News & Stories

July 6, 2021

Preservation effort underway at Frost Chapel

Frost Memorial Chapel’s clear leaded-glass windows are getting some TLC as part of a larger donor-funded renovation and restoration of the beloved landmark, a favorite place to worship and exchange wedding vows for generations of Berry alumni. 

Glass artist and conservationist Jeff Loose, owner of Studio Glass Co., Buford, Ga., was called in after bowing was discovered in some of the sanctuary’s 25 diamond-shaped leaded-glass windows. While glass can last indefinitely, the lead framework holding the individual quarrels (pieces) together becomes brittle over time, requiring replacement.

Conservationists like Loose, who in 2017 restored the three stained-glass windows at the front of the chapel with funds donated by the Georgia Daughters of the American Revolution, reuse as much original material as possible, even repairing or consolidating damaged pieces. Fortunately, most of the chapel’s 4,000 geometrically cut quarrels are in good condition, allowing Loose to preserve the vintage look of the glass panels.

“Conservation work gives me the chance to really focus on high-end technique,” he said. “It’s all about the craftsmanship.”

Loose fell in love with stained glass after graduating from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in sculpture design. Apprenticing with Atlanta glass artists, he honed his craft with projects for antique dealers. Then, as his skills and interest in conservation grew, he moved on to architectural projects.

Frost Chapel is among the historic treasures in his portfolio, which includes the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Hay House in Macon and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rome.

Loose removes a few windows at a time, installs temporary glass and transports the historic panels to his studio for disassembly, cleaning and replacement of the old lead. He expects to be done by year’s end.

“It’s really satisfying to know we’re helping ensure the windows will be around for the Berry community to enjoy for years to come,” he said.

In addition to the window restoration, a new climate control system also is planned, enhancing the chapel’s ability to host events throughout the year. Fundraising for the $500,000 project stood at $161,000 as of late May.

Visit alwaysberry.com/gift to support the Frost restoration online. Contact Scott Breithaupt (91C, 96G) at 706-238-5897 or sbreithaupt@berry.edu to learn about naming opportunities.

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