“I believe in the arts and I believe in revitalizing the arts in downtown Waco. If Waco has a vibrant art community, it has to come from somewhere.” -Bryant Stanton
Anthem: For starters tell me a little bit about you: where you are from, if college played a big aspect in your work, and hobbies, if any. We want to get to know the mastermind behind everything.
Stanton Studios: I was born in Long Island, New York and lived on Cape Cod during some of my high school career. My dad retired around this time and started a blacksmith shop and a light fixture business. When the economy failed in 1975 he came out of retirement and we moved to Texas where I spent the latter years of my high school career and eventually attended Texas Tech. I’ve always had a passion for architectural art, but at this point in time I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I went on a walk one afternoon as I often did and encountered someone, a “hippie” if you will doing stained glass out of an old storefront and he taught me how to make a butterfly. From there all of my art classes at Tech started becoming glass related and eventually switched my major to Three Dimensional Studio Art. At the time Tech had a glass blowing studio for graduate students, thus I was exposed to a lot of the glass people there. My wife was attending Baylor, so I of course followed her down there and started Stanton Glass Studio in 1979, restoring stained glass windows and custom windows for homes and churches. My four sons have now been raised in the business and have begun helping out with expanding the business to wood and metal work. Our mission is to create anything architectural that can bring joy to someone just by looking at it.
A: Where do you draw inspiration from on a day-to-day basis?
SS: Observing nature and how things grow and connect together. There are patterns in nature and with the Baylor Eternal Flame we kind of worked with the Fibonacci Sequence to create a spiraling piece. A lot of my personal work is inspired by geometry and curves; anything sensual and that can evoke a feeling of beauty.
A: How did you end up with a storefront in Anthem Studios?
SS: I’m part of the Waco Art’s Alliance, Chamber of Commerce, and president of the Waco Art’s Center. I believe in the arts and I believe in revitalizing the arts in downtown Waco. If Waco has a vibrant art community, it has to come from somewhere. So far Anthem has been the best and most mature venue for this to happen. They are trying to show quality, so I wanted to be one of the first people there and be involved. It has the potential to be an incredible art gallery and studio in Waco and I just wanted to be a part of it.
A: What does your day-to-day look like?
SS: Well for starters I am not a morning person, I saunter out here around 10/10:30 every day while my guys have started work at 7 am. I spend most of my day answering emails and designing, then I go out and meet clients about the commissions we are doing. From there it’s back to the studio to exchange designs and drafts with them via email. Technology has really changed the whole game. I do all of my designs exclusively on Adobe Illustrator now instead of using an actual drafting table, which makes changes a lot easier. It has made us much more productive than when we were when we first started.
A: What is your favorite part about your job, as well as your least favorite?
SS: My favorite part is the unveiling or the finishing of the piece. With a stained glass window, you hold it up to the light; with a blown glass piece you take it out of the kiln and for the first time you are able to stand back and see it go from a model or a drawing to a tangible product in front of you. Then you get to pick it apart and critique it and think about how you can do better next time. My least favorite part is dealing with contracts, and bookkeeping, and bidding. I’m grateful to have bid work but a lot of the time it’s just an educated guess of what your time over the course of the project will be worth. You really have to be savvy with what your time is worth.
A: What kind of products do you offer?
SS: Blown Glass pieces, stained windows (of course), commission work, as well as metal and woodwork pieces. We are expanding our horizons, which is why we are now just Stanton Studios, instead of Stanton Glass Studios. A little bit more about the pieces we offer at Anthem; blown glass is instant gratification of sorts. Within 30 minutes or so you have created a piece, but with woodworking or stained glass it can take weeks for a single piece. So blown or fused glass is the only instant product we offer and because of that it is cheaper, which is why those products dominate our set-up at Anthem.
A: How did you end up all the way out here? (Their studio is located near Homestead Heritage, quite the ways from downtown).
SS: Ah! Going back to my roots! On the shore of Cape Cod, where I lived for several years I was constantly surrounded by trees and nature, but when I moved to Texas I ended up in West, TX where it was flat. We finally found this nice wooded piece of property on the outskirts of Waco and it was just perfect. That’s the beauty of the internet; with a good website and media presence, you can run a website from anywhere. I don’t need a showroom, my showroom is my website and because of that I am able to do it anywhere. I can hang out, visit, enjoy the trees, and get work done.
Here is their newly revamped website for your viewing pleasure.
Thank you so much for joining us for our weekly Artisan Spotlight. Keep an eye out next week for our next feature!