CURBED SF -- A hundred years ago, almost every house built in the Bay Area had some stained glass in it. That level of craftsmanship and everyday beauty was expected then, even in a modest Sears Roebuck bungalow. Today, stained-glass elements are the exception rather than the rule, especially in new construction.
But for the past two decades, Theodore Ellison — working out of a converted 3,000-square-foot pool hall in Oakland — has been trying to change all that. He designs and creates what he calls “finely crafted” stained-glass windows and doors, mosaic fireplaces, backsplashes, and murals for clients in the Bay Area and beyond.
“There is a renewed interest in site-specific hand-crafted work,” he said. “People respond to this personal touch, and there are now small makers all over the country making stained glass and mosaics for people’s homes.”
Ellison, who studied art at San Francisco State University, creates original designs for all his mosaic and stained-glass work. While his work is inspired by the glass designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Charles and Henry Greene (Greene and Greene), he does not do reproductions.
“I am interested in keeping these centuries-old techniques going forward,” not in recreating old patterns, he said. “The problem is that when you are working with traditional trades, it’s always an uphill battle against people’s perceptions that the work has to be crafty or look a certain way.”