A stained glass nativity
My Grandma Peg’s stained-glass studio was in the basement of her house.
Studio sounds awfully fancy – in actuality it was an unfinished basement with cement floors and cement block walls. She kept her glass grinder, soldering gun, and her collection of stained glass there, along with all of her homemade canned deliciousness (no one could top her strawberry jam) and the grandkids’ favorite – a fridge full of pop.
She made all sorts of stained glass creations. Most all of them filtered sunlight streaming through the windows of family members’ homes: Angels and birds and cars and critters and barns and tractors and pumpkins for Halloween and turkeys for Thanksgiving.
For each of her three daughters, and each of their children, she made nativity scenes. Each Mary and Jesus, Joseph, shepherd, wise man, animal, and stable with star, cut and ground and soldered by hand. The sheep are two inches tall. The wise men are six. The others are all different sizes in between.
Blues, reds, browns, yellows, purples. Swirly colors and solids. Each set has its own unique colors.
She packaged each nativity away in a clear plastic crate filled with squeaky Styrofoam pieces. On masking tape, each daughter’s or grandchild’s name is written on the lid in her unmistakable cursive.
My grandma’s artistic endeavors were a constant in her sometimes-difficult life – crocheting, cooking, cake decorating, sewing, rolled paper ornaments, stained glass. Giving was a constant in her life, too. She created things…almost always to give them away.
I can now see that Christmas quite likely was my grandmother’s favorite time of the year…if judged by the number of things she created for the season. So as my stained glass nativity goes up on my fireplace mantel this year, and my Christmas tree with ornaments she created stands in my living room, I will be reminded that the best part of creating is in the sharing.
— Ann McGlynn, director of communication