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Written by Joe Hurley

Reflections of perfection
Stained-glass artist Mark Tomascak works from ‘the ground up’

In Mark Tomascak’s world, watching sunlight bouncing off purple, green or yellow glass at just the right angle is its own reward.

Mark makes and repairs stained-glass windows — an artist working in colored glass, lead and solder.

“Mark is capable of perfection,” said his sister Marci Tomascak of Danbury. “I’ve seen him create some really beautiful work. It’s not just the design, it’s the execution. It’s very difficult to get the symmetry of the design, the color and to balance it.”

For Mark each project is an adventure.

“What it’s all about is dealing one-on-one with the clients. You can build something that comes to life because of the discussion you had with your client. They get to see the job as it progresses and make changes as we go along,” he said.

In a Newtown project, Mark encased the lead in two Victorian style windows with copper, because it tied into the room’s decor.

“We built it from the ground up — color, design and materials,” he said.

News-Times photos/David W. Harple
Tomascak is rebuilding this transom window to fit a new sized opening for its owner.

 

Mark Tomascak, who makes and repairs stained-glass windows, cuts a curved shape out of a piece of glass.
Tomascak holds an old church window he is working on.

Look in Mark’s work shop and you’ll see orchid-colored half-round windows, and blue-tinted transom windows. Over in the corner you’ll find two multi-colored stained-glass windows he’s repairing for Sacred Heart Chruch in Danbury. On a table, you’ll spot a group of stained-glass angels.

Because Mark is working with the client at each step, the new windows are usually just what the customer wanted.

But repairs are a different story. Projects that seem small can be very time consuming — and sometimes he has to tell people that the glass is in worse shape than they thought.

“I have one that I’m afraid will have to be a total re-lead job — I don’t have the heart to tell him,” he said.

Mark, 41, has been creating and building since he was a kid.

“There are a lot of creative people in my family,” he said, noting that his interest in graphics got its start by watching his father, Albert, draw cartoon characters.

Now, Marci and his son, Mark, Jr., occasionally help out in his business, Dragonfly Studio.

He still has the towel rack he made in 7th grade at Schaghticoke School. At Abbott Tech, he concentrated on graphics and picked up an interest in photography. Now he uses photography to gather source material for his projects and graphics to design the windows.

“I don’t consider myself a glass artist. I consider myself a graphic artist, a glass artist and a painter,” the 41-year-old Charter House Road resident said last week.

But it took a long time to merge the talents. Mark took his first glass making course in the early 1980s, about the same time he began working at Kimberly-Clark.

He was hooked when his teacher said Mark’s first attempt at soldering a glass project was better than the teacher could do.

That was exciting but not shocking for Mark, who says he just has a knack for crafts.

“I can do all those things automatically — but don’t ask me what I had for dinner last night, I can’t remember,” he said.

KC workers and management gave Mark plenty of part-time glass and graphics work during the next two decades.

Then in 1999 he decided to strike out on his own.

“When I left KC I was painting my father’s house to survive,” he said.

Since then he’s earned a reputation and has up to a half-dozen customers at a time.

And business keeps getting better.

“The popularity of stained glass is coming back,” he said. “People are finding old glass and want it repaired or restored. Then, when they see that, they want new windows everywhere.”

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