As many of you may have read in our previous post, we view our work as more than making a piece of glass or delivering a window treatment. This project is a reflection of one family’s creative intentions. And being able to finally install the piece in it’s forever home was certainly a highlight for us this month!
This glass project was so much fun for us and had so many special features – I had to write more about it’s installation!
Legacy in Light Delivered
Family legacy in light delivered! A highlight for Spring 2021, Gallery’s Choice installs a memorable custom art glass window in it’s forever home. This work, designed and fabricated by our very own artists, Rose and Bill Jarecki, was inspired by the creativity of a loving family, holds in it a deeper meaning and life spirit.
For this piece, special elements called for special treatments. Glass artist Rose Jarecki called upon her jewelry making skills and chose metal smithing techniques to focus on elements called out by the family crest. Her love of copper was a perfect fit in handcrafting unique one-of-a-kind embellishments, which could then hold the level of detail not possible with traditional stained glass.
Select elements worked in copper using metal smith’s tools and chasing techniques create interest in meaningful imagery.
The copper pieces depicted specific elements of the meaning behind the family crest – the genesis of this commission in stained glass. The wisdom of the owl, the magic and music of the writing quill, a grounding in faith from the organic copper wire cross, and of course a heart, representing love in relationship. All these components add to the multimedia presentation of the glass art window.
Glass elements of the window itself incorporated other strong messages: the tree of life, a path, a grounding in the rock representing faith. The active water, to remind us that time passes so very fast, and a winding path, noting that the path in life is never a direct one!
Maybe the most notable element of this work is not the glass or copper elements at all. But it is in the way the piece reacts in the light. Throughout the day, and as the light changes in the room, the observer is presented an ever changing scene – with different parts of the work coming into greater focus as light plays on each part.
Behind the Scenes
Leading up to the “Big Day” was a big deal for us! To begin, as many may know, our studio is somewhat cramped for space, as we continue to navigate through life during lock-down. (The year 2020 brought with it the sudden, temporary, and necessary closure of a 1,500 square foot brick and mortar store front. This is my only real defense to what may otherwise look like a scene from “Hoarders” TV show!) With so many store fixtures and supplies taking up precious table and floor space – the larger format (approx 46″ x 58″) of this project had to be assembled in sections!
Our other customer’s projects needed to be finished and installed to free up space on the high top. This included 14 beveled transom windows, two sets of sidelights and a stained glass lamp repair.
Not to mention the flipping of the large glass art (so the second side could be soldered) required strategy and engineering to navigate the space less than two and a half feet between table and tool chest. The glass artwork had to be tipped off the work surface, slipping it off the work surface, carefully dropped to the floor and hoisted back up to the tabletop before it could be flopped over onto the side needing work! (If any of those words scared you in the context of making a stained glass piece – let me assure you – I was terrified!)
After the last joining glass pieces were soldered in, wood framing was cut, painted, joined and copper embellishments were soldered on – it was finally time for loading. But first, we would have to navigate the studio fixtures, glass grinder, a very narrow doorway and even the snowplow before we could place it into our van.
We had already anticipated that our van was too narrow to take the work, and tried to enlist the help of an alternate vehicle. But when plans fell short, good ole ingenuity and some spare 2 x 4’s saved the day! Undaunted, Bill set out to build a secure easel the stained glass piece could ride against and be strapped down to, giving us the extra inches needed by means of riding along on the diagonal!
By the end of all of this, I stood laughing at the end of our driveway, thinking to myself how appropriate that the path we were on with this project, just like the path of life it depicted, was anything but a straight line!
Stained Glass Installation
On site, we encountered few real surprises. Minor adjustments to framing were completed to accommodate the fact that nothing is ever perfectly square. (The experience of many installations has taught us this truth!) And when the glass art eased in to it’s new home – the moment we had all been waiting for had arrived!
Although we may have taken a favorite perch away from our favorite felines, the temperature of the room instantly dropped as the blues and greens of the art glass filtered the direct beating sun – a feature these fur wearing felines may appreciate!
But the real story is the light.
As the light of the day transmits through the glass art, the mood of the work changes, and different aspects and features are brought “to light.” Reflected light from within the home at night give special focus to copper elements. Morning’s cool light creates a watercolor-like ambiance while the mid-day sun fires up the golden tree of life and late afternoon shows a purple mountain majesty in all glory. Even I as glass artist, working on the piece, am amazed and humbled by the power of the light in this media.
We’d like to thank the Simmon’s family for inviting us on this journey with them by commissioning us to create “Crest Mountain” stained glass for them!
The pleasure has been ours!