Before I start any significant stained glass piece I ask myself “would I be able to do justice with my stained glass abilities, to this life form that I witnessed when I was out walking, or saw a picture of in a nature book?” Usually this is a sea creature or insect, that I can picture rendering with the already vibrant colors of the sheets of glass and with vein patterns that would flow well with solder joints, and enjoy using glass powder frit techniques to get finer details on its small parts.
The next question is if a theme would also render well as a functional piece, such as a jellyfish made into a lamp. Other times the piece only needs to add life to a space as a sculpture. This serves to make nature accessible without having to travel to a natural history museum or aquarium, and for practical purposes, immortal too.
I proceed to scrutinize pictures and sometimes anatomical information of the actual creature. Then I design a pattern that is big enough to get details but small enough to be practical for home décor. And as I am sure architect Antonio Gaudi found out too, to design and execute something asymmetrical is both as difficult as it is rewarding, which is exactly my experience with putting in the extra effort to make a chandelier version of an octopus look how you’d find it in nature. Each of their differently posed arms take shape as they go, but I also have to make sure I pose them so they won’t run into and block each other when I assemble them all onto its head.
I know when a piece has succeeded when people look at photos of it and say “It looks just like it’s swimming in the ocean”, and appreciate the most common compliment I receive on my damselflies “I love how you took the time to etch in the detail on their eyes”.
I also am a prolific watercolor and pastel artist, specializing in landscapes and cityscapes of Massachusetts, Vermont, and Oregon. You can see these at their own website.