This bit of stained glass has a story and it was an important part of the design process at 555.

When he retired, my creative father decided to try stained glass. He loved it and before long had his own studio in the basement, with tons of glass sheet in racks he built himself, design cartoons on work benches, all sorts of cutting tools, long strips of lead came, and a kiln for fusing and slumping. He got good quickly, winning prizes and taking commissions around the world.

But this piece was closer to the start of his craft than his later, larger works. He was practicing alphabets in 2002. He asked my mother what word she would like him to make for their house. Not wanting to take the commission lightly, knowing the power of words and that this would be around for a long time to come, Mom squinted her eyes in thought and said “Hmm…”

It hung in their kitchen for almost two decades. I inherited it in 2019 and it’s been displayed inelegantly in my office hallway until this week. Now it has a proper kitchen to live in again. What’s for dinner? Hmm…

When it was time to choose windows for 555, I wanted place where Hmm… could be safely hung. And that’s why most of the windows in the house have a fixed center and moveable edges. It wasn’t just windows that got Hmm…’d; I picked the yellow pantry wallpaper to as an homage to my mother’s 1970s kitchen and also to connect with the yellow background glass.

I have one more piece of my father’s work, a small window of “Henry II, The Saint” a hand painted replica of a window in Saint Leonhard’s Church in Lavanttal, Austria, done about 1340. Dad wrote on his blog, “The outside design was reproduced using a repeated section from the center section painted on colored textured glass. I really like this one!”

I looked up the original window this morning for the first time and I have to say, Dad captured the style of the Gothic glass painting. I enjoy looking at his brush strokes and imagining him down in the studio working on this.

Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, Saint Henry the Exuberant, may be blessing our meals in the dining room before too long.

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.