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Butterfly in Orange Glass Alighting on Our Window

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.


Responding to the Bereaved: Of Butterflies and Hope

Butterfly in Glass by Wayne Stratz
Butterfly in Glass by Wayne Stratz, commissioned for parents who lost a child to cancer.

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.

How we met(Stratoz’s version): Meeting Mosaic Woman

Commission Stratoz

Y is For Youghiogheny Glass

47 166/365 This is not my studio floor
Youghiogheny Glass Factory Parking Lot. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Stratoz took a trip to visit a friend in Cleveland, and stopped at the Youghiogheny Glass Factory in Connellsville, PA,  on his way back.  He was greeted by this really cool parking lot of glass scraps!  He bought several sheets to bring home, and we’ve been enjoying the rich variegated colors and the dimension and beauty they bring to Stratoz’ stained glass and my mosaics.

47 169/365 Up close with Youghiogheny Glass
Up close with Youghiogheny Glass. Photo by Wayne Stratz.


Welcome Sign Mosaic in Warm Tones
Welcome Sign Mosaic in Warm Tones by Nutmeg Designs


47 215/365 went home with a friend
Blue Green Starflower by Wayne Stratz.

We are proud that Youghiogheny glass is from Pennsylvania!

U is For Uroboros Glass

Uroborosimages Uroboros Glass, founded in 1973 by glass artist Eric Lovell, is based in Portland, OR, and turns ordinary sand into extraordinary art.  Here is how Lovell describes the origin of the name Uroboros:

Uroboros is an alchemist's term often represented by a dragon symbolizing the cyclical Nature of the Universe. The uroboros has its tail in its mouth creating a circle of renewal or life everlasting. Our name honors the traditions and lore of medieval alchemists as they struggled to turn non-precious lead into precious gold. Today, we use non-precious sand to make some of the most precious hand-cast art glass available in the world.

I love using art glass in my mosaics, with the unusual textures and colors, never two sheets exactly the same, and traces of the creator, a kind of fingerprint.  Sometimes what might not work for Stratoz in his stained glass projects will look marvelous in mosaic and vice versa, and even within one sheet, there are enough variations to keep us always interested. 

Here's a cool video of the hand blown, hand rolled process of making art glass: