Last evening I had finished with work for the day (although it’s never truly done) and I had done some chores around the house (they are definitely never done) and I thought I’d reward myself with a little treat of working on a stained glass project. I went over to the workshop and got all of my supplies and tools set out. I had selected some beautiful varieties of glass, all different, all perfect, all important to the composition of this piece I was working on. I had everything ready to go- the cartoon had been drawn a few nights prior, the fence was square and set, the iron was hot, the solder and flux were in reach, I had cutting tools, I had nails, I had lead, I of course had the glass, and I even had music playing! It was a perfect scene for me and my project.
This particular piece is made up of various sizes of squares and rectangles. Pretty easy? That’s what I thought, and of course, I was totally wrong. You really have to make sure those little pieces are square, as in a perfect 90 degree angle. No problem, I can handle that. I found some other tools in the shop that would make this part of the project go well and I got started. It was going swimmingly! The pieces were square, they were cutting well, tap tap crack! A perfect score! Wow! I’m so good at this and my original plan is working! All of the components are fitting. This is good. This is about as good as stained glass can go. What’s this? Oh, a beautiful, I mean BEAUTIFUL piece of glass. It looked like it was extracted from the palette of a Monet. Blues, greens, cream, purples, all delicately blended together, it was going to be the perfect addition to this project.
I squared the piece up, drew my lines with marker, scored them with a cutter, and tap tap tap, SPLIT! The line I had carefully scored and tapped and gone totally haywire, it went crazy goofy and the piece wouldn’t work now. That’s ok. Deep breath. I can try again. That’s what I’ve always been taught. Perseverance. Be industrious!
Ok. Got it. Start over with this one. Square. Line marked. Line scored. Tap. Tap. CRACK! Perfect! AhHA! I knew I could do it! I knew I could make that thing work! Now to fit it into the project, put it in it’s place, surround it with lead and solder it in. Easy enough. I’ve already don’t that a few times.
Uh oh. What’s this? The lead I am using (and have been using for this project) is not big enough for this glass. The glass, this beautiful perfect piece of glass is too thick. But I wanted in my project, and I tried so hard, and I did a good job, and it broke and I tried again! I did everything I was ever taught. I was careful. It didn’t matter. The piece wasn’t, was not, going to fit in my project.
Recently in my life there have been pieces that didn’t fit, no matter how badly I wanted them to, they just didn’t. I cared for them, I tried in so many ways to make it work, and it just didn’t. I thought about that for a moment as I struggled with my project. I thought about how glass and people are kind of alike in some ways.
Some glass is just pretty, there’s no way around it. It’s beautiful no matter where it is. Some glass has been in a basement or barn for a while and is covered in dust and cobwebs, but boy, once you wipe it clean, even a little bit, you see those colors and textures come through. Some glass is dark, doesn’t really look like much laying on a work bench, but when you allow light to come through it, look out! It’s a whole different piece of glass. Some glass, cuts smoothly, and easily, some glass spars and splinters, and it hurts, trust me.
So, thanks for reading this. I guess what I’m trying to say, what I learned the other night, via a little project in an old workshop, is don’t give up, not on the whole thing. And of course it never hurts to try more than once, but some pieces just won’t work. It hurts, it’s frustrating. You took the time to make a nice piece, but don’t give up all together. Now, I won’t have THAT particular type of glass in my project but I will promise you, it will be functional, and it will be beautiful, and it taught me a very valuable lesson.
–Emily Cadenhead, Mission Worker