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Water Lillies

Water Lilies(1) was a scientific experiment(2). I wanted to see if I could make a living, support my children and myself, in somewhat the manner to which we were accustomed, by producing stain glass windows.

I believe in exploring options.

After taking two classes out of eight at the local Community Centre, having learned the basics of the copper-foil-stain-glass-method; I felt I would be better off foraging ahead by myself at home. At the class there was a Gay Couple, an Elderly Couple, the Teacher and myself. Everyone was very nice and I received more than enough individual attention to feel quite confident the rest of the classes would not be required for the sake of the experiment.

Over several weeks I ventured out and bought glass and carried sheets home on the bus. I didn't own a car(3) and stained glass is not found at the local grocery store. I'd clink across town clutching my bundle, fearful one of my children would leap into my lap and crunch the whole lot.

I then took a week off work and spent eight hours a day putting together creations. Aware at the outset, with so little practice behind me, that the results would be less than perfect, I was undaunted knowing the experiment did not require initial perfection.

It was a time cost analysis.

I started out by making smaller pieces, most of which I've since given away. Water Lilies was the first big piece I made. I did Water Lilies because I like the colours red & green & blue and they were stacked in a Cheap Bin (!) at the stained glass store. I was mesmerised by the textures & colours of the different glass and delighted when the clerk would slip me a small piece of the really good stuff. "Thank You!"

It wasn't until I got what I thought was enough glass home that I did the patterns. Drawing sketches and then enlarging them; all designed to accommodate the colours of the glass I'd managed to get.

I'd bundle my kids off to school and work until they came home & then work again after they'd gone to bed. Some days I put in more than eight hours. There were tiny shards of glass & strips of backing paper from the copper foil, strange chemicals & a soldering iron lying about our townhouse. The children were forever getting me to tweezer their feet. My own feet and hands & wrists and cheeks were criss-crossed with cuts & tiny owies.

In the end I had three large pieces & several small ones and the knowledge that no matter how skilful I became it would be impossible for me to provide for my two children & myself within a reasonable time period by making stained glass windows.

The math was simple.

I did however end up with something that in the small quarters of Dowager never becomes boring, overwhelming or unseen.

I understand that makes the experiment a success!


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(1) I was working on this knitting project. Except I bumped into a hitch...my arthritis got really bad. I was defeated just as I reached the infinity of space. I've considered my options. I'm reasonably sure I'll be able to finish my project(4) but for now I'm on hiatus(5) from knitting, so I'll have to deal with hooks.

(2) Conducted circa 1990.

(3) Joke: "Cars are like men. They break down when you need them the most".

(4) See/Art Therapy/ThemING

(5) May 2004 - July 2005(6)

(6) I tried in October 2004. It did not go well. I did finish the project(4) but it took me awhile to become satisfied(7). Then I got a new job where I got lots of exercise. My Doctor said get lots of exercise but if it doesn't feel good, don't do "it". (Note: That's why they call it practicing medicine.) Then I got another job February 2005, then I went back to the first job, then I went nuts & then I started knitting again in July 2005.(8)

(7) ThemING became a large pillow cover!

(8) See ThEMiNg III The Scarf



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