kiln-formed serving bowl

Now and future

Dec 3-21 1:00–4:00) Holly Days at the Endless Mountains Council of the Arts, 302 W. Tioga St, Tunkhannock PA

Dec 7-Jan 25 Afa Gallery Member Show, 524 Lackawanna Ave, Scranton PA. Opening reception Fri, Dec 7, 6-9 pm; regular hours Thursday through Saturday, noon to 5.
Ongoing: Bowls and More at B’s Floral Design, 131 Penn Ave, Scranton PA 18503.
Nov 24 (10:00-5:00) & 25 (10-3), 2018, Pocono Mountain Arts Council‘s Holiday Arts Festival at Skytop Lodge, Skytop PA.

Nov 26 (10-5) & Nov 27 (10-3) Holiday Arts Festival at Skytop Lodge, Skytop PA

Dec 3 (10-4), Dec 4-21 (1-4) EMCA Holiday Gallery, 302 Tioga, Tunkhannock PA

September-November, B’s Floral Design. Now showing: Elegant Bowls

Sun July 3 Art Under the Big Top, Blue Ridge Winery

Sat May 7 (10-5) & Sun May 8 (10-4:30) American Artisan Showcase, 4355 County Line Road, Chalfont PA 18914

May 2-June 24 “Influences and Inspirations” PMAC member show at Barrett-Paradise Friendly Library, Cresco PA. Awards reception on June 24, 6-9pm.

February 8 to May 26 “Living the Good Green Life,” Dunning Gallery, Keystone Hall, Northampton Community College Monroe Campus. Six regional arts groups juried their own artists for entries into this show. Our triptych, “Summer Trees, Days Gone By,” was chosen by the Pocono Mountain Arts Council.

Ongoing at B’s Floral Design, Scranton PA. Now showing “Red is for lovers” fused glass.

February 1 to March 31, “Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall” exhibition of our free-form border mirrors at the Logan Steele Community Center, Lake Naomi Club, Pocono Pines PA, together with paintings by Maria Ferris.

Saturday & Sunday, November 14 & 15 (10 am to 4 pm) Art On the Mountain, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, East Stroudsburg PA

Saturday, November 28 (10 am to 5 pm), Sunday, November 29 (10 am to 3 pm) Holiday Arts Festival, Skytop Lodge, Skytop PA

Saturday, July 11 (9:30-4:00) Festival of the Arts, Chateau Resort, Camelback Mountain (Tannersville PA).

June 22 – August 14th Pocono Arts Collage, Northamton Community College Monroe Campus, Keystone Hall, Dunning Gallery. Six regional arts groups came together for a show on this new “green” campus. Jay and I were both chosen to represent the Pocono Mountain Arts Council.

Ongoing at B’s Floral Design, Scranton PA. Now showing fused glass with an air of spring.


Saturday May 9 (10-5) & Sunday May 10 (10-4:30) American Artisan Showcase at Byers’ Choice Bucks County Workshop, Chalfont PA, a beautiful location where we’ll be among other fabulous work. Contact us for a discount admission card.

Saturday, December 6 through Sunday, December 21, showing fused glass dishes and stained glass panels during Holly Days at the EMCA Gallery, Tunkhannock PA. Opening weekend coincides with Tunkhannock’s Christmas in Our Hometown; Saturday & Sunday hours are 10 am to 5 pm. Regular hours are 1:00-5:00 on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday; 1:00-3:00 on Monday through Thursday. Call ahead (570.836.3622) to confirm or make other arrangements.

Friday, May 2–Saturday, May 24   Afa Member  Show at the Afa Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Avenue,  Scranton PA;  gallery hours Thur/Fri/Sat noon to 5 pm.
June 3 through June 28, 2014 Pocono Mountain Arts Council Member Show, Clymer Library, Pocono Pines PA
Saturday, August 2, 2014 (10 am to 4 pm) Lake Naomi Club Arts and Fine Crafts Show, Logan Steele Center, Pocono Pines PA

Saturday & Sunday, November 15 & 16 (10 am to 4 pm) Art On the Mountain, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, East Stroudsburg PA
Saturday, November 29 (10 am to 5 pm), Sunday, November 30 (10 am to 3 pm) Holiday Arts Festival, Skytop Lodge, Skytop PA

Detail of church narthex window

The shape of water and poetry

A few weeks ago Jay and I saw “The Shape of Water,” a movie by Guillermo del Toro which received this year’s Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture. This motion picture is truly shaped by water and abounds in imagery that evokes sensuality, danger, healing, and life.

Perhaps it’s because of the movie’s lingering effects that poems about water are capturing my imagination during this National Poetry Month. Or perhaps it’s just because late snows alternating with warm days have repeatedly flooded area ditches and filled our neighborhood with the sound of rippling, burbling, and whooshing.

