A Quaker craftsman in a church-window production shop in Des Moines, Iowa, taught artist Corinne Whitlatch the traditional skills of making stained glass windows in the early 1970s. Her series of wall and window pieces reflects images and narratives drawn from her 30 years of employment related to the Middle East. She is inspired by the shards and artifacts gathered on my travels across the region - from Morocco east to Iran and Turkey. Found objects, ceramics, pressed plants, minerals and mosaics are joined with glass and hammered and pierced brass. Her designs are influenced by the study of Islamic ornamentation and of Middle Eastern cultures, history and political struggles.
She taught at the Des Moines Art Center (then directed by Jim Demetrion who later became director of the Hirshhorn), participated in the NEA’s Artist-in-the-Schools programs through the Iowa Arts Council and did commissions and art work. In 1985 she moved to Washington and laid aside her art ambitions while she was Executive Director for 22 years of Churches for Middle East Peace, a nonprofit involved in Middle East peace activities. This was preceded by six years of part-time work as Middle East Peace Education staff in the north central states for the American Friends Service Committee.
In 1998 she spent a two month sabbatical in Bethlehem teaching local women to make new items for the tourist market using broken window glass, bottles and scrap from the glass-blowers of Hebron. A student’s success was a topic of “Bethlehem Besieged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble” by Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb of Bethlehem.