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I’ve been experimenting with glass decals for a couple of months now, with mixed results.  But I finally have a piece that I’m happy with, despite too many bubbles.

Our Lady of Chemo painting by Stacey DennickIt began as a process painting I made three years ago when my childhood friend Diane was hospitalized for a month of chemotherapy for acute leukemia.  Process painting is a lot like “free writing” or stream of consciousness writing. You don’t plan, think much, or worry about esthetic value. Just go with your impulses, and keep the brush moving.

Diane, who passed away last October, was deeply connected to Christ and the Episcopal Church.  I’m fascinated by Our Lady of Guadalupe, the dark skinned Goddess who inspires so many.  I wanted to transform my horror of chemotherapy into a vision of comfort and healing.

The painting sat in a closet for years…Diane lived well, tried many healing modalities, and left us last fall.  Thinking about making art with meaning, I took a photo of the painting, cut out the image of the Goddess and the sick Diane in Photoshop and had it made into a decal that I could fuse into glass art.  I also manupulated a photo of a rose I’d taken, changing the color, size and rotation, to create a mass of roses.

I attached the decal of the women to a piece of thin white glass.  I attached the roses to a piece of clear glass and fired both at 1300 degrees to sinter the decal to the glass.

After slow cooling, I put the clear glass with the roses on top of the white glass with the women and added pieces of clear glass with green stringers (lines of glass), green frit (powdered glass) clear frit and dichroic glass stringers to form the halo around Our Lady.  This was fired to 1480 degrees and annealed over 24 hours.

Our Lady of Healing glass art by Stacey DennickAfter this piece cooled I painted halo lines around the two figures in 18 kt glass gold and fired the piece one last time.

I was going to call the piece “Our Lady of Chemotherapy,” as a kind of gallows joke.  I realized I was trying to distance myself from the pain of losing my lifelong friend, so I decided not to.  Our Lady of Healing at work.

Looking at the original painting I miss the turquoise blue and bright stars of Our Lady’s cloak.  I understand why artists work in series…it takes a few tries to get things just so… I also need a better stand, and a better photo.  {Sigh} Always difficult to display glass.  Any suggestions?  My husband is going to try making me a clear glass stand.  I’m also considering ways to mount the glass on a painted board (maybe painted a light rose color?) with a gold frame.

Many thanks to the Caerus Artist Residency for inspiring me to make art that’s personal and meaningful.

– Stacey

P.S.  You can see our “Lady of Healing” in person (and perhaps have a miraculous healing, who knows?) at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts from September 6-27th, during the member’s “Grand Salon.”

Update:  She’s framed and ready to hang!

Our Lady of Healing fused glass by Stacey Alysa Dennick

© 2013 Stacey Alysa Dennick, all rights reserved