Recently I noticed a display of poetry books at our public library and plucked Delights and Shadows from the rack. Written by Ted Kooser, who was Poet Laureate of the United States (2004-2006), Delights and Shadows won the 2005 Pulitzer Price for poetry. If you watch the video on Ted Kooser’s website, note that what might be taken for a shop name in the window of his studio says “Poetry Made and Repaired.” In Delights and Shadows (Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 2004), I was delighted by the metaphors Kooser uses to make poetry. No repairs are needed for this poem that turns an ordinary activity into enchantment.

A Washing of Hands by Ted Kooser

Country Estates bath installation
Flowing Waters

She turned on the tap and a silver braid
unraveled over her fingers.
She cupped them, weighing that tassel,
first in one hand and then the other,
then pinched through the threads as if searching for something, perhaps
an entangled cocklebur of water,
or the seed of a lake. A time or two
she took the tassel in both hands,
squeezed it into a knot, wrung out
the cold and the light, and then, at the end,
pulled down hard on it twice,
as if the water were a rope and she was
ringing a bell to call me, two bright rings,
though I was there.

If you like “A Washing of Hands” well enough to carry and share it on Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 26, you will still need something appropriate for April 23, the 454th birthday of William Shakespeare and this year’s “Talk Like Shakespeare Day.” Consider the following watery rhyme from The Tempest.

A Sea Dirge by William Shakespeare
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them, –Ding-dong, bell.

If that doesn’t ring your bell, you might want to find something different to celebrate the bard’s birthday. Did you know there are YouTube videos on how to talk like Shakespeare?!

Long before seeing “The Shape of Water” or reading Ted Kooser’s poetry, water was inspiring some of our stained glass designs. The top window is a detail from a 60-inch-wide window over the entry double doors of a church. The window reminds church-goers that submersion in the baptismal pool symbolizes both death (to sin) and birth (to new life). The other window, titled “Flowing Waters,” provides beauty and privacy for a bathroom.

Reflect on the imagery of the stained glass (click on the small image to enlarge it) and the poetry and then share: What is your favorite poem about water?

Close-up of numbering

Rhythm and bread

It has been almost a year since I’ve written in this space. It’s been more than a year since Jay and I have exhibited glass or even created any glass work. So, what was going on?

Beginning in the spring of 2016, Jay experienced pain that was diagnosed as sciatic neuritis. Over the course of a year, the pain sometimes abated temporarily but gradually worsened and became constant, to the point he could not enjoy studio work and definitely could not do the heavy lifting required for us to set up and take down a weekend arts exhibit. In June, 2017, Jay began a course of physical therapy and was just beginning to walk better and have less sciatic nerve pain when both of his hips suddenly began to complain out loud. Yes, really! His hip joints made grating noises that sounded like floorboards creaking! The medical term is “crepitus” or “crepitation,” but Jay called it his “rhythm section.” X-rays revealed the percussion sounds were caused by bone rubbing against bone, which is a painful way to make music. By the time his first hip replacement surgery date arrived a month later, Jay could hardly walk into the hospital. He received a second new hip nine weeks after the first. In the four months since then, physical therapy, home exercises, lots of rest, good nutrition, and a few weeks in a warm climate have worked wonders.

Adding pattern numbers
Jay labeling cartoon
Jay has been building up time in the glass studio for a few weeks now. Last summer he had just created the “cartoon” (the full-size drawing) for a pair of stained glass windows I designed, when his orthopedic problems made it impossible to continue. (I didn’t try to pick up where he left off as I’d stopped cutting glass, for the most part, years ago. Besides, I was busy taking care of the house, gardens, and a disabled husband.) Now that Jay is back in the studio, he has labeled the cartoon with pattern numbers and glass colors, and cut out the paper pattern pieces for both glass panels. If Jay’s studio rhythm continues, we hope there will be much more progress to report in another month.

One way Jay was able to stay creative during the first months of healing was through baking. Making dough and shaping loaves was therapeutic and we marked recovery progress by how much he could do without my assistance. At first I hefted the mixer up onto the counter, brought bags of flour to the kitchen when the canister was empty, and helped transfer the raised loaves into the oven. Within two weeks, Jay could do all but lift the mixer, and it wasn’t long before he managed that, too. Before Christmas he was strong enough to spend a marathon week baking gift loaves for our neighbors and service people.

Bread on "Colors of Morocco" plate
Seeded Whole Wheat Bread
Last month Jay experimented to create a seedy loaf akin to rolls we’d eaten during our winter sojourn. After tweaking his recipe over a couple weeks, we were both satisfied that the results were close to the rolls, or at least to our memory of their appearance and taste. Doesn’t the loaf look good on that “Colors of Morocco” fused glass coupe plate? Warm from the oven with or without butter, it is scrumptious! The bread tasted good with hummus, alongside tomato or squash soup, and toasted and spread with jam. This bread is also nutritiously packed with whole grains and seeds.

