Glass is a canvas for Glenview artist
Josef Puehringer buff sandblasted a nearly finished piece at Crystal Cave on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 in Glenview. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
WHAT: Glass engraving shop
WHERE: 1946 Lehigh, suite E, Glenview
WHO: owner Josef Puehringer
Updated: August 20, 2012 6:18AM
GLENVIEW — Josef Puehringer’s engraved glasswork can be seen at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie and Chicago’s Columbia Yacht Club.
He has made pieces for governors in Illinois and California, and from 1995 to 2005 he designed and crafted the Chicago Film Critics Award.
He recently moved his workshop, warehouse and gift shop — called the Crystal Cave — to Glenview from Wilmette, his storefront since 1969.
Three-dimensional scenes of nature and architecture, as well as glass figurines of animals and people, fill his new location at 1946 Lehigh Ave., Suite E.
“It’s the detail in the finished engraved pieces that set my work apart,” said Puehringer, a Glenview resident for 25 years.
“When I see pictures, I see them in 3-D.”
Other pieces show the Atlanta skyline for the 1996 Olympics and President Barack Obama above the White House with an eagle given to the Pritzger Military Library in Chicago.
He grew up in Upper Austria, where a 100-year-old glass factory was still in operation.
“My friend’s father was the factory electrician, so he took us along sometimes and showed it to us. As a young boy, my interest in glass started at an early age,” he said.
Later, he studied at the Glass Art School in Kramsach, Austria. At age 20, he arrived in Chicago to work as a glass engraver at Carson Pirie Scott & Co.
The Crystal Cave repairs broken pieces, too, and Puehringer does pieces for anniversaries, wedding and graduations. In 2010, Puehringer wrote a book titled “The Crystal Cave, the Journey of a Glass Engraver,” about his life in Austria and Chicago as an artist and businessman for 40 years.