Today I finished cutting glass for the rugosa roses and thimbleberries at the bottom of the window. Some of these tiny pink and green pieces of glass are smaller than my fingernails… and so extravagantly labour-intensive to build into the window. I have to admit that this is pure indulgence.
Trinity Episcopal had asked for what seemed like an impossible list of things to be included in one small window -the Holy Family, worshipers, mountains, apple blossom, a river leading to the sea, an anchor (the mariners cross), some seagulls in the dawn light… but not thimbleberries or roses!
Aside from my love of roses and of beautiful colours, I did have artistic/compositional reasons as well. I brought them in to help make sense of the apple boughs which enter the scene from stage left, as if from a tree growing nearby but out of the picture plane. I felt that I needed plants of a similar scale in the foreground to balance the composition and help the viewer ‘read’ the picture better. Since the window is dedicated to Deacon Archie Hanna, who wrote the definitive book on the history of the Thimble Islands, and since the islands are named for the abundant thimbleberries that grow there, they seemed the obvious choice.
I also wanted more pink in the window to balance the sunrise and the apple blossom. Some years ago I made 20 windows for St Mary’s Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. Each one had at least 3 roses in it (symbol for Mary and Portland, the City of Roses) and I found lovely ways to paint them in stained glass. I love the colour and scent of these wild seaside roses, and they seemd so perfect for a church near the seaside in Branford Connecticut.
Here are a couple of photos of glass fixed up on the easel with blobs of Pasticene. Please use your imagination and/or watch this space to see how those red blobs of glass become delicate thimbleberries (they will!) and how the roses turn out. My last post may help a bit.
Yes, the size of a fingernail!
Can you spot them?
Here’s the right lancet, photographed against a shockingly blue sky.