the Past, Present & Future
glass artist has retirement plans
By Victoria Shiflet Kress
The Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula are full of extremely talented
creative artists. One such artist is Raymond B. Bridgers, Jr. of “Quiet
Cove Stained Glass” in Mollusk, Va. who will be retiring from
the stained glass profession this summer. The “Quiet Cove Stained
Glass” studio will continue after his retirement in Robley under
the direction of his former student and friend Nancy B. Max
Ray began the art of stained glass about 1972 while
he was a Professor at New York University at Oswego. He was building
his home and making kitchen cabinets that needed glass. He liked the
stained glass look and felt it would be better than pressed glass
for his cabinet doors. A female student traded lessons in stained
glass in exchange for teaching her how to lay tile. From there his
passion for stained glass began. Ray opened a stain glass business
and has since won numerous awards for his master pieces, including
second place prize at the New York State Fair. He then began sharing
his passion with others. Many of his students have gone on to open
their own stained glass businesses. His works are displayed on Oakland
Island in North Carolina, homes all over the eastern half of the nation,
and locally. He has created Dedication Plaques for Mt. Vernon Baptist
Church in Whitestone, nine windows for the Bethel United Methodist
Church in Callao, and has made two windows for the Good Sheppard Lutheran
Church also of Callao. Ray has made repairs for churches in our area
such as the Northern Neck Baptist Church in Callao and the First Baptist
Church in Heathsville.
I have experienced his teachings firsthand and
can state with pride that Ray is a natural born teacher. He loves
to teach and generously shares his talents with every class. Since
1972 he has taken off one year from teaching. He enjoys challenging
people to grow and to develop new talents and skills. He also feels
people are more talented, and more artistic than they realize. Ray’s
creativity and talent shows in his unique design styles. The masterpieces
in his studio and home are exquisite!
Ray and his wife of 58 years, Carolyn, have six
children. None so far have developed his passion for stained glass,
but have found their artistic outlet through music. Of the six children,
there is a pianist, a cellist, a flutist, and an organist. Perhaps
Ray is now taking after his children for he is learning to play the
piano. His wife, Carolyn, is artistic as well, and writes and paints.
Ray has also acted in and directed Little Theater, and took adult
tap classes to help him recover from an illness.
He currently plays hand bells with the Bethel United
Methodist Church, where he keeps the hand bells adjusted and in tune.
He also has expertise in woodworking, welding—making frames
for stained glass and sculptures—boat building, and has won
many senior category races as a runner.
He raced Thistle sailboats for more than twenty
five years, and taught sailing classes for ten years at the Fairhaven
Yacht Club near Oswego, New York. Ray took flying lessons, was preparing
for his solo cross country flight, bought a Cherokee 180 plane, and
on the day it was delivered suffered a stroke which ended his flying
experience. Remember the tap lessons?
He has taught driver’s education classes
for AARP. As a kid he delivered newspapers by bicycle and had to peddle
more than twenty five miles each day. Looking back, Ray recollects
that all of his interests and jobs have been fun with exception of
Ray grew up in Norfolk and graduated from William and Mary with an
AB (Artium Baccalaureus) in Philosophy and an MED (Masters of Education)
in Elementary Education. He then graduated from Duke University with
a DED (Doctorate of Education) in Curriculum and Instructor. As a
New York University Professor, he taught eight years in the Campus
School and twenty seven years at the College. In 1994 as a Professor
of Education, Ray began teaching a couple of courses per year in Upper
Division Writing and Foundations of Education. He has also taught
at San Fernando State College in California and summer courses at
Syracuse and Utica, New York. He has served as a consultant to the
Department of Transportation and New York City.
Upon retirement, Ray sees himself pursuing his
woodworking, painting, and spending time with his family. He still
has a passion for stained glass, and probably always will. But some
of the jobs and repairs of stained glass in high places, such as climbing
extension ladders, have become dangerous and more difficult as he
ages. He knows the business will be in good hands with Nancy B. Max.
The hope is that he will be an Artistic Advisor and frequent the “Quiet
Cove Stained Glass” studio in Robley, for he still has a lot
of knowledge to offer and is adored and appreciated by all. Ray has
been a teacher throughout his entire lifetime and the ripples from
his teachings have touched the lives of many.
by By Victoria Shiflet Kress