Monday, March 19, 2007

Stained Glass

Above: Me, as a teenager, with my younger brother Nathan.

When I was nineteen years old I really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, no goals or a career path, a typical nineteen year old. I was three years into a relationship and my partner at the time kept pushing me to find a hobby or a skill that I liked. At the time I was really annoyed that he was pushing me to do something other than watch MTV. So I tried a variety of different things from sports, to painting, to carpentry but none of those were interesting to me at all. One hobby that I tried was stained glass, and I found I had a great natural skill working with it. My first project was ambitious and it was a Tiffany Style lamp. It turned out beautiful and I still have the lamp today!

Above: Not the best picture of my lamp, it's in storage, but you get the jist.

My stained glass passion and skills led to me making many more projects and eventually the stained glass work was incorporated in the antique store I owned in the mid to late 90's. I used to do custom designed pieces for people; most of my clients were in New York. When I left my hometown in 2000, I left my portfolio of work behind, all my patterns, tools and glass. In 2001, I worked for a small stained glass design studio called Anderson Stained Glass in 2001. I learned how to work in lead and acquired a vast amount of knowledge and improved my skills in stained glass. Since 2001, I have not worked or designed anything pertaining to stained glass but my passion for it has always been in my mind. I was going to work with Paul's mom, Ruth and our friend Jody back in Cambridge since they are both also stained glass artists but I moved to San Francisco.

Above: "Cradle of the Sun," a great little stained glass shop across from where we live.

Moving to San Francisco opened up a ton of doors for Paul and I and one of the doors that really is wide open and hitting me in the face is stained glass. Our apartment is right across the street from a huge stained glass store! For those that don’t know much about stained glass, stained glass stores are very rare and usually few and far between. So this was a sign that I needed to start working in stained glass again.

Above: My stained glass workshop!

I purchased all the tools, an old table and a great wire saw, and I set up a workstation on our large patio deck. The workshop is all set up and complete and I have started my first project. My first project is related to another passion of mine, Joan Crawford. I know,I know, you are all rolling your eyes but this window is going to be beautiful and one of a kind. Check out the pattern I drew, you can see the window in progress! The pattern is Joan Crawford from her 1932 movie, "Letty Lynton," one of her most popular looks. I am hoping to have the window complete by April 1st. Wish me luck!

Above: The pattern for the stained glass window
I am working on.


Patrick said...

Well, you've been talking about getting back into Stained Glass the past couple of years since I met you, so this store across the street is definately a sign for you to do so! I look forward to seeing your new work. You are so creative!

Menky said...

Thanks Patrick! I am excited to finish it.:-)

Alexander Starsmore said...

You never cease to amaze me Mr. Neil. First off who knew that such a cute little geek would transform into a San Francisco hottie! Second - i'm happy you saw the store as a sign and are following your passion - too many of us find ways to ignore such things. Bravo!

Menky said...

Thank you for the nice compilment! :-)