I received a wonderful commission in the fall of ’22 from Carrie Stevenson who lives at 5 Alexandra Street in Saint John North (off Douglas Avenue). Carrie and her husband, Jon, bought this 1910 heritage house with the intent of restoring it to its former glory. I would say it fell into the right hands. Carrie is a diciple and champion of the heritage/restoration code of ethics and is active and dedicated to heritage preservation and restoration in Saint John. Just look at some of her efforts.
The predominant artistic movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were Art Deco and Art Nouveau. Carrie has a keen eye for vintage decor including stained glass. One of her favorite motifs is the art deco rose designed by Scottish artist, Charlie Rennie Mackintosh. This man had a tremendous impact on the Art Deco movement.
I was in awe as Carrie lead me through her house past an original Murray & Gregory stained glass window in the stairwell. The huge west window has Charlie Mackintosh-inspired art deco roses in the corner panels.
Current renovations on the third floor include two adjoining rooms each with space over the door for a 33″ x 10″ transom window. Here is where Carrie envisioned Mackintosh roses. With that directive, I designed a series of five roses with symmetrical leaves surrounded by narrow clear bevels and clear multi-faceted jewels in the corners.
I spent a joyous two weeks in the studio producing these panels using the lead came method. The main technical challenges were waiting for the back order of lead came (couldn’t proceed without it) and using a fresh tub of came putty which was particularly soft. I had to pick oozed-out putty along the edges of the came several times until it cured enough to hold in place. The main artistic challenge was in deciding the color for the leaves…first too dark, then too light…then I’m not sure! I went with the light leaves because they have the same teal tone as the outer border.
In the end, those Mackintosh roses turned out beautifully. I used a variety of reds to add depth and interest, those teal leaves and border and a rich gold/yellow in the background to pick up the colors of the walls.
Carrie was pleased with her transom panels. I am sure they will compliment the vintage decor of her beautiful heritage home and I was honored to play a small part in this grand restoration project.
Here is a photo gallery showing the process of fabricating the Mackintosh Roses.