Friday, February 15, 2008
Just the other day, a married couple called to talk about the windows that had just been installed in their home. The husband said some very nice things about the sidelight and door inserts and was about to comment on the other panels, which went in their living room, when his wife took the phone away from him. She explained to Jeanne that she had to talk to her because he just wasn’t being enthusiastic enough in his praise of the beauty of the windows! Then she began to try to describe how marvelous the windows were and how pleased they were. She tried to express how happy they were with them and what a difference they make in the look of the home. She just couldn’t say enough to describe how incredible the windows were!
We knew exactly what she meant! When we delivered the panels to their home, as we were leaving, ½ of the windows had been installed and the craftsmen who had built their woodwork were preparing to complete the install of the other panels. Jeanne and I talked about how the stained glass that goes in a home really is the jewelry that adorns it!
When you get dressed up to go to the theatre or to a dance or any formal affair, no woman would think to go out without wearing her makeup and jewelry! Yet we sometimes see homeowners who don’t realize that something is missing until they have added the finishing touch of stained glass to their home.
By contrast to that joyful experience, we worked recently on a home built by a builder that we’ve done quite a bit of work with in the past. The floor plan of the home was one that was similar to several other homes we’ve installed stained glass in previously. But this homeowner was very budget conscious and didn’t want to spend too much on the completed home. So they had opted to get the most plain design we offer in two of their transom windows and have clear glass placed in all of the rest of the transoms in the house.
What hurt us as glass artists was not that we weren’t doing the same volume of work in the home that we normally would, but that these homeowners would not see the opportunity to really make their home something special. They were going to miss out on the joy that those first homeowners have experienced, the chance to really have some elements that they could enthusiastically jump up and down over, that would bring a smile to their hearts and lift their spirits every day that they live in the home!
I called the builder and encouraged him to talk to them and at least convince them to allow us to cut “seeded” glass for the transoms that weren’t going to get the simple art glass panels. They would then at least have a little more visual interest. They would have a “hint” of the stained glass possibility. And upon hearing that the cost of the seeded glass was only about $15 more than what clear glass would have been, they agreed that seeded glass would be a good choice.
That was actually a relief to us! We aren’t stained glass snobs. We do appreciate a good clear glass window that allows a view to be shown. We don’t feel that every single window in a home needs to be filled with art. And yet, there are times when the possibility of what could be just screams out at us so loudly that we KNOW that there should be glass there! And all we can do as responsible advisors is to try to convey the vision of what could be, of the possibility, of the opportunity to create something special. Those who have lived with stained glass understand what we’re talking about because they’ve experienced the joy that simple sunlight can bring. They know what it’s like to see sunlight come streaming through an inspirational panel of glass as they’ve eaten their morning bowl of cereal and contemplated the positive joy of life. They’ve experienced how the sunlight can be refracted on a sunny afternoon with playful rainbows cast from beveled glass pieces running up the wall and then the ceiling. And they may have even seen how a stained glass window seems to glow with positive energy on an overcast day, a beacon and a magnet, gathering up the available light and magnifying it, casting it into the heart of the viewer. A magnificent ray of hope!
Somehow, this is our job, to teach people of the endless possibilities that stained glass represents. If you’re reading this article, you probably already understand, that’s why you’ve found it. Those who have lived with it get it. The transcendent inspiration that comes from sunlight passing through glass can be so awe inspiring, no wonder it found it’s way into churches in the 14th and 15th centuries. No wonder those who have it are so fiercely happy about it and find it hard to even describe the emotions that come from living with it. Stained glass is simply beautiful, it makes a difference!