Optical infusion

Most people come across it in a church, or maybe in a relative's house, in the form of a lamp — but it often starts in the Yockeys' Ashland studio.

Father and son craft intricate and immense stained glass pieces for homes and houses of worship throughout the Pacific Northwest.

"This is our sweatshop," jokes Tim Yockey, father to Dal, his partner at Canterbury Stained Glass Company.

Inside the Patrick Lane studio, a 12-foot window of blue and green glass molded together by metal is stretched out on the workbench. An equally tall conglomeration of pink glass is propped against the wall and squares of multicolored glass dot the room.

For the past year, the Yockeys have been busy constructing a triangle-shaped window for Trinity Methodist Church in Eugene.

The window, 24 feet tall and 26 feet wide at the base, will be delivered in pieces and installed by the Yockeys later this month. It depicts three crosses, backlit by rays of yellow glass against a purple, pink and blue sky.

"It is amazing and humbling to work on what people in a house of worship are going to be praying before," Tim Yockey said.

"It's going to be there during times of greatest joy, weddings for example, or some most distressed times. In a church, probably more than anything, the atmosphere of the place is partially because of the stained glass," Dal Yockey added.

Tim Yockey, who graduated from Southern Oregon College (now University), started the Ashland business in 1976 after three years of apprenticing for stained glass experts in Portland.

Dal Yockey joined the business in 1991 after graduating from Louis and Clark College. While on a break from college, he helped his father restore a 100-year-old church window, and realized his calling, he said.

In addition to designing and creating new windows, the Yockeys specialize in restoring antique glass windows or objects.

"We've found out that we're one of very few in a position to rebuild some of these old churches and also one of the only ones who have a large antique repair stock. We know what kind of glass to use," Tim Yockey said.

"There's very few people you would want to have handling a 12-foot window that's collapsing," he added.

The Yockeys handpick their glass from multiple glass factories in the Pacific Northwest. For the Eugene project, they used five different manufacturers to get the necessary colors and textures.

"You don't just count on the stained glass factory like Crayola to have a 148-pack and there you go," Dal Yockey said. "You have to look at the glass in the factory and hand-select."

Several local churches display work by the Yockeys. They recently finished a 15-foot-tall window for Ascension Lutheran Church in Medford and previously completed a window for Trinity Episcopal Church in Ashland. They are scheduled to repair windows in the mausoleum at Mountain View Cemetery in Ashland.

Their stained glass pieces can cost a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.

The Yockeys have also constructed eight large stained glass domes for people in the Northwest.

"The goal is to get our work to last 100 years," Tim Yockey said.

"After that it's probably going to have some damage or need some repairs," Dal Yockey added.

In addition to welding pieces of glass together, Tim Yockey also paints on the glass to create intricate pictures, such as the face of Christ, that don't have lead lines interrupting the image.

"It's the ultimate, actually. It changes just all kinds of things you can do," Tim Yockey said.

He often applies paint more than a dozen times, firing the glass in a kiln after each application.

"It's so critical: the amount of paint and heat," he said. "You can actually put about three weeks into a piece and lose it. And then it's like you almost want to give it up, but not really, though, because it really turns out sweet."

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