When Stratoz was deciding on a color for the joy in his suncatcher design, I voted for orange. I believe it was a good choice.
She arrived with print-outs from our website, and a bag of Scrabble tiles. She wanted the word “leap” in flowing bright colors: red, orange, yellow, and the tiles spelling out “and the net will appear.” She wanted the light to shine through all that color, so the project went to Stratoz. We’ve known this client for a long time, along her path to becoming a minister, with all manner of hurdles, and yet discerning her call, attending Community College, Seminary classes, finding a church and her ordination. It was an honor to know she looked at our work when she needed an infusion of inspiration and joy and that she chose to commission original art as her birthday gift ~ rather than, as she put it, getting another piece of jewelry that she never wears.
What word speaks to you? Talk to us about commissions.
When on vacation, my favorite souvenir is sheets of stained glass, and Stratoz and I found a bounty at Carolina Stained Glass. I wrote about the types of stained glass manufactured in the US, and one company I didn't include was Bullseye from Portland, OR, but right after I wrote the article, Stratoz and I found an awesome piece of orange Bullseye at Carolina Stained Glass, and Stratoz made this butterfly.
Stratoz has launched his own Etsy Shop with his stained glass creations: Stratozpheres. I love seeing his work all together. Go check it out and delight your eyes.
Stratoz and I are going to be interviewed for the Northampton Magazine, about alumni accomplishments. One of the questions we were asked to consider was how Northampton Community College(NCC) prepared us to run a business. At first, I didn’t know how to answer this question because I never would’ve have imagined having my own business when I was at the college.
Then I remembered, when I was 19, I petitioned to take a newly created class at NCC called Responding to the Bereaved, which was restricted to Funeral Service Education students. NCC decided to let me in, and there I sat with 10 men and one woman studying to become Funeral Directors, learning about the psychology of loss and bereavement. I took the class because I felt compelled to, in wanting to understand my own pain, but class was a response to the needs of the Funeral students, who wanted more understanding of their clients, who were in the midst of grief.
Some of the members of the class grappled with the material, arguing that they weren’t counselors, and did they need to know all this psychology, but they were willing to consider the possibility. Their profession was important to them, their role of guide at a moment of disruption. I felt out of place as the only outsider, significantly younger than most of the students and the only other woman, but I was struck by the importance of the relationship between the person serving and those being served, and by the stories of the student’s own losses that arose in class discussions. I most likely told Stratoz, when I met him that same year, that I wanted to be a bereavement counselor.
Now here I am, 25 years later, with our business Nutmeg Designs, and the relationship between artist and client is what guides both Stratoz and myself in our work. We respond to grief at times, when someone commissions art as a remembrance, a gesture of love and healing. Stratoz created a butterfly mandala in stained glass, commissioned by the friend of a couple that lost a child to cancer. There is sadness in such a request, and yet such care. This couple in turn commissioned a butterfly piece for another couple who lost triplets, carrying the hope for healing from their hearts to others.
Stratoz took this photo of one of his Sophia Spiral’s hanging in his studio window, late afternoon, with the sun glowing through the center of Youghiogheny glass. Stained glass quickens with the light, and can catch us by surprise with colors we never saw before. I’ll let Stratoz describe what goes into a Sophia Spiral Mandala:
I call the piece, A Sophia Spiral Mandala, which doesn’t just happen to have 21 pieces of glass. It has 21 pieces of glass because the design came to be after spending time with Sophia and a passage (The Book of Wisdom, chapter 7) that includes her 21 attributes:
22 For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, shrewd,
23 irresistible, beneficent, friendly to human beings, steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits.
This week I decided to make a new mandala for our craft shows. I cut out four pieces of five types of blue green glass and than pulled out the Youghiogeny glass for the 21st. As I was writing a blurb to describe the mandala, it occurred to me what that 21st piece is. As we grow to know God in all images, we spiral into ourselves, and what we find is our true self. And there is nothing I can put in that location better than a piece of amazing glass from western Pennsylvania.
Stratoz from his blog post Sophia in Silence, Glass, Scripture and Hymn
More orange goodness on my Orange Tuesdays Pinterest Board.