Various pieces of art ranging in price from $25- $1000 and up.
I am a stained glass artist living in the beautiful Margaree Valley on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. The views on this magnificent island inspire me every day in my work as an artist. The landscapes are unsurpassed and are expressed in many of my works. When I returned to Margaree to be close to my aging mother after many years away I decided to focus on my art as my means of expression. My life had led me down many career paths but throughout that time I had always kept in touch with my artisanship by producing commissions for various clients as they would come up.
My work in stained glass started in 1979 when I was involved in a land cooperative with a group of people who owned a stained glass studio. Initially I began as their accountant but it didn’t take me long to realize that the attraction to participating in the actual work itself had too much of a draw to resist. I learned quickly and soon was designing my own pieces for family and friends. I eventually worked with a studio in Edmonton, Alberta where I was able to hone my skills further. The rest has been self taught but not without the input of other artists most of which have become lifelong friends.
In the past, I have worked on various approaches to working with glass including using lead came, found in most older and newer church windows, as a means of construction. However, most of my work these days uses the traditional form of copper tape and solder which allows me to include the detail that I see as necessary to allow for the accuracy that I bring to my work. Although I have produced pieces based on concepts from my own mind, I often will duplicate photos that clients will provide me, wanting that particular scene or object depicted in the interpretation of stained glass. Although there are some limitations to using glass as a means of expressing a particular image, the beauty, texture and color range of glass available certainly makes up for it.
One of my main focuses at this time has become creating glass portraits of man and woman’s greatest companions, their loved animals. Although I have done horses and other animals, dogs have become the mainstream of my work. I have been told that besides the portrait actually looking like their pet, I somehow have managed to capture the spirit or essence of their animal. My love for animals, especially dogs, although I only own two cats at the present moment, allows me to capture the character and sometimes specific qualities that I see in the dog’s photo. This may take several hours of looking at the photo but something gets transferred to me that I then transmit into the piece. I require several pictures of the pet so I can get the main qualities of the specific animal but I will then work from a specific photo that seems to really capture all those qualities. Most dog owners have a large portfolio of photos of their dogs so this is usually available.
When not doing pets, I love creating commissions for people that are very specific to them. When meeting with a potential client, I establish as much as possible what is important to them and how that could be expressed creatively, either definitively or through some symbolic form. As an example, one of the pieces I have in my portfolio is of water lilies with lily buds extending from them. The couple had inquired as to whether I could express their family in a stained glass piece. They were actually wondering if I could do the actual people in glass but that cannot always translate properly so instead I created two water lilies, one white for the mother and one a dark blue for the father. They share two children together so there are two water lily buds between them. The husband has two children from a previous marriage so those are represented by two more buds coming off of his representative water lily. They were enamored of such a creative way of expressing their extended family. The choice of water lilies came from where the piece was to be situated being in their family bathroom.
Although I do enjoy tremendously working with individuals, I have also created fairly large pieces for various institutions. Recently I created a doorway and 3 windows for what was to be a Tranquility Room for a nursing facility for aged people, our youth of yesterday. They also had me create a doorway for their gardening room which is being utilized by the residents of the facility. The room is called the Forget Me Not room so the image is of a band of Forget Me Not flowers throughout the piece with three dragonflies floating among the flowers. The lifespan of a dragonfly is twenty four hours expressing to me the impermanence of life. I thought it appropriate for a nursing facility for people in most likely the last stage of their life. The background glass used in the piece was a mixture of greens and browns which also reflected the gardening aspect of the room.
Other institutions that I have done work for have included churches of various denominations and I have represented the actual buildings themselves in the art form as well. There is no limit to what can be expressed in glass which is only limited by my own imagination or the imagination of the client. The more I create, the vaster my imagination, so the possibilities are truly endless.
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