hand blown glass, as well as Blenko glass from Milton, WV. Nativity Episcopal Church of Bloomfield Township, north of Detroit. The church did not want their view outside to be obstructed, so Margaret came up with an ingenious design which used sheet copper, copper foil technique and lovely hand blown glass for small meaningful vignettes which attach to the vertical window mullions.
Bibliography: Show Bibliography
(MSGC 2000.0035, 1994.0067, 2000.0030)
Text by Barbara Krueger, Michigan Stained Glass Census, February , 2006.