Autumn Arbor

Monica’s childhood friend and fellow high school graduate to us both and wonderful friend ever since, Ellen Morris commissioned a panel for her kitchen window that looks out onto the backyard gardens. Not just any gardens… Ellen and her husband, Greg, have created an oasis in their urban subdivision. It features a large shady deck under a grape-draped pergola all surrounded by vegetable and perennial border gardens. This is their sanctuary… a place to enjoy the afternoon sun and watch the butterflies and dragonflies dance to nature’s rhythm. Ellen wanted to capture this tranquillity in her panel and I was excited to accept the challenge.

Sized at 34″ x 11″ to hang as a transom panel across the top of the window, the approved pattern has 680 pieces. Several concept sketches were helpful as studies in the window’s light dynamics. The lattice feature was added to deal with a predicted daytime shadow cast by the window’s center casement.

One of my favorite steps in creating a piece is the selection of the glass. This project called for a variety of colors which makes for interesting and engaged planning. The artistic challenge was whether to use cathedral glass (transparent) or opalescent glass (not transparent). I went mostly with opalescent so the panel would show at night with the kitchen lights on (cathedral glass won’t do that). I did, however, leave the background sky parts clear so they would impart depth in the daytime.

It took three weeks including pattern development and prep (680 little pieces of paper sorted into 16 little envelopes). The entire project was an intense trek in small piece work and tight curves. There were moments of fatigue and self-doubt all through which Monica was my physical and spiritual nurse.

In the end it turned out beautifully. The colors are expressive and the composition has that “lots to see “quality. Monica and I delivered it in late October. The sun was shining brightly that day and so was Ellen’s smile when she saw her panel. I was delighted! Whenever I look at these photos in the future, I’m going to imagine Ellen and Greg sitting under their pergola, enjoying the moment.

I am pleased to present Autumn Arbor.


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