Bagger Dave’s and Berkley Library Among places to see Jim Fritsch’s Stained Glass Art
(Mark H. Stowers, Aug. 27, 2019)
Berkley, MI- Libraries are known for the books and information they hold within their walls. But in Berkley the windows are getting attention – stained glass windows that is. Berkley resident Jim Fritsch is on a mission to fill the library with his particular talent and artwork.
The Wayne State alumnus had no art background until a career change in 2007 when he was downsized when the economy tanked. He took a job at Bagger Dave’s and also took a stained glass class during his more than ample free time.
“I fell upon stain glass. It just appealed to me at that point in time and it turned out I was pretty good at it,” Fritsch said. “Brenda at Universal Stained Glass gave me a lesson and beginning project. It was an adaptation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Tree of Life. That adaptation is what you see when you walk into the Berkley Library.”
With his art work going over well at the library, he put together two more pieces for them. His endeavors also serve as a memorial to his late son.
“My teacher said I showed some innate ability and was gifted and would be crazy if I didn’t do it for a living,” he said.
Fritsch doesn’t do it for a living as of yet, but he enjoys continuing the art form and he’s been able to combine with his “day job.”
“The owner of Bagger Dave’s asked me to put stained glass in every new Bagger Dave’s,” he said. “The one in the Berkley store is a giant hamburger. All the other Bagger Dave’s all have scenes of trains going through one of the country’s national parks.”
Fritsch noted his designs come from Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence along with art deco and art nouveau. His work at the library came due to the influence of his late mother.
“She was literally promoting my work to anyone and everyone who would listen. As a member of the Friends of the Berkley Library there was a 70th or 75th anniversary coming up. She asked if the library would consider commissioning me for a couple of stained glass pieces. That’s how I got the first two pieces in there.”
He became friends with the library directors and they commissioned him for more pieces.
“I started filling more windows and I told (Library Director) Matt (Church) my vision would be to fill all the windows up with stained glass. I have nine pieces in their now,” he said.
Each piece is different but Fritsch has “one central pattern that has not changed, like a flower. It’s the same flower with the same dimensions in each one. That ties them all together.”
The Berkley Library is located at 3155 Coolidge Highway in Berkley. They can be reached at (248) 658-3440 and more information is available at www.berkley.lib.mi.us.