Mary began working in stained glass while attending classes in glass blowing and ceramics at Cleveland State and Kent State Universities. Learning as an apprentice she expanded her knowledge of the craft through work for several stained glass studios in the Cleveland area as a full time craftsman and production manager.
Pursuing wider knowledge of the craft she has attended numerous classes and workshops from glass blowing at Penland School of Crafts, in NC, to glass painting and restoration technique workshops offered through the Stained Glass Association of America.
A resident of Ohio for most of his life, Ben Parsons graduated with a B.F.A. in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. In the late 1980s, he began an apprenticeship at Phillip's Stained Glass Studio during which he learned all aspects of leaded glass design, painting, and fabrication from the late master glass artist Douglas Phillips.
One of his responsibilities was duplicating badly shattered pieces of painted glass. "It was and still is a very rewarding challenge for me to try to re-create the materials and techniques for a painted glass replacement. You have to be a bit of a detective to figure out the exact enamel pigments and firing sequences; when you are finished, your work should be completely unnoticeable."
The qualities of stained glass are present in the abstract paintings that Parsons occasionally exhibits. In contrast, the fluid nature of painting and the immediacy of collage continue to influence his approach to stained glass design.
As one of the founders of AZURE, Parsons continues to create new visions with an ancient craft.