Early Influences

As a child, I grew up in an area of Toronto where stained glass windows abounded in almost every home. For me, the robust light emanating through the red jewels, green, gold and blue textured glasses and clear bevels was as exotic as it gets. I imagined I could never afford to own rubies, emeralds and diamonds; our family was wealthy in health, friends and an abundance of relations but money was restricted to the necessities of life. But when I gazed at the light that filtered through the coloured glass then changed as the sun hid behind clouds only to resurface again with a bold display of rainbows dancing across the walls as it bounced through the prisms of bevelled glass, I knew I was rich. I might never own precious gemstones but I could possibly have stained glass.

When I was 25, I moved to Calgary Alberta with my husband (yes I did get my diamond ring). There I joyously attended my first class in stained glass. This was prior to the hobby movement that made stained glass as prolific as scrap booking is today. I was not particularly proficient at the required skills but passion outweighed my self doubts.

I realized that men have an easier time cutting glass and lead. Men work with wood; an expensive material. They are socialized to cut it right the first time. Women cook and sew: in these tasks you can always add more salt or broth, take in a seam or let it out. There was basically a different mindset that had to be overcome. My determination to succeed lead me to take course after course, studying at different studios to learn techniques that were coveted and not generally shared. As I became proficient I studied under some of the most well known glass artists of our time. I discovered that the better the artists the more generous they are with information. To this day, I still take courses. It is a wonderful way to energize the creative spirit and commune with like minded people.