Living with stained glass in our windows gives us an ever-changing view. As the angle of the sun changes with the hours of the day and with the seasons, the windows change, too. Colors are stronger at some times, softer at other times. A setting sun might highlight some properties within the glass and give it an ethereal quality.
The stained glass also influences how we view the outside world. We see things differently through varied sections of glass, altered by color and influenced by suggestive lead lines. Last Thursday during the only hour of sunshine we’ve had in eight days now (due to “a stubborn layer of stale air” according to meteorologist Tom Clark), I was admiring snow-covered scenes outside our house. Then I began looking at those same scenes through stained glass panels hanging in some of our east windows and through stained glass installed on the west side of the house. Quickly I fetched the camera to record what I was seeing.
Lots of windows along the east side of the house overlook woods which slope down into a little valley. We’ve hung stained glass panels in some of those windows. I took several photos through two stained glass panels that are part of a set of six called “Flight.” Wooded hills extending beyond were white with snow as I photographed. The photo to the upper right spans the two panels. You can see different perspectives of the woods: natural in the middle (between panels), and altered by blue glass and lead lines on either side. Despite the cold and stillness outdoors, feel the energy in the intersecting lines and the detail in the upper right corner. After seeing the photo and cropping it, I went back to the glass wondering exactly what I had caught.
In the winter we can see the twin peaks of Elk Mountain, a popular ski mountain about eighteen miles to the northeast. Thursday morning I noticed how a particular lead line in Flight panel #1 mimics a mountain peak. A curvy strip of Youghioghenny ripple stipple glass has little peaks and valleys that usually make me think of rippled water (the company even codes it “Water Light SP”) but now remind me of the Endless Mountains here in northeast Pennsylvania.
A swath of confetti glass in Flight panel #2 certainly changes the view. Most obvious is the difference in transparency between the Bullseye confetti glass (pale blue with pink streaks and green and blue chips) and the German mouth-blown glass. Notice not only the differing effects rendered by the colors of the green and pale blue mouth-blown glasses, but also the effect of the seeds (small bubbles, particularly in the blue glass) and striations (most visible in the green glass).
In the same room, facing the same east-northeast direction, there’s a sliding glass door where we have hung a panel that’s a little smaller than 2′ by 3′. The panel features hand-made opalescent glass in the center, set off against a circular area of Fischer mouth-blown glass. My camera zeroed in on an area of mouth-blown glass that picks up the curve of the hills beyond. Had I noticed that before? I don’t think so.
Cloudy days are more prevalent than sunny ones here in the north-central Appalachians. Even when the sun is hiding and trees are bare, stained glass colors our world.