Jay Almquist’s interest in art became apparent when he was very young, and he excelled in art from the 3rd grade and beyond. Growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, and attending the neighborhood church, he became fascinated with stained-glass windows and wondered how they were created. Upon graduating from Drake University and completing his masters in Geriatric Management at The University of North Texas in Denton, TX, he moved to Minneapolis, where he was able to take a course in stained-glass artistry and construction. He has been inspired by the art nouveau work of Louis Comfort Tiffany (circa 1800).
He produced his first piece in 1976, a simple floral piece that incorporated round shapes a style he was eager to accomplish. While living in Colorado, Jay was commissioned to design and build four panels for a medical clinic reception area in La Junta, Colo. These panels measured six feet high and three feet wide, representing the history of the agricultural sector of Colorado’s eastern plains. He was also commissioned to build a large stained-glass window display for a chapel in the Good Samaritan facility in Windsor, Colo. Completed, these windows measured nine feet in height and eight feet in width. This work represented nature and featured trees, mountains, pines, and a lake. In the past, Jay has also created windows for other churches, offices, single-family homes, as well as offering small pieces for sale in specialty shops.
Jay’s inspiration comes from nature and from listening to his client’s interest as well as what they want to have in their space. He steps out of his comfort zone by experimenting with what he refers to as the Olde World Art of using lead in his creations instead of the more recent use of copper foil or zinc.
According to Jay, the most challenging part in designing or creating a beautiful window is making sure that the total design “flows” well with lines and that all the colors chosen are a right blend which will achieve that spectacular “sun-lit” experience to be enjoyed every time a person looks at such a window