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No pane, no gain

October 16, 2004

Jacqui Brown

Chip Worsinger was a kid from back east with one of those boring

things we call a day job.

While inspecting a glass company on Pico Boulevard for an

insurance company, he struck up a conversation with the owner who was

working with stained glass.

"I asked him a lot of questions and he was happy to answer them

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all," Worsinger said. "Back then there wasn't much stained glass

being done except for repairs on church windows."

The owner was so taken by Worsinger's fascination, he packed him

off with a box of tools and scraps of glass. That was 32 years ago.

Now Worsinger, along with more than 60 active West Coast Artists

and high-quality craftsmen, will display his glass art at the

Downtown Burbank Fine Arts Festival today and tomorrow.

The festival takes place outdoors on San Fernando Boulevard

between Magnolia Boulevard and Orange Grove Avenue. San Fernando

Boulevard will be closed to traffic during the shows. There's no fee

for parking in the nearly 9,000 spaces.

Around the time Worsinger got his start, he discovered the

Renaissance Pleasure Fair and realized that the artists were having

far more fun than him. The following year he got his own booth.

"I made stained glass peace symbols, candleholders and butterflies

-- whatever I could," Worsinger said.

The one year the fair was canceled there was a mad scramble to get

rid of all the surplus stock, so he sold his goods to drug

paraphernalia shops and a few other stores. What set his business in

motion was when the movie studios picked up the peace symbols because

they liked the camera play on the light shining through them. After

that, he began wholesaling them nationally.

In the 1960s when the craft was practically a lost art, another

opportunity knocked. Jean Morgan, co-founder of the "Free Press"

underground newspaper, offered him an opportunity to teach a glass

class at her co-op store on the Sunset Strip.

He believes that the revival of the art was due to one of his

students, an unemployed actor named Richard Chamberlain, whose

fascination with the art echoed his own.

"He made some incredible windows that he displayed during his TV

interviews and the directors loved it," Worsinger said. "Suddenly he

was all over the TV promoting stained glass."

Worsinger also created a specialized glass etching technique while

developing a prototype computer circuit board for the aerospace

industry. He has a whole line of stained glass, boxes, candleholders

and sun catchers that are being distributed nationally.

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