Cardinals in American Redbud

In the spring of 2017 on our trip to the US, Monica and I saw many flowering shrubs that we do not have here in Saint John. One was the American Redbud tree with its beautiful slender branches fully encircled with pink/purple blossoms. A really elegant and colorful shrub that blooms in spring.

No sooner were we home from our trip when I received an email from our friend, Tom Burian of Mississauga, husband of Monica’s niece, Sandra Jackson (Marguerite’s daughter). Tom was seeking a birthday gift for Sandra and thought something in stained glass might be nice. When asked, Tom already had subject matter in mind… cardinals! Ironically, they have an American Redbud tree on their property and enjoy seeing the cardinals in it each spring when it blooms.

So, with that as the subject, I set out creating a pattern with a pair of cardinals (male and female) sitting together on a branch of the Redbud tree. I found a cardinal pattern that I liked for sale online and Monica ordered it for me. I had it within a week. Next I drew the tree branches around the birds and sized the picture to 14″ x 18″ including a 1.5″ border. For the glass selections; red streaky Spectrum for the male, light amber and orange streaky Spectrum for the female, and a beautiful pink/ purple Urobos for the flowers. The background was made from a clear leaf-textured glass to give a perception of depth to the composition. The border was made from 1.5″x 4″ clear bevels.

Once the panel was completed and packaged in Styrofoam and cardboard, Monica and I sent it off to Ontario via Purolator completely happy that it was finished on time for Sandra’s birthday. It arrived 2 days later as promised but with two small cracks in the background glass. Poor Tom! His birthday surprise for Sandra was now somewhat of a disappointment. Nevertheless, during our discussion on how to go about repairing the damage, he said the most appreciated thing to me… “Every great work of art has a story… now we have a story”. That really lifted my spirits.

Marguerite offered to bring the panel back to NB on her summer vacation trip. After examining it, I decided to replace rather than repair. Thanks to Marg and Gary, the panel made its way back to Tom and Sandra without any problems. I am very honored that Tom included me in Sandra’s birthday surprise and especially thankful for their patience.

Overall, this project was a delightful challenge technically in precise grinding and fitting. The artistic challenge was in guessing at shrub morphology because we do not Redbud trees in Saint John. I still have the original panel with plans to refurbish it in the future. I’m OK with that because Monica and I do love to see the Cardinals.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s