By Wayne Stratz, my partner in crafting.
By Wayne Stratz, my partner in crafting.
The stained glass half of Nutmeg Designs, Wayne Stratz, will be offering his work for sale at the Pathway School’s First Annual Craft Show on December 12th. We’ve done shows together and I’ve done them solo, but this is Stratoz’s first time with a booth full of stained glass! Come check out all the cool new work he’s done lately in his home studio, and for sale at his very own workplace, where he runs the Pathway School horticulture program, and proceeds from the craft show will go to support his program among others.
Pathway School Craft Show
December 12, 2009, 10am-4pm
The Pathway School
162 Egypt Rd
Norristown, PA 19403
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. I’ve created a new Stained Glass by Stratoz photo album with examples of his work, and he has his own shop now: Stratozpheres Etsy
I started reading Ray Watkinson’s book on William Morris as designer, and discovered that of the many crafts he participated in with his firm, one was stained glass. Morris emphasized the mosaic- like patterning in glass, with bold lead lines, and wanted to take advantage of the transparency of glass to make colors brilliant.
This stained glass window at All Saints Church in Middleton Cheney, Northamptonshire UK, of Christ in the carpenter’s shop, suddenly made me think of Christ as craftsmen, maker of things with his hands. I’m really taken with this image, and the idea of creativity as part of spiritual life.
I found Morris’ desire to find pleasure in work to be very appealing. I like to think that those who were employed in his workshop enjoyed what their craft. Morris was a renaissance craftsmen, becoming a master of embroidery, weaving tapestry, designing wallpaper, and writing and designing books. Check out this cool sampling of Morris crafts at Art Passions.
I was curious if Morris had anything to say about mosaics, and found this quote from his book, Hopes and Fears for Art:
You may hang your walls with tapestry instead of whitewash or paper; or
you may cover them with mosaic; or have them frescoed by a great
painter: all this is not luxury, if it be done for beauty’s sake, and
not for show: it does not break our golden rule:
Have nothing in your
houses which you do not know to be useful
or believe to be beautiful.
I’d read that ending quote before, but didn’t know the context. Actually, Morris had his golden rule in all caps! This is a challenging idea, that tapestry or mosaic is not a luxury, if done for beauty’s sake. I was at the Lansdale Arts Day, and talked with an artist friend about the thrill of someone buying a piece of art because it speaks to them. I believe beauty is a need, a nourishment for the soul.
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. . .
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.