Atelje Stanišić, stained-glass making

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Atelje Stanišić (Stanišić Atelier) is the oldest still operating stained glass workshop in Serbia. Established in 1908 in Sombor by Milan Stanišić, it has for five generations been the home of stained-glass production, decorating buildings in Serbia and abroad. Today, the four-people team in its workshop creates new and restores old works under the mindful eye of Aleksandra Stanišić.

Name of Craft in the local language
izrada vitraža
Type of Craft
Stained-glass making with lead frames and hand painted glass
Knowledge Holder
Aleksandra Stanišić
Location, Website
Konjovićeva 5, 25101 Sombor, Serbia Link to website
Contact
stanisic.atelje@gmail.com, +381(0)63512806
Type of Business
Aleksandra Stanišić inherited the Sombor workshop from her father in 1994.
Year of Establishment
1908
Successors
Yes, daughter Ena Borovac

Workshop and sales space
40 m2 (open floor plan with working stations for each segment of work)
Materials
Glass, lead, pigments
Technology / Tools / Machines
Lead profile machine (100 years old), soldering iron, glass furnace, diamond knives, individual workstations for sketching, cutting, painting (lightbox), and assembling stained-glass objects, large format printers
Techniques / Processes
Stained-glass making: The process has an indoor and outdoor segment. Indoors: sketching, cutting, glass staining (using pigments for high temperatures), glass baking, lead profile making, assembling of elements in lead frame using the soldering iron. Outdoors: installation of the segments of the object in the window frame. Stained-glass restoration: removal of stained-glass, replacement of lead frames and glass elements, using the same technique specific to Stanišić Atelier, even replicating colours with old pigments if necessary.
Members / Employees
Aleksandra Stanišić, workshop owner, manager, and stained-glass maker, Tatjana Dimitrijevic, academic painter (lightbox sketching and glass staining), Tatjana Lovrić, glass cutting and assembling, Zoran Avramović, lead profile making, outdoor installation and removal
Apprentices
1, Nikola Vucelić
Education of the Craftsperson
Aleksandra is a lawyer but has learned the craft in the family workshop. Besides her, the stained-glass objects are made by a painter specialized in working with stained glass and the assembler and cutter previously trained in Stanišić Atelier.

Best-selling product
Differently positioned stained-glass windows for sacral objects
Average time of production
Depending on the size of stained glass, one month (minimum)
Average price per item
Varying – depending on the size of the object and the type of glass-staining technique

Since 1994, Stanišić Atelier has been operating under the same name and family ownership in three different cities and on two different continents. Due to the political and economic circumstances of the 1990s, the possibilities for getting projects and materials were scarce in Serbia, therefore Milan Stanišić (Aleksandra’s father) opened a workshop in Budapest, and her brother Stevan opened his workshop in Washington D.C. From 2016, the workshop in Sombor is fully operated by Aleksandra.

Stanišić Atelier was established in 1908 by Milan Stanišić (the great-grandfather of its current owner). Today, it is one of the few remaining stained-glass workshops in Serbia.

During the 1990s, the workshop became active in three cities – Sombor, Budapest, and Washington D.C., under the same name and with its own signature technique. Today, Aleksandra Stanišić runs an almost exclusively female enterprise, with Aleksandra’s daughter Ena Borovac inheriting the family’s “love of glass” and taking an active role in the workshop’s activities. As Aleksandra explains, locally commissioned work was scarce in the previous decade, but the situation has turned in recent years, especially as the stained-glass objects produced by the previous Stanišić workshop generations need restauration. Today they are producing new stained glass for sacral objects and other public spaces, and they actively restore old pieces produced by the workshop’s previous generations.  

 

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The workshop is situated in the Stanišić family home, spanning almost a block of buildings in Konjovićeva Street in Sombor, and it has been there since 1936. Marked with a stained-glass sign, the street entrance gives way to an inner garden, and the workspace is located on the first floor

 The open workspace is approx. 40 m2 in size, with an abundance of natural light and preserved initial construction, from brick walls to the wooden base. The space is organized into several workstations following the production process, with a section for making lead frames, and a glass furnace. The space houses a workstation for sketching on the computer, a lightbox station for painting and colouring glass, a cutting and an assembling workstation. 

 

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Stanišić Atelier uses the technique of making stained glass in lead frames.

The lead profiles are made in the workshop as two-sided profiles. Before making the profile, the lead is purified and melted, and then placed into a machine that makes profiles sized 3 mm, 5 mm, 6 mm, 7 mm, 9 mm, and 12 mm. Stained glass is first sketched and printed in 1:1 ratio, and then painted onto coloured antique glass.

 When individual glass segments are prepared, the object is made by assembling the pieces with the lead frame soldering iron. Finally, the stained -glass is gyrated for final firming. The production process is finalized outside of the workshop space, with installing of the objects in situ, within their window and panel frames. 

 

When sketching is done, the glass is cut and prepared for shading and contouring.

 When the pigment is finely mixed, the glass is painted and prepared for burning in the glass furnace. The colour shade and fine contouring are known only after the burning process is finished. Setting the temperature in the kiln depends on which kind of glass and paint is applied, but it is usually between 600 and 900 degrees Celsius. The heating process is slow, halting a while at the highest temperature, and it takes almost a day to re-open the kiln after the temperature goes down.

When individual glass segments are prepared, the object is made by assembling the pieces with the lead frame soldering iron. Finally, the stained -glass is gyrated for final firming. The production process is finalized outside of the workshop space, with installing of the objects in situ, within their window and panel frames. 

 

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Stanišić Atelier mostly produces stained-glass windows (of diverse placement) for sacral objects. Besides commissions for religious objects, they make pieces for private/public spaces that are required as part of heritage preservation, as buildings placed under protection need to keep the authenticity of the façade when renovated, and stained glass is its integral part. In these cases, newly produced stained glass aims at keeping the authenticity of the technique and materials as much as possible.

They restore old stained glass made by the workshop’s previous generations, such as the one on the wall of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina (Novi Sad), or the windows on St. Michael’s Cathedral (Belgrade). In 2023, they produced the previously unrealized sketch authored by Vasa Pomorišac for a stained-glass window of the Aeroclub building in Belgrade, for which the Stanišić workshop initially produced all stained-glass elements during the 1930s. This time Stanišić Atelier produced a stained-glass window for the exhibition at the Gallery of Matica Srpska (Novi Sad). Currently, they are not making objects for everyday use such as lamps, since the ratio of cost and benefit today is not proper for continuous production and does not require working in their specific stained-glass technique.

 

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Supported by
  • Ministarstvo kulture