My recent passion for stain glass art started on a very uneventful day in a rather humble manner. Not having too much to keep me occupied indoors at the time of lockdown in Bangalore, I decided to unpack my suitcase and check out the paraphernalia accumulated as part of my shopping expeditions from my last trip. I chanced upon a stain glass butterfly coloring book which claimed to produce stain glass effect even with ordinary pencils. I was so excited with the possibility of creating an effect as seen in the movie Bangalore Days that I opened it and started coloring on the pages forgetting that it was supposed to be a gift to one of the kids I know. Sorry kiddo, neither did you end up with your gift, nor did I end up with what I wanted out of that book. I ended up with some brightly colored sheets alright, but I do not know what I did wrong, they seemed too opaque to let any ray of light pass through them and no way would the sun rays leave any reflection of them on my floor. Sigh, I should not have meddled with others’ gifts, especially that of little children I am very fond of.
The good thing though is, these supposed stain glass butterflies triggered in me the need to create the actual stain glass ones which called for a lot more work than just coloring on pre-designed sheets. Despite the virus lurking invisibly, yet dangerously outside, I decided to still go and buy the stuff I needed for my stain glass butterflies. Here are the things I first started with to make the butterflies;
- 4 OHP Sheets
- 1 packet of Fevicryl Stain Glass Colors which has 10 colors and a liner
- 2 sheets of Carbon paper
- One each of Pencil, Sharpener and Eraser
- 2 stray sheets (read back of invoices) that lay around
Before we move ahead, let me come out clean on my artistic abilities. I have tried my hand at many a drawing class disappointing way too many great artist trainers along the way. The stuff that could be passable for artwork that could be seen on my Insta and FB Pages are those that are built on forgivable modes, like clay (which only requires pressing here, rolling there, sticking them together etc. to get a decent output), cloth (which looks beautiful with some simple embroidery designs that only requires some form of symmetry and some comfort with needles) and now these OHP sheets for stain glass works (which you will soon come to realize is the most forgivable of all art forms I have ever tried my hand on). Given my lack of passion for art forms which are even remotely difficult, I decided to take short cuts in this one. One such shortcut is using OHP sheets instead of drawing directly on the glass, for I did not want to make permanent my pretention of being an artist and I was all the more scared of the mess I would have to clean up given maids were not allowed then. Even on OHP sheets, it’s quite overwhelming to draw on directly through the liner / 3d pen. Getting the drawing on a sheet first is the way to go which can then be placed under the OHP sheets for replicating the design. To make my life easier I used carbon paper to ensure the butterflies were symmetrical.
Now the sunlight did leave reflections of those butterflies on my floor and I was happy about finally having some colors on the otherwise barren floor. But then, when there was no art adorning it, my window looked ok, but with one row of butterflies, my window suddenly started to look very empty.
So I decided to fill up the bottom with some grass and flowers, taking inspiration from one of the wallpapers designs on Amazon, so that the butterflies do not look too out of place. The second picture on this slideshow would highlight how forgiving this art form really is. One doesn’t have to look closely to spot the air bubbles everywhere and the colors blending into each other along the borders. Nevertheless, when stuck on the window, the flaws cease to be as bothersome!
While in the process of filling up greens, yellows and browns for the grasses, I used them all up and I had to go out again for another set of colors. Praying to all my favorite Gods, and armed with gloves and mask, I tentatively stepped out to buy more OHP sheets and colors. With new colors I completed my work and Ta-da here is my window now, reflecting sunlight just the way I wanted.
My neighbor suggested filling up the top portion of the window with blue sky and white puffy clouds with tiny birds flying on the sky. Birds! Yes, that is what I decided I would do. In between calls and deliverables, I was seen googling for drawings of birds on twigs (thank God for the virtual work mode!) and a week later I had some ideas to fill up the top portion of the window. Below screenshot would show couple of the WIP birdies;
While I was busy including fancy birds like hummingbirds, gloriously colorful pigeons and other birds that could only be seen in fictitious lands, I decided to take inspiration from my outdoors with some yellow butterflies. As I was in the process of converting my window into a canvas, slowly but surely the window was coming alive with every inch getting filled with some form of nature. And then when I took a step back to examine my work, I was greeted with warm colors of nature, making me very proud of finishing something that I started and learning and getting more creative along the way. What more, every time I pass by the window whenever the Sun God is out and about I am greeted with a carpet of golden light studded with precious colors as seen in the second image in the below slideshow.
It did not stop here, for the learning has just begun. This creativity could be expanded to other mediums like empty glass bottles, body mist containers, whisky bottles and anything that could be a medium for light! Although, I have not explored them all, I am sharing pictures of some of my explorations.
I can’t believe it took a pandemic and the restrictions that ensued for my eyes to open to other beautiful things in this world that I was once blind to. However, I am glad I had discovered a creative way to deal with the stressors I personally was subject to during this pandemic time. My window and the fairy light glass bottles would continue to serve as a reminder of these times and the way I dealt with them, proving to me that when everything else fails, art would always come to rescue in some way or the other!