W.Va. spring tour features mountaintop glass studio

May 28, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Better than a mile up a bumpy mountain road in eastern Morgan County, Berkeley Springs Studio Tour artist Beverly Kipphan demonstrates how she creates leaded glass artwork to everyone who arrives.

After they tour the house, they don't mind the rough road, she said. "They say it's worth it."

Kipphan's studio, Arran Art Glass, is one of the 28 working art studios being toured in Berkeley Springs and Hedgesville, and more than 150 guests will see her artwork, she said.

The tour continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The spring tour includes artists who work in stained glass, forged iron, jewelry, lino-print, sculpture, painting, pottery, weaving, mosaic art and ceramics, said Studio Tour spokeswoman Angela Matthews, who is part of Frog Valley Artisans.

"The artists who have checked in say they have sold more than twice the amount than last year's tour, and people seem to be buying good art again, which is a testament to the quality of our art," Matthews said.


Craig Ludwig and Minna Davidson drove from Rockville, Md., on Sunday to take the tour for the first time.

"We just wanted to learn more about it," Davidson said, and they were impressed with Kipphan's art. Her studio has been part of the tour since 1995.

About 10 large leaded glass pieces are displayed throughout her home. Special tempered glass is used to sandwich the art in windows and doors, which protects it, she said.

She likes working with large pieces. "The bigger, the better," Kipphan said.

Leaded glass windows were developed in the middle ages, she said, and Kipphan uses no copper foil on her pieces. "There is no room for a mistake," she said.

Copper foil is used for smaller pieces traditionally used by Tiffany and LeFarge for lamps and sun catchers, she said.

After drawing the pattern and making copies to use in the process for creating the piece, Kipphan said she uses came, a soft metal used to separate the cut glass pieces.

"This is not about lamps and sun catchers," she said, "and everything is original."

Her studio is filled with her artwork in different stages of completion. One piece is for a chapel that is under construction on her property.

Kipphan said she hand-painted the face on the glass and had to borrow a kiln to dry the piece.

"As most artists, I have to be working on a project. There is a tremendous high by creating a work of art," Kipphan said.

Her art is in homes in Russia, Austria and Australia, and throughout the United States. She charges about $150 to $200 a square foot, she said.

Next summer, Kipphan plans to study with a leaded glass artist at the Macintosh Art Institute in Glasgow, Scotland.

"The Studio Tour is a great time to share my art," she said.

If you go:

What: Berkeley Springs Spring Studio Tour

When: Today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: 28 locations throughout Berkeley Springs and Hedgesville, W.Va.

For information, go to

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