Artist to Raffle off One of His Stained Glass Creations to Support Symphoria

Dec 17, 2015

A Syracuse artist is offering to support Symphoria in a unique way…by raffling off a piece of his stained glass art at  Friday night’s first holiday pops concert.  Here's the story of a former computer programmer and professor turned full-time artist who also appreciates classical music.

Robert Oddy came to Syracuse from England in 1981 to teach at S.U.  Sixteen years later, he decided to leave the university and pursue stained glass art full-time.  And he’s been doing it ever since.

Large sheets of glass line the walls of his studio.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

"Some worked is framed.  We call those 'autonomous panels' because you put a nice wooden frame around it, and people hang those in a window.  But most of my work is made to be installed in a window."

Oddy has customers from across the country.  He asks for exact measurements and photos of the space so he has a sense of the environment and lighting.  That helps him and the customer determine the best combination of colors and patterns.

"Selection of glass is one of the most important things that I do.  What I'm trying to do is create an impression.  With glass, you don't have the fine control that a painter has.  So you pick glass that has the right kinds of texture, the right kinds of streakiness, color variation, and so on."

  Oddy has bins and bins of glass sorted by size and color along a wall in his bright studio. Bits and pieces of glass cover the workbench…he calls them his palette.  He says he uses a typical hand held glass cutter for some work, but most of the finer shaping is done with a diamond band saw.  It’s that kind of time and attention that Oddy hopes Symphoria concertgoers appreciate when his talents are raffled off this evening.  You see, there’s no actual product to give away. 

"Instead of having a piece already made, it's a commission.  So the winner can come to me, and I'll treat them exactly like any other client, work with them on design, and figuring out what they need, where they want it in their house, just like I would with a normal client.  The only difference is they won't have to pay for it because they would have won it."

The work Oddy will do is valued at $10,000, and the proceeds of the raffle tickets go right to Symphoria.   He says it's his way of supporting a cultural institution he loves.

Oddy uses copper foil to wrap around the edges of his glass and solders them together.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

"I think live music needs our financial support.  We need people to go to concerts and experience it.  It's an experience that's quite different from listening to recorded music.  It's very important to me to keep supporting organizations like Symphoria.  Maybe one day in a couple years, I might do something similar again.  If you don't win this time, there might be another opportunity," he said with laugh.

Raffle tickets are $40, or three for $100.  Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at 299-5598 or right before this evening’s concert.  More information is at experiencesymphoria.org.