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Category: Stained Glass

D is for Dard Hunter

Roycroft Motto::Dard Hunter DesignDard Hunter was born in Ohio in 1883, worked at his father’s newspaper setting type, and went on to make stained glass for Elbert Hubbard’s Roycroft Inn in East Aurora, NY.  His early exposure to newspapers led to a passion for paper and type, and he made “one man books” where he cast and cut the type, set it, printed it on his own handmade paper.  Dard lived the Roycroft motto above!  I first saw his stained glass on my 40th birthday trip to the Roycroft Inn.  His glass lanterns were captivating with their green glow.  Later, when commissioned to make a mosaic candleholder, I remembered the greens and warm copper tones, and felt inspired.

Hanging Lanterns (c. 1903-1908)

Mosaic Candle Holder

Over at Stratoz:

D is for Drums


Nutmeg Designs at the Pathway School November 13th, 2010: We’ve Got Your Number!

Custom House Numbers by Nutmeg Designs
First Custom House Number by Nutmeg Designs

Stratoz will be doing a show at his workplace, the Pathway School, on Saturday November 13, 2010, with his stained glass, a selection of mosaics, including pendants, and our signs, including newest collaborative sign, the custom House Number.  We will be displaying the prototype at our holiday shows, and will be glad to take orders for your very own custom address sign.

Stratoz teaches science and runs a horticulture program at this private, PA state approved school for to young people with significant learning, social, emotional and executive functioning needs.  His students have grown some very cool plants including this mammoth sunflower, which I capture one night while Stratoz was busy watering.

All proceeds from this event will support the 2010-11 Annual Fund.
This fund bridges the gap between tuition and fees and the actual cost of a
student’s education.

Stratoz and the Giant Sunflower
I am shorter than mammoths, says Stratoz. . .



The Pathway School’s Second Annual

Holiday Craft Bazaar

Saturday, November 13, 2010
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Student Activity and Learning Center @ The Pathway School
162 Egypt road
Norristown, PA 19403


Another wonderful plant from the students:

the side view of Moulin Rouge, a sunflower
the side view of Moulin Rouge, a sunflower


Nutmeg Designs Show Schedule

Over at Stratoz’s Blog:

Crafting on Thursdays–A Growing Collaboration

Windows That Open Doors: The Stained Glass Project by Germantown High School Students

The Stained Glass Project 1_group_shot_with_windows
The Stained Glass Project, Philadelphia

I had missed my train, and was walking around Philadelphia’s Suburban Station when the Mayor’s Farmers’ Market caught my eye, and on my way over, I saw a sign about “Windows that Open Doors: The Stained Glass Project” at the Love Park Welcome Center.

Unexpectedly, I had come upon an exhibition of 18 stained glass windows made by Germantown High School students, made in the Stained Glass Project of the After School Program of The First United Methodist Church of Germantown for children of Ngcolosi, South Africa.

What a pleasure to see the photos of these young people cutting glass, designing windows, soldering, and enjoying themselves and the craft!  And the windows were an oasis of Love in Love Park.  The exhibit is up until July 31, 2010 at 1599 JFK Boulevard, Fairmount Park Welcome Center at Love Park, Philadelphia, PA, 215-683-0246.  Go check it out!

Go to the Facebook Page for Germantown High School After School Stained Glass Program to see more photos, and also read more in the Broad Street Review’s Germantown’s Stained Glass Miracle.

The Other Half of Nutmeg Designs: Stratoz Stained Glass

Green Bush in a Burning Flame by Wayne Stratz

Every since I have known my husband, Wayne Stratz(Stratoz), he has made vibrant doodles with colored pencils.  He has kept himself awake through many a meeting with his energetic drawing.  As I started making glass mosaics, an idea that had been percolating started to boil up.  He envisioned his designs in glass, and after taking a class and making the requisite flower panel, he began creating panels and suncatchers in his own style.  We started doing shows together last year, and as someone commented once, it’s not so much the “other half” as the “other whole half.”  We both love glass, and our designs have affinity, just as we do for each other, a synergy of two creative visions.

Pencil Crayon Love: From Laurentians to Prismacolors

Gifts for Ordination: Feeding the Spirit

Galaxy Swirl Mandala by Margaret Almon.
Galaxy Swirl Mandala by Margaret Almon.

