A frequent visitor to South Pasadena, Ray Bradbury, a famed American author and screenwriter, will be further memorialized and respected with the installation of stained glass windows featuring the beloved figure inside the local library.
Tim Carey, a painter turned glass artist who currently runs Tim Carey Studio in South Pasadena, has teamed with his former company, Judson Studios, in bringing the project to life. The design has been donated by Carey and the fabrication will take place at Judson Studios this summer or early fall.
The window project looks out the library’s conference room, named after Bradbury, leaving some outside to wonder as they sit and play on a giant Morton fig tree, a landmark destination in town. “To honor him at the South Pasadena Public Library with an artwork of this caliber would be remarkable,” said Cathy Billings, the city’s library director, continuing to raise funds for it. “I love to imagine all the kids playing on the Library Tree looking up at the beautiful work shining from the conference room windows, and being inspired to learn, imagine and read.”
In addition to the stained glass windows and naming of the conference room, Bradbury Appreciation Days have been held in his honor over the years. Further, the South Pasadena Public Library includes an extensive collection of Bradbury’s memorabilia, books, articles, and documentation of the once longtime visitor to the city.
“I see these windows as a landmark for the city,” said Carey, who has lived in South Pasadena for 23 years, noting he feels fortunate “to be able to create permanent art here in South Pas, (it) is a dream come true. My kids gather every year outside the Ray Bradbury Conference room on Halloween night to meet up with fellow trick-or-treaters. My hope is that with these windows lit up, it will add light and beauty to what is otherwise a dark area under the big fig tree at night. And the kids might ask who the guy in the window is, and a little piece of Ray Bradbury will live on in South Pasadena’s future generations.”
Bradbury’s literary contributions made him one of the best-known writers the world has ever known. Bradbury wrote more than 50 books, 600 short stories, numerous poems, plays and, to cap it off, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Living in Southern California for more than 75 years, his iconic works include “The Martian Chronicles,” “The illustrated Man,” “Dandelion Wine,” and “Fahrenheit 451.”
Through the years, before his death at age 91 in 2012, many of Bradbury’s plays were performed at his home stage, the Fremont Centre Theater.
Carey drew inspiration to take on the stained glass project after meeting former South Pasadena Librarian Steve Fjeldsted, who was also an active member of Rotary in the city. “During a tour of the library, he showed me the Ray Bradbury Conference Room,” explained Carey. “I was immediately drawn to the windows, and the idea was born. Because I knew it was a long shot, I offered to do the design as a donation to the library back in 2018. Steve championed the idea through many meetings and we were able to create some momentum.”
Fjeldsted received the enthusiastic support of Bradbury’s family for the project, “and we’ve been slowly moving forward ever since,” Carey said. “My understanding is that Bradbury, having grown up in a small town in the Midwest, was drawn to South Pasadena because it reminded him of his home. Though he did not live here, he did spend a lot of time in the city. He was a big supporter of our library, and came to do many events there over the years.”
No stranger to the stained glass field, Carey served as the creative director at Judson Studios for 10 of his 14 years at the company, leading the fabrication of large and small projects all over the world. “We completed 2,000 square feet of traditional stained glass for the USC Caruso Catholic Center in 2012,” he explained.
The studio’s biggest project to date, noted Carey, was realized in 2017, with the completion of The Resurrection Window, at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, in Leawood, Kansas. “To make this window, we had to utilize the technique of fusing glass, in combination with stained glass, to create a custom production on a scale never seen before,” he said.
He left Judson to begin Tim Carey Studio in July of 2018, opening his studio in South Pasadena, saying he’s had “some great opportunities come my way recently.”
Carey recently helped Judson Studios fabricate fused glass windows for the newly built Santa Clarita Fire Station. Designed by South Pasadena Resident Anne-Elizabeth Sobieski, the windows were installed this past spring.
“I am pursuing projects in both religious and secular environments, as well as trying to establish fused glass as a fine art medium,” he said.
With his artistic talents, Carey is excited the approval and partial funding of the Ray Bradbury Windows is complete, and that they will be installed at the library hopefully in October.
To help get the $24,000 project across the finish line, the library has set up a donation page, asking for public’s support.
“Funding will come from multiple sources,” said Billings. “Some funds have been designated by (South Pasadena) Councilmembers Richard Schneider and Diana Mahmud from their discretionary funds. The Friends of the South Pasadena Library have a fundraising goal of $9,500. The remainder of the cost will, with City Council approval, be covered by unrestricted donations made to the library several years ago.”
Of course, the public can help support it. “Any amount you could contribute would be awesome,” said Carey.
To visit the page to donate, go to: www.friendsofsopaslibrary.org/donate and scroll down to Bradbury Stained Glass Window Fund.
This sounds SO cool! Congrats to all involved!