Jay is back to the rhythm of baking almost every week. Although he sets a timer for each stage, he can’t hear it downstairs in the studio, but knows when to come up and check the dough. Jay makes two loaves that come out of the oven in time for us to cut into one for lunch. After a couple more studio hours and bread cooling, he bags the second loaf for the freezer. Having two or three loaves in the freezer gives us a choice: What will be good with today’s soup or sandwich?

If you enjoy the rhythms of mixing or kneading dough, try Jay’s recipe for yourself. Let us know how your loaves turn out, any adaptations you made in the recipe, and what you ate with your seeded bread. We’d love to hear from other bakers, so please come back and share a comment, below.

Seeded Whole Wheat Bread
1 3/4 Cups warm water
2 tsp yeast
1 C whole wheat flour
3 C high gluten flour
1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp honey (or sugar)
1/3 C pepitas, toasted
1/3 C sunflower seeds, toasted
1/4 C flax seeds
1/3 C 10-grain cereal
1/8 C pepitas for topping

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix in flours, vital wheat gluten, oil, salt, and honey or sugar. Add seeds and cereal and work by machine or by hand until you can form a smooth dough ball. Oil the mixing bowl containing the dough; cover and let rise until dough has doubled in size. Punch down dough, remove from bowl, and shape into two loaves. Cover and let rise until doubled. Brush water on surface of loaves and press pepitas into the top. Bake about 30-35 minutes on a baking stone in preheated 350-degree oven.

Three-layer stained glass

Poetry springs forth

Although spring has sprung and northeastern Pennsylvania is beautiful with new life, the season is not yet in full bloom. We have more to anticipate. However we have already begun National Poetry Month, celebrated every April because poetry enriches our personal lives and culture. We have the Academy of American Poets to thank for inspiring us to intentionally read and write poetry this month, share poems with others, and honor poets who have left us their legacy and poets who walk among us.

Gerard Manley Hopkins’ legacy was not appreciated at the time of his death. Now we know his rhythm and imagery are masterful. One-hundred and twenty years ago, Hopkins wrote a sonnet to spring.

Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Stained glass pentaptych
Variations on an Anemone

Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

[The Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins (Hertfordshire, England: Wordsworth Editions Ltd, 1994)]

David Budbill still walks among New Englanders and is a poet from whom Garrison Keillor often reads on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac. I found this poem of deep meaning and sweet humor in Keillor’s Good Poems (New York City: Viking, 2002).

The First Green of Spring by David Budbill

Abstract design stained glass panel
Now the Green Blade Rises

Out walking in the swamp picking cowslip, marsh marigold,
this sweet first green of spring. Now sauteed in a pan melting
to a deeper green than ever they were alive, this green, this life,

harbinger of things to come. Now we sit at the table munching
on this message from the dawn which says we and the world
are alive again today, and this is the world’s birthday. And

even though we know we are growing old, we are dying, we
will never be young again, we also know we’re still right here
now, today, and my oh my! don’t these greens taste good.

[from Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse, copyright 1999 by David Budbill]

Could we get through life without humor? without poetry? without beauty? Speaking of beauty, regarding the glass pictured on this page: The image at the top of the post is of “Tree Lines,” three panels which can be viewed side-by-side or, as here, through one another. Its spring-tint pastel colors create more colors as the viewer looks from different angles. The next image shows the center panels of “Variations on an Anemone,” a pentaptych named for a spring-blooming flower. It consists in five panels with identical lead lines but with colors (four hues of German mouth-blown glass) abstracted across the five panels. “Now the Green Blade Rises” took its title from an old hymn sung to the tune of a French carol. The verses are an Easter poem of faith, hope, and love.

Now the Green Blade Rises by John MacLeod Campbell
(Oxford Book of Carols, 1928)

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love Whom we had slain,
Thinking that He’d never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Up He sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Up from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

It’s time to look out the window or walk out the door into spring. Remember to carry a poem in your pocket, especially on April 27, this year’s Poem In Your Pocket Day.

Stained glass quilt block

Love in glass

Glass is romantic for some people. While glass is cool and hard to the touch, don’t forget that it was born in fire. There is passion in glass! Not only do our glass creations express our own love of the medium, but often we’ve been called upon to create something to express romantic love. Over the years we have made a number of gifts for lovers, usually wedding gifts but also custom orders to commemorate wedding anniversaries. Whereas in recent years gifts tend to be fused glass bowls and platters, not that long ago we were making stained glass windows and autonomous panels to celebrate love.

