Sometimes the task ahead of you seems so great, like you are moving a mountain. And sometimes, the task of an artist is to build that mountain. In glass, of course!
As we undertake the latest commission work at Gallery’s Choice, I thought I’d stop and take a moment to share a behind the scenes look as we move mountains for our customers.
Our current studio challenge is one of space! Just getting the pattern entirely on one table isn’t yet possible. If you recall – we have the content, fixtures, glass and entire inventory of art objects from a 1,500 sq foot storefront jammed into a home-based studio – thank you COVID!
The project sits roughly 46 x 58 in and represents a decent sized window on a stairway landing in the customers home. But that’s not the impressive part. The story behind the imagery is the real news. Exciting aspects of the design represent a journey through life with all of its magical twists and turns, love and a strong foundation in faith. These special elements were presented as a family crest – the artistic expression and loving gift of this couples family! Representing these aspects are rewarding for me as an artist, as I know they will be cherished and meaningful to the entire family for generations.
Exciting aspects of the design represent a journey through life with all of its magical twists and turns, love and a strong foundation in faith.
The crest, designed by the customers’ children, became the inspiration for the imagery of the custom stained glass mountain window project. As a separate project, we took the crest illustration and sandblasted accent mirrors which became holiday gifts!
Story of the Glass
The glass for this work includes a wonderful array of contrasting glass textures. Like the Wavolite Coblestone texture by Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company, Kokomo, Indiana. We selected this glass style to represent the piney needles of the pine trees.
KOG has a rich and interesting history. It is the oldest manufacturer of its kind in America. Celebrating 133 years in business this year (2021), they established themselves in Indiana in 1888, borne of a sweet deal for natural gas stores there that fuel the glass furnaces to this day. This natural energy source discovered in Kokomo was thought to bring fortune to an otherwise unassuming farm town and attracted many business deals.
In addition to using native energy, the raw materials originate locally. We were told during our tour that the silica sand KOG uses to create their glass comes from Ottawa, Illinois near Starved Rock, which is an interesting local connection. Who knew?
Formerly known as the Opalescent Glass Works, KOG has many interesting features – and I highly recommend taking a tour of their operation. Watching how sheets of art glass are produced, how the colors are mixed and how personal the process is, provides an appreciation of the medium. Call ahead to arrange, especially with COVID considerations. And tell them Gallery’s Choice sent you.
You can read more about the history of this American glass manufacturer at the link below:
Kokomo Opalescent Glass Factory Tours
1310 South Market Street
Kokomo, IN 46902
Wavolite is just one of the styles we chose from KOG for this project.
Another favorite glass of mine is Stipple by Youghiogheny Glass. Stipple glass species has a waxy texture. Its translucent, ice-like quality, gives it an almost three-dimensional effect. It is more difficult to cut due to it’s rich texture, but soft and easy to grind, and is worth the work! This version of water contains blues, greens and pinks, with a heavily rippled texture perfect for representing motion of a flowing mountain river.
One of six American glass manufacturers, Youghioghemy Glass in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, boasts a similarly vibrant history as they have focus on producing glass for notable glass artists, including Louis Comfort Tiffany. To this day, this company produces Tiffany Reproduction glass styles which have the perfect opalescence for lamps and internal patterns and textures that mimic nature. To be sure, Youghioghemy Stipple and Tiffany Repro glass styles are my all time favorites. If you are in Pennsylvania, be sure to check them out:
300 S 1st St,
Connellsville, PA 15425
Every time I select a glass for one of our commissions, it’s more than just the color I have in mind. I know the heritage that each piece of glass carries with it, and the legacy of many more artisans hands that went into the manufacture of the beautiful materials, the exquisite palette, I have to work with.
Now in the interest of keeping you wanting to see more, I am not including the finished project photos of this work quiet yet. There are more wonderful artistic surprises to come – including just how the project changes character as it comes off the board and is first kissed by sunlight. So stay tuned. The magic of the completed project will be revealed soon.
Moving mountains, after all, happens one piece at a time.