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Judith Schaechter

Seeing is Believing, 2008

Look closely at this work from MAD's permanent collection to learn how the artist draws inspiration from both the natural and built environment and her processes for making the window. Experiment with pattern and layers to create your own design in this object lesson adaptable for ages K-12.

Commissioned by the Museum in 2008, Seeing is Believing is permanently installed in the second-floor stairwell where natural light activates its kaleidoscopic design.


Take a close look at Seeing is Believing.

  • What do you notice about the lines, shapes, or colors in the work?
  • Are there any lines, shapes, or colors that repeat?

It takes two or three months for Judith Schaechter to create one stained-glass window. She uses traditional methods to cut and refine the colored glass, and assembles the parts using a combination of lead strips and copper foil. Each window is constructed out of multiple layers of flash glass, a paper-thin handmade glass that appears almost translucent and is produced by coating colorless glass with thin layers of colored glass.


To create detail, Schaechter uses sandblasting and engraving, techniques that remove certain areas of the flash glass and reveal colorless spots. She also uses thin washes of glass paint to add color minimally and fires the glass to make the color permanent

  • What do the lines, colors, or shapes make you think of?
  • What patterns in the artwork remind you of things in nature or natural phenomena?

This stained-glass work is over 9 feet tall by 8 feet wide. The patterned design in the artwork is inspired by naturally occurring phenomena, such as the symmetrical form of a snowflake, the connective tissue of cell structures, and the aftereffect halo of a strong burst of light.

Look at additional images of Schaechter’s glass works on her website.

  • How does Seeing is Believing compare to other stained glass by Schaechter?
  • What do you notice about the faces or figures that she includes in her work?
  • How do the figures relate to the patterned designs?


Watch a video of Judith Schaechter’s process of working in glass.

Schaechter says about her process, “My goal is to have no expectations for the work I do here, because it’s experimental and I want to be surprised. And I find that sometimes when I have high hopes for things, they tend to be disappointing. I want this to go where it wants to go organically, without me trying to control the outcome too much.”

  • What do you notice about Schaechter’s process?
  • Where do you see elements of experimentation in Schaechter’s work?


  • Design a pattern using repeating lines, shapes, and colors. How might your pattern be inspired by things in nature or natural phenomena?
  • Experiment with a layered work of art by drawing on vellum or acetate. How might you layer your drawings so that the multiple layers interact?
  • Collaborate to create a large-scale installation in an interior or outside space. Each participant will create a pattern tile, and xerox the pattern to create multiple tiles that can be arranged on a wall, window, floor, or ceiling.

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