In Memory of
for Marjorie Blake
Louisiana stained glass artist Marjorie Johnston
Blake passed away on July 23, 2014, in Baton Rouge, LA. She brought to
the world vibrant colors, intense creativity and unique interpretation
of God’s word, the natural world and beloved animals.
A celebration of Marjie’s life will be held Friday, August 1, at 11 am
in Grace Episcopal Church on Ferdinand Street, St. Francisville, LA.
Visitation will be from 9 am to 11 am when the service begins, followed
by burial in the church cemetery and buffet reception in Jackson Hall.
Born on Dec. 27, 1939, Marjie was a native of Jonesboro, AR, and a
resident of St. Francisville, LA. She is survived by husband, Wayne
Blake of St. Francisville; daughter, Amy Blake Clattenburg and husband,
Bert Clattenburg, of Stuart, FL; son, David Blake, of Oakland, CA;
grandchildren, Brett Blake of Chicago, IL, Teddy Clattenburg and fiancé,
Ashley Weeks, of Hobe Sound, FL; Kelly Clattenburg of Stuart, FL; and
great-granddaughter, Marlee Clattenburg of Hobe Sound, FL. Her extended
family includes brother, Johnny Johnston, and wife, Susie Johnston, of
Maumelle, AR; and special friends, Nora and Larry Miller of St.
Francisville. She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Edith
Diamant Johnston of Little Rock, AR.
Marjie’s earliest inspiration came from the stained glass windows in
the church of her youth in Jonesboro. Called to work in stained glass
early in life, she kept the vision and began her career as she turned
40. Known today as an accomplished and award-winning liturgical stained
glass artist, her works are on display in at least 35 churches,
hospitals and chapels throughout Louisiana. Examples can be seen at Mary
Bird Perkins Cancer Center, the Chapel at Istrouma Baptist Church and
Immaculate Conception Church, all in Baton Rouge.
As the mother of two young children, Marjie earned a Bachelor of Fine
Arts degree in stained glass in 1979 from Louisiana State University.
She studied color with Samuel Corso and stained glass under Paul Dufour.
From 1982 to 1999, Marjie was a partner in the Mud, Metal, and Glass
Studios, Baton Rouge.
Her business flourished during this period, and Marjie made a name as a
successful and creative stained glass artist. She completed most of her
stained glass windows during this period, incorporating luminous and
resonant light with her striking colors.
Florida Boulevard Baptist Church offered Marjie her first church
commission in 1987. The theme, “The Alpha and The Omega”, was based
on passages from the Book of Revelation. Marjie explained: “After
study and discussions, the images just appeared to me.” With the
commission, she embarked on a new path in her deeply rooted, creative
journey. Over the years, Marjie’s designs came to her through prayer,
dreams and visions.
She exhibited for years at the Baton Rouge Gallery. In 1999, Marjie was
recognized as a Woman of Achievement in Arts and Humanities by the
Greater Baton Rouge YWCA.
When illness, triggered by her work in constructing glass, ended
Marjie’s hands-on involvement, she continued to design for others to
install. She and Wayne moved to the St. Francisville community in 1998,
where Marjie opened a new studio in Wakefield, which brought inspiration
and new creative opportunities. She transferred her skills into
watercolor media with her usual dramatic design and flowing line
quality. Her paintings included landscapes of the West Feliciana
countryside and fantasy compositions of the animal world. She also began
making liturgical needlepoint designs and continued to fire fused glass
jewelry and window ornaments in her kiln.
Marjie loved animals and incorporated them into her art work. In her
last days, she was making sketches of her beloved dog, Millie, who
preceded her in death last year. Her art work was displayed in the LSU
School of Veterinary Medicine’s International Exhibition on Animals in
Art. Marjie not only included dogs in her work, but also butterflies,
cats, frogs, lizards, fish and birds.
In St. Francisville, she exhibited her work at Birdman Café and
Backwoods Gallery. Marjie participated in Arts for All and the Yellow
Leaf Arts and Music Festival. During Yellow Leaf, she often gave jewelry
to interested children and took time to share with them her artistic
process. She and Wayne were docents in the annual Audubon Pilgrimage.
Marjie came from a musical family and enjoyed singing, often with her
husband. Both she and Wayne were members of the Grace Episcopal Church
Choir. Marjie served as president of the St. Francisville Symphony
The week before she died, Marjie and Wayne had dinner at a fine New
Orleans restaurant. The night before she died, her first in Hospice,
Marjie laughed with family and friends.
She will be remembered for her sweet and gentle presence and her
underlying sense of purpose and strength. Marjie had a loving and
generous heart, a ready laugh and a lifetime commitment to making
stained glass speak to hearts and souls.
She listened to classical music as she worked and told friends, “When
I’m designing and painting, I get a centered feeling of completeness.
It’s exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.”
The family thanks Marjie’s physicians, Dr. Bill Hines, Dr. Chaillie
Daniel, Dr. Andre Bonnecaze and Dr. Mark Kantrow, as well as the staff
of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and The Crossing at
The family also expresses appreciation to Nicole Charlet Wilcher and the
staff of Charlet Funeral Home for handling arrangements. Personal
memories or messages may be shared on the guestbook at
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the
Palliative Care Foundation of Baton Rouge, 9191 Bluebonnet Boulevard,
Baton Rouge, LA 70810, online at palliativecarebr.com or to the West
Feliciana Animal Humane Society, P. O. Box 2032, St. Francisville, LA
70775, online at wfahs.felicianalocal.com.