For the last 35 years Romany Kamoris has been marketing her stained glass art in Sag Harbor.
What started on card tables back in 1977 is now encompassed in her , next to the .
Romany, who is of eastern Slovakian decent, was born and raised in Milwaukee. She came to New York to study dance and movement therapy at NYU, but found glass, and glass blowing, fascinating and got involved in what was to become her life’s work.
Living in the Village she missed the water of the shores of the Lake Michigan, so Sag Harbor was suggested to her as a place with “lots of artist and lots of water.” Romany told me, “When I arrived in 1977, Sag Harbor was a place with lots of small galleries and lots of fine crafts like pottery and ceramics; it was like a little Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village.”
She set up her card table and sold small stained glass objects that she made. She put a small ad in a local paper requesting stain glass commissions and landed a job at Bridgehampton’s , where her work still is. Her second job from that ad was at the Sag Harbor Jewish Temple. This success propelled Romany to rent some space on the edge of Sag Harbor Village in Rocco Liccardi’s building in 1977. Five years later she moved to the old Sag Harbor Post Office space and landed a commission to do the large 60-foot stain glass window of the on Hayground and Route 27 in Bridgehampton.
Another breakthrough for her at this time was an 8-foot curved arch window that she did for the Pintauro family in Sag Harbor.
In 1992, given the grace of 30 days notice to move her business of 10 years, Romany went across the street and bought the 1850s building the Romany Kramoris Gallery now calls home.
Downstairs is her studio and upstairs is an unchanged from the 1850s Sag Harbor apartment with a window with a view to sea that was used in those days to see incoming vessels.
It is on the main floor that Romany usually sits propped behind her desk in the middle of the gallery helping long-time friends and customers find what they are looking for.
One such customer and friend is Joan Trabulsi who said she has been “a great fan for years and years.” (since the late 1970s) she added how proud she is that Romany has given, “unique support to lots of artist over the years.”
Over the last 21 years Romany has done work for Alec Baldwin, Lauren Bacall, and painfully recalls the late Roy Scheider coming in with his wife Brenda commissioning some work on their new home just before he passed away.
She also sold her Corning Museum of Glass Award winning piece to Mr. and Mrs. James Brooks, as well as doing some custom work with leaded glass for John Avildsen in Sagaponack. Romany has shipped her stained glass to places as far away as Egypt and England. She also does part-time guest teaching at the , something she truly seems to love to do.
Romany is proud that at one time she was authorized to market the blown glass art of Dale Cahihuly in Sag Harbor. Bendheim influenced her back in the early days, but now she is proud of all her stain glass work. In the gallery also are CDs of fine contemporary as well as classical music, books on art and architecture, as wall as original glass art works.
Romany believes the building that houses the gallery was first a mid-19th century grocery store. Then it was a Montgomery Wards and was a Sea Shell shop just before she purchased the building. She has watched many businesses come and go over the years on Main Street. She seems concerned that too many “mom and pop” businesses are being driven away by recent economic realities.
One of her wishes, “is to keep Sag Harbor in the favor of a village that supports independent stores.” As she told the tales of commissions and sales over the last 35 years Romany Kramoris became very animated. She participated in the great artistic rediscovery of glass in the last quarter of the 20th century and now helps pass down her knowledge. She greets so many customers by their first names and does it without effort. She has come a long way from her card table and 1600-square-foot first gallery. She has been able to maintain her high standards and succeed while so many artists starve.
Romany summed it all up by saying, “Everybody seems to be happy that I am here, I am happy I am here.”
The phone number is 631-725-2499.