Mon and I had just returned from our European vacation when my former colleague and good friend from NBCC, Department Head Cathy Peppard, emailed me to ask if I could make something as a farewell gift for another fellow coworker of mine and longtime instructing partner in the Aquaculture Program, Rod Carney. Rod and I worked together for 17 years at NBCC and long before that in the aquaculture industry.
Of course, there was no saying “No”. I was honored and truly excited to be asked to make something for Rod. Time was the catch, however, as I only had 6 days to come up with a concept, design the pattern and produce the finished piece. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it in that time frame. Plus, this was the first stained glass project since breaking my wrist 10 weeks ago, so I was nervous about being out of “glass shape”. And I was working with brand new equipment received for my retirement (soldering iron and glass etcher) so there’s the unknown factor. All that, however, would not stop me.
Being aquaculturists (both Rod and I), I knew the concept would have to involve fish. I tossed around numerous ideas until I finally chose a colorful photo of a trout that looked like it would make a good subject matter. In the photo, someone (Rod) is holding the trout in their hands although the fingers and thumbs are not fully shown. So, I expanded the pattern to show more of the hands.
While working, I reminisced on my experiences over the years teaching with Rod. I recalled how I always trusted his judgement and how I admired his dedication to his work in the classroom and in the hatchery. I always knew that both the students AND the fish were safe in his care. So, I named this piece “In Rod’s Hands”… that felt appropriate.
Pattern created, copied and the copy cut into tracing pieces, my next task was to choose the glass. That meant a trip to Downey Stained Glass in Maugerville to consult with Brenda. We were able to find some beautiful Uroboros for the fish’s body, some colorful ripple glass for the fins, salmon pink for the hands and gray water glass for the background.
Back in the studio, the next four days were happily spent cutting, grinding, washing, foiling, soldering, washing again, and finally patina and polishing. The finished piece is 18″ x 14” and is the first original piece to be signed (lower right corner) with the new etcher tool. I really like it and am so pleased to be part of the surprise for Rod. Especially glad that I was able to deliver this in person in St. Andrews at a campus gathering, and present it to him myself.