- Associated Press - Monday, October 3, 2016

ISHPEMING, Mich. (AP) - The invention of colored glass is thought to go back to the ancient Egyptians. Stained glass windows have been admired for their utility and beauty since ancient Rome, reaching their peak in Europe between 1150 and 1500 when windows were created for great cathedrals.

This art form, which has told stories for centuries all over the world, has been recognized and brought back to life by local artisan Dan Argall, The Mining Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2dcLbZd ).

Argall recently designed, constructed and helped to install a larger-than-life depiction of the angel St. Michael at Bethany Lutheran Church in Ishpeming.

Argall said he has been making and restoring stained glass windows for less than 10 years, but has either created or restored roughly a dozen of the stained glass windows at Bethany Lutheran, the St. Michael window being one of the largest.

“I’m fairly new at it,” Argall said. “But I like it.”

Argall said he learned his craft from the late Wolfgang Andel who taught courses at Wolfgang’s Haus of Glass in Marquette.

“I was convinced to go to the classes by a couple of buddies of mine, and I think I was the only one who finished the class,” Argall said.

Argall has been working on the latest piece since December 2015. The design for the window is unique from start to finish, with the horizon in the background taken from a picture of an Upper Peninsula sunrise. Argall said the design idea was a collaborative effort between Argall and Bethany Lutheran Church members.

“It was the combination of several different ideas,” Argall said. “I think the lady that originally came up with the angel idea thought it would be a more feminine type of angel, but I think that will come later. There will be several more.”

Argall said the window took him a little more than 2,500 hours to complete, and he was involved in every aspect of creating the piece except one.

“I am not a very good painter, so my daughter volunteered to paint the face for me,” Argall said. “It’s heat treated right onto the glass.”

The new window and a window of the same size created by Argall last year depicting the risen Jesus Christ were both paid for by donations from church members.

“Many generous donors made the projects possible,” Argall said. “It would not have happened without them.”

Ishpeming Historical Society President Sue Boback said she followed and photographed the window as Argall was working on it and was impressed with the final result.

“Last time I saw it, it was lying on his work space there. What a difference it is - seeing it standing up and life-size,” Boback said.

The new window at Bethany Lutheran Church will be dedicated during worship on Oct. 2, Boback said.

Boback, who has developed an interest in the history of the art form locally, said she has photographed the stained glass windows in the United Presbyterian Church, Bethany Lutheran Church, the Grace Episcopal Church, Ishpeming High School’s Pearl Street entrance, and three or more private residences in Ishpeming.

Boback said the private residences have between one and eight stained glass windows, but their function is a bit of a mystery.

“People have shared since I started posting them that they wonder if having stained glass windows in the early days was a decoration or did it mean social status? I like that people are wondering, and looking for the windows,” Boback said.

Pictures have been posted on the IAHS Facebook page, Boback said.

“If anyone wants to share their own photos, or allow us to photograph them, they should contact us through our (Facebook) page or at ishphistoricalsociety@gmail.com,” Boback said.

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Information from: The Mining Journal, http://www.miningjournal.net

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