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Healing through Stained Glass Art

A shop full of sheets of stained glass is a magical place where my imagination can run wild. The colours and textures are endless, combining into shapes and patterns in my mind as I hold them up to the light. A pile of new glass in hand, I walk the block home from Prairie Studio Glass to start my creations.

Three stained glass cat keepsakes held up to the light shining through a window.

I begin by drawing the shapes of my pre-cut patterns onto the colour of glass I’ve chosen. Then it’s time to start scoring and breaking the glass into those shapes. This part can get frustrating, as the glass doesn’t always break the way you planned, leaving you with having to redraw and recut the pieces you need. I don’t like to use gloves for this part because I want to feel the glass, but this means I end up with some cuts along the way. I do wear sandals or thick socks when I cut or even just enter the space where glass cutting has happened because glass slivers hurt like a bitch and can be pretty hard to remove.

Stained glass hummingbird held in the light, backdropped by shadowed white wall.

Once all the pieces of my pattern are cut it’s time to grind their edges to remove their sharpness and ensure they fit into the pattern. Then, the pieces get a quick bath and scrub to get rid of any glass dust that settled on them. Once dried, I can add the copper tape to their edges and then they are ready to be soldered together with lead.

Window with three stained glass cat keepsakes sitting, and one dog keepsake hanging.

Puzzling the pieces together, I add a gel flux before heating the solder and beading each piece in place. Then I cover all of the tape with that lead solder, connecting the pieces and adding loops or hoops so they can be hung in your windows and walls. Most of the pieces get a black patina wash to finish, for some I prefer the copper patina and for others, I leave them silver.

Circle stained glass piece hangs in piano window.

I find this whole process rather soothing. Sure, I end up with hands covered in bandaids and I need to wear gloves for the corrosive and heavy metal materials I use, but the imagination that goes into designing, the process of breaking and remaking these raw materials into those designs, it is all so healing.

Stained glass piece with Hebrew script lays on white fabric.

Art is healing. Creating is healing. Collaborating with other artists is healing. In the busyness of creating and running a creative business, this magic healing often gets pushed aside and forgotten. Designs become about what will sell and not about what my imagination can create. Sometimes I need a push, a reminder to create for me.

Stained glass honeycomb with three bees.

Recently, this has come in the form of applying to themed markets that forced me to dream up new designs that have been waiting for their turn in the sun. I’m excited to give you a sneak peek at a new line that will be launching later this summer or early fall (date TBD). This line is lovingly called “Send Me Your Nudes” and will include this lovely design. Stay tuned to steal more glances at the designs I’ve created for this unique line!

Purple and blue stained glass breast keepsake.


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