Monday, June 29, 2009

Stars and Butterflies

An apprentice bends glass stringer over a small flame

Brilliantly colored pieces of glass glimmer in Glass Canopy’s dim studio, which is punctuated with the pinprick glows of the small tea candles they use to heat and bend thinner strips of glass, called stringer, which they layer over larger panel for details and more complicated effects.

Looking something like a beautiful laboratory, sketches of the designs the apprentices plan to create adorn the walls, featuring butterflies, a moon and sun, a mother and child, and other whimsical images. Two kilns open to reveal finished pieces as well as tests that show how certain combinations of glass look once they’ve been fired. Larger sheets of glass line the edges of the room, glowing with rich golds, blues, purples, and greens.

Glass Canopy is setting right to work. “There’s no time for practice,” says apprentice Lindsey Daniels as she works. “With only three weeks, we can’t, really.” Despite this, the apprentices are already creating art with what looks like practiced skill. Small glass stars are filling opaque skies, hearts popping up in the green leaves of a glass tree, and, just like that, a glass canopy for Ronald McDonald House is well underway.

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