This Artist Is Bringing Stained Glass into the 21st Century
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This Artist Is Bringing Stained Glass into the 21st Century

You’d think an art form as luminous and multi-colored as stained glass would have more of a scene than just church windows. And to be fair, we’ve seen some sweet prismatic art and home projects. But this is the first time we’ve seen a maker put such a modern twist on traditional stained glass portraits.

Yes, that is a stained glass portrait of Cam’ron, the rapper, and of course, he approved, calling it “#Dope.”

Lauren Puckett is the Charlotte-based artist behind these amazing portraits. Stained glass grabbed her attention after years of working with graphic design, printmaking, photography, fibers and painting. “Stained glass has allowed me to combine all of these elements with its graphic, flat nature, range of color and shade and the tactile nature of scoring and breaking glass. It doesn’t allow for the continuous manipulation that computer-aided design and painting allowed me. It has a finality that really appeals to my nature.”

It’s more strenuous work than graphic design, that’s for sure. Calluses, burns and ground-down fingernails come with the territory of hand-scoring and breaking each piece of glass. She gets all of the glass and materials from a local supplier, although she’d like to make her own glass someday. There’s still lots of learning to do, she says, which will help her make even bigger portraits. So far she’s made 10, the biggest of which took two months and 2,000 pieces of glass. It’s all worth it for the end result, though. “The most rewarding part is holding a finished work up to the light for the first time. It’s always better than I imagined it. It’s spectacular.” Lauren, we totally agree.

All that broken glass leads to a lot of leftover fragments, but Lauren is not wasting any of it. She turns them into funky pieces of jewelry and sells them through her shop, JAMESSIOUX. She’d also like to start making housewares, telling us, “I save all of my scraps and meticulously organize them so that I may someday melt them down in a kiln and make functional work like bowls and glasses.”

You can check out Lauren’s Instagram, @JAMESSIOUX, for more pics from her studio and peeks at her upcoming work. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop to snag some of her jewelry.

What would you ask for in a stained glass portrait of yourself? Share your vision in the comments below!

(Photos via Lauren Puckett; studio photo via Katherine Kirchner.)