St Valentine, a third-century Roman martyr who has come to symbolize love, never saw a stained glass window. One of the oldest known examples of a window made by fitting together multiple pieces of colored glass dates to an English monastery founded in 686 AD, hundreds of years after Valentine died. Never-the-less, in honor of Valentine’s Day this week, the pre-eminent holiday for lovers, I will recall a few of stained glass creations made in honor of love.

Johnson Golden Anniversary panel
Roy and Lillie: 50 Years
About thirty-five years ago, the family of Lillie and Roy Johnson commissioned us to create a stained glass panel for the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary. The children and their spouses wanted the panel to represent specific aspects of their parents’ life of love. Imagery in the glass design denotes the couple’s Norwegian ancestry, Lutheran faith, and farm life. A golden sun and linked wedding bands signify their long-lasting marriage. Made of mouth-blown German glass, the leaded panel was ready when Lillie and Roy celebrated their anniversary with children and grandchildren on June 15, 1982.

A stained glass window design can symbolize the daring promises of love in more subtle ways than overt symbols. More than twenty years after designing and creating the golden anniversary window, Jay and I gained the opportunity to create a set of wedding anniversary windows using a very different style of design. My preferred design style is to create lead lines depicting something from nature, and to color the design abstractly.

Left panel, stained glass window pair
Blessed Are They (left)
Right panel, stained glass window pair
Blessed Are They (right)
A couple commemorated their own thirty-fifth wedding anniversary by commissioning us to create a pair of stained glass windows for their dining room. Orchids are one of the flowers symbolizing love and so the dramatic flowers of cattleya orchids became the motif for my abstract design. Not only the gorgeous cattleya blossom but also its rhizomes, roots, and fleshy leaves make excellent design elements. While cattleya orchids are available in colors across the spectrum, I selected glass hues not from real flowers but to coordinate with our clients’ room. The colors flow across the outlined orchid elements without regard for color realism.

This wedding anniversary set of windows is named for a line in the poem “The Flower of Love” by Jessica Powers.
Blessed are they who stand upon their vow
and are insistent
that love in this bleak here, this barren now
become existent.

Mouth-blown stained glass panel
Rhapsody In Brown
Like poetry, beautiful glass can express the beauty of love. Mouth-blown glass is intrinsically beautiful and the most beautiful of “antique” glasses are streaky and reamy glasses. Streaky glass contains two or more hues swirled together. Reamy glass has prominent internal texture with large bubbles floating in what seem to be glass currents. Streaky reamy glass can be ravishingly beautiful. Many years ago I created a small panel featuring Hartley Wood streaky reamy glass in combination with other mouth-blown glass. The design and palette were both simple, all the better to let the glass shine. “Rhapsody in Brown” was a wedding gift.

Abstract design stained glass panel
Wedding Bells
Abstract design stained glass panel
Forever and Ever
Lovely effects can also be achieved by combining hand-rolled opalescent glass with mouth-blown glass, as shown in these two additional examples of wedding gift panels. Transparency contrasts with opacity, the same hues playing with light in different ways. Just as complimentary and contrasting color and texture produce dynamism in works of art, complimentary personal qualities, not necessarily identical traits, contribute to a healthy love relationship. Playfulness is another important element of enduring love.

Stained glass quilt block
True Lovers Knot (Blue/Green)
Iridescent glass quilt block
True Lover’s Knot (Clears)
Stained glass quilt block
True Lovers Knot (Burgundy and Blue)
In the early 2000s, we made several wedding gifts based on a quilt block design, “True Lovers Knot.” I had found the design in Quilt Patterns: Patchwork and Applique (St Louis, MO: Ladies Art Company, 1928), from which my aunt Amelia Otting had selected patterns for her many patchwork quilts. I don’t recall if Melie, as we called her, ever used “True Lover’s Knot,” which is similar to “Bowtie” but repeated four times in a smaller block. I selected it because the pattern’s name is appropriate for a wedding gift and the layout is easy to translate into glass. It was also fun to try new combinations of colors and/or glass textures to play off one another every time we fabricated a window.

Bride's Gift
At the Peak
One wedding gift stands out because it was commissioned by a bride-to-be. She showed us a photo she had taken of her fiance while they were hiking in mountains in the United States’ southwest and asked us to use it as the basis for a stained glass panel. We proposed an abstract rendition of the photo as a about 1 foot square, an idea she liked and which fit her budget. To fabricate the panel, Jay used a combination of opalescent glass (such as rich brown for the rocks) and mouth-blown glass (as in the sky). The simple design reminds the couple of their young love and engagement period “peak” experience, and it promises to someday convey the story of their love to their children and grandchildren.

Having recalled these love stories, I feel romantic. Time to find the man I love and with whom I share a love of glass artistry.