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About the Craftsman


John McCarthy, a retired U.S. Coast Guard officer and combat veteran, is a lifetime woodworker, model-maker, and woodcarver. In 2001 he earned an MS degree in information technology from Syracuse University and became interested in the use of laser technology as a woodworking tool.  Creating at the intersection of these interests, Mr. McCarthy formed SDG in 2014 after being deeply moved by the exquisite line art images created by the renowned Church artist, Redemptorist Friar Max Schmalzl. To pay homage to "Brother Max" and other Religious artisans, Mr. McCarthy's artistic goal is to bring their beautiful images off the page and into the home in forms that are artistically pleasing, spiritually moving, and devotionally enriching.


“I feel very blessed to have found a way to uniquely serve God and work creativity with both my hands and quite literally the ‘pure light’ He provides!” JAM

Brother Max


Working at the turn of the 20th Century, Friar Max Schmalzl created hundreds of liturgical works, edifices and religious printed products, which were distributed throughout the Catholic world.[1] Among the last formally trained artists in the Nazarene style, Brother Max is known as “the last Nazarene”.[2]  A humble and pious man, Brother Max lived his life at the monastery of Gars am Inn in Bavaria, where he placed his artistic abilities entirely at the service of the Church.  Reflective of the religious artistic ideal, Brother max rarely signed his work, occasionally incorporating the initials “FMS” or  “FrMSch” into the piece.

Art historian Dr. Monika Wurster provides a beautiful summary of Brother Max’s life: “His mainstream artistic perception, devotional lifestyle and modesty made him the embodiment of a Christian artist. The Nazarene and Beuron ideal of a humble, pious and laborious artist-friar finally found its purest expression in Max Schmalzl.”[3]

Many beautiful examples of his drawings can be found at and the Corpus Christi Watershed Project ( 


[1] Leonhard Eckl: Brother Max life picture of artist Fr. Max Schmalzl . Pustet, Regensburg 1930.


[2] The name Nazarene was adopted by a group of early 19th century German Romantic painters who aimed to revive honesty and spirituality in Christian art. The name Nazarene came from a term of derision used against them for their affectation of a biblical manner of clothing and hair style.


[3] Monika Schwarzenberger Wurster, "Frater Max Schmalzl (1850-­1930). Catholic image propaganda in the Christian art of the late 19th century "University of Regensburg, 2010

About Our Name

Soli Deo Gloria is Latin and usually translated - “To God alone the glory".  Many artists, most notably the great composer J.S. Bach, wrote the initials "S. D. G." at the end of their work as a means to honor God.  I humbly strive to do the same.
Additionally, the “Gloria” is my small way of honoring my mother.  A woman of deep faith, Gloria Pasino McCarthy had a particular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and angels.  I know she would have approved of SDG, and I often feel her presence as I work. 

About Our Process

Many involved steps are required to create a finished SDG engraving. The following provides a quick look at some of our processes.  Click the images to enlarge and read about each step.
1. Layout and Design
2. Laser Work
2a. Laser Close-up
3. Raw Plates
4. Background Treatment
5.  Masking
6. Foreground Treatment
7. Detailing
8. Final Drying
9. Finish Coatings
10. Backing Treatment
10a. Backing Treatment
10b. Backing Treatment
11. Finishing Touches
12. Custom Packaging
13. Materials
14. Finished Product
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