This Galaxy Swirl Mandala became a young pastor’s ordination gift, and she loved it, which makes my heart happy.  The mandala is a sacred circle, symbol of healing and wholeness, and has been used from ancient times in spiritual traditions around the globe. As I cut each piece of glass, I focus on incarnation of light that mosaics embody, a beautiful object for contemplation, embodying the spiral of our journey through life.

At one time, I considered becoming a minister.  I even attended Moravian Theological Seminary part-time for a couple of years.  I discovered that this was not my calling.  At the time, I was writing poetry, and much of my spiritual life was worked out in words.  As I slowly began to honor my attraction to visual art, I found making mosaics a practice that embodied prayer, and many people found spiritual connection in my mandalas.  My husband has a calling to art as well, with his stained glass, and he was commissioned by a friend to make a piece for an ordination in Rome. To be part of these milestones is an honor.

Stained Glass for an Ordination by Wayne Stratz.
Stained Glass for an Ordination by Wayne Stratz.

I like the idea of ordination gifts that speak to the spiritual aspect of a pastor or priest, because I know from the experience of my mother and stepfather, who are in ministry, that the administrative duties can seem overwhelming, and finding ways to reconnect to the heart and soul of ministry is an oasis.

Commission us!

Mosaic Improvisation

Drawer of Stained Glass from Tower of Tesserae. Photo by Margaret Almon.
Drawer of Stained Glass from Tower of Tesserae. Photo by Margaret Almon.

Tomorrow is my 17th wedding anniversary!  We are going to hear some jazz, and have a “big date.”  Sometimes I feel very improvisational when I am  in the studio working on a mosaic, in fact most of the time.  I usually open up a drawer in my Tower of Tesserae, and start pulling out the colors or textures that appeal to me.  Even if I have a basic quilt pattern in mind, or some other design, the choices happen on the fly, as I glue pieces down, and then see what can play off that, and so on.  Like jazz, I start with a standard tune, and then see where the glass takes me.  The first time I discovered that some mosaicists lay all the pieces out first on a table and then carefully reconstruct the work on the substrate, I was amazed!  I’m sure they would be similarly amazed at my method. . .

Wayne Stratz's Stained Glass Patterning
Wayne Stratz’s Stained Glass Patterning

Within my own house, I have my opposite!  My husband, Stratoz, often takes a meticulous planning route when designing his stained glass art.  This is necessary in order for his pieces to fit together properly, but is also probably due to his father being a draftsmen.  The soldering requires pieces to snug up against each other, to avoid gaps.  He certainly does get beautiful results.

Bear Paw Quilt in Glass by Wayne Stratz.
Bear Paw Quilt in Glass by Wayne Stratz.

What art should you like? What art should you make?

Bear Paw Quilt Stained Glass by Wayne Stratz.
Bear Paw Quilt Stained Glass by Wayne Stratz.

I’ve been contemplating the “shoulds” that keep recurring in my mind, careening about in arbitrariness. My husband’s love of his grandmother’s quilts led him to a desire to make his own quilts, and after surviving a class in which he was surrounded by calico, he began his elegant patchwork of batik and abstraction. He was mighty good at matching points and seams. His summer as an assistant to his father, a draftsman, aided in this. He finished the quilt top, and then it sat in a dresser drawer, because basting seemed tediously daunting.

This is where he lands in the limbo of what he should do–finish the quilt with a multitude of tiny stitches, slog through. Fortunately, the quilt top came up in conversation with a friend who loves quilting, who practically demanded to finish it, and a bartering deal was struck, whereby Wayne made a 99 piece stained glass panel inspired by a bear paw design quilt block in exchange for the finished quilt. He enjoyed making that stained glass. 99 pieces was a challenge, but not a duty.

I remember taking a drawing class in 2005, and loving it. Suddenly seeing the world, knowing that I carried the ability within me to interpret the world on paper. I didn’t have to research it, or carry anything but pen and paper. I wanted to draw everything. Drawing draws you close to your subject, an intimate way of seeing, noticing things that were invisible to you just seconds before. In the midst of this the “shoulds” butted in, and insisted I needed to be making collages, because I was good at making collages. This voice has seemingly infinite energy, a persistent whine. It simply wants to perpetuate itself. It’s not sophisticated enough to actually encourage creativity, but pretends that it is helping you. In a moment of courage, I decided to set collaging aside. It was scary. You can recognize the “should” voice because it quickly degenerates in doom, into dire visions of failure and worthlessness.

There is no reference manual that indicates exactly which are you should love, hang on your walls, or create. You are your own reference.