La Jolla artisan keeps alive centuries-old art of stained glass
La Jolla has some of the most beautifully designed houses in the country. It is also home to some of the nation’s most innovative artists and intrepid designers. Lisa Maywood is one of these.
Using stained-glass techniques that are hundreds of years old, Maywood bridges the gap between fine art and home design. She has recently made her work available to La Jolla.
Maywood began working with stained glass 18 years ago while taking a high school art class in her hometown of San Marino, Calif. She immediately began to excel at the craft and, after her first semester of study, was asked to become the teacher’s aide. But, high school was just the beginning of Maywood’s love for the craft.
“That’s what sparked my interest,” said Maywood. “Ever since then, I did whatever I could to take a course here and there to try to learn more about the craft. I did that for several years. I took classes at city colleges, anything I could get my hands on. The unfortunate thing is that the courses were usually the same.”
Maywood found herself limited by the unavailability of more advanced and sophisticated classes in which she could grow in her art.
“My love for this medium grew and grew,” she said, “but I started getting frustrated that I couldn’t learn anything of a higher level.”
Then Maywood found an opportunity to take the next step in her education, and it would take her a long way from California.
“I was on the internet and I typed in ‘stained glass’ one day just to see if there were any other courses I could take. ... All of a sudden, this school popped up. I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ There’s a school for exactly what I love to do.”
The school was located in Sion, Switzerland. Maywood spent the following three and a half years studying at the Ecole de Vitrail et de Creation, a school focused solely on stained glass, learning the art in its purest, most traditional form.
“I’m so happy to be doing a craft the same way it’s been done since the 11th century,” Maywood said. “Maybe the tools have become more advanced, but the basic process you can’t change.”
After finishing the program in 2002, Maywood returned to something else that means a great deal to her. She moved back to La Jolla, where she spent a lot of time as a child.
“La Jolla, for me, is the one place where I have only fond memories,” she said. “It’s a beautiful place to live, the weather, the community. My family has really planted their roots here now. We’re really tied to La Jolla.”
Now Maywood hopes to bring her art to La Jollans by creating custom designs for their homes. She feels strongly about merging stained-glass artwork with home design and is becoming more recognized for her work. She was a participating artist and volunteer in this year’s Secret Garden Tour and has had her work featured in a showcase designed by Kathy Missett for San Diego Home and Garden Magazine in May of this year.
Missett and Maywood became collaborators after meeting at an exhibit of Maywood’s work at a salon in Normal Heights.
“We met through our hairdresser,” said Missett. "(Maywood) was doing an art show at his salon and he invited me, and that’s how we met. It worked out beautifully. I was looking for a piece for (a magazine) showcase house, and the piece that she had went perfectly with my design.”
Missett, owner of KM Designs, said that stained glass can be used to soften the tone of a room without diminishing the quality of lighting. That’s why she chose to use Maywood’s work.
“The windows that they had in the showcase house were replacement windows,” Missett said, “and they were very institutional looking. So, I was trying to find some way of disguising them without having to close off the light that came into the room. It was the perfect solution. I will definitely incorporate that in the future with her designs.”
Rex Moore, co-owner of Dulcinea, the salon where Maywood had her debut San Diego exhibition, also praised Maywood’s work.
“It’s magnificent,” he said. “I’ve had a salon for 25 years and it’s the best art I’ve ever had.”
Maywood is putting most of her energy into in-home designs and is currently accepting commissions. To view her work, go to www.verredesigns.com or call at (858) 220-3282.