It is with extreme sadness that I report the death in Waukesha, Wisconsin of David G. Fode, a contributor to the Agincourt Project, though he may not have understood that. For a deeply personal reminiscence of Fode’s life, see this blog written by a close friend.
The community of Agincourt was made real through its stories and its stuff, words (too many of them) and objects, material culture (of which there will never be enough). David — whom I never met but communicated through email — operated a stained glass studio in Waukesha. I discovered him through the most random searching on the web and found a craftsman with both wit and skill. I had found an illustration during my undergraduate years at the University of Oklahoma in an early issue of The International Studio, an art journal with a long run of holdings in the library at OU. I’ve been able to find very little biographical material about the artist but that image stayed with me for literally decades, until I found myself designing Agincourt’s kindergarten, circa 1910, and needed some ornament to be in keeping with the general Arts & Crafts feeling I was trying to establish. Lloyd’s illustration of a Punch & Judy show, no matter how sexist it might be in our own culture, was a mainstay for children during the Victorian and Edwardian years.
What Lloyd intended for her charming, albeit politically incorrect image, I have no notion. But it looked to me like the beginning sketch for a stained glass window — one that would require one hell of a lot of staining, there being perhaps a thousand infinitesimal shards of color in its design. I contacted David Fode, included a copy of Lloyd’s design, and asked if he could interpret it at 24-30 inches in diameter. That window is here — in our dining room but still unframed — as an artifact in The Agincourt Project.
The world of stained glass craft has lost a remarkable and phenomenally creative person with David Fode’s passing. Whenever and wherever any subsequent Agincourt exhibit may occur, the “Punch & Judy” window will be a prominent feature and a testimony of David’s work.
I genuinely feel the afterlife will be more beautiful through his presence.
David G. Fode