I am really proud to feature a category of handmade ornaments that are Made in America on our website, because I have always been drawn to crafters. The heart and soul of each artist is in each ornament and no two are exactly ever the same because handmade ornaments are not factory processed. In this series of blog posts, I will highlight a different kind of personalized handmade ornament that is Made in America so that you can appreciate all of the hard work that goes into making them.
Handmade Ornaments Made out of Stained Glass
Stained glass is a discipline that combines art, craft and engineering skills. Our handmade ornaments are made by an artist with dexterity and talent from years of practice with his father, who started making the beautiful stars 40 years ago in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Why a star?
The star is an important symbol of Christmas and is as old as the celebration of the holiday since the Star of Bethlehem figures prominently in the nativity story. The Moravian Star is the shape that the artist has modeled the handmade ornaments after. In Moravian churches, the star is illuminated for Advent, Christmas and the Ephiphany.
The intricate geometry of this star is what makes the three-dimensional handmade ornaments unique. The traditional 26 point star is technically called an augmented rhombicuboctahedron, which is composed of an 18 square and 8 triangular cone shaped points.
Our stained glass handmade ornament version is a 12 point star. No matter how many points the star has, a Moravian star has a symmetrical shape based on a polyhedra. The way they fit together, the center is an open trapezoidal-shaped hole from which the points emerge so that it looks like a starburst.
About the Artist
The artist, David was inspired by his father, who worked with glass and made handmade ornaments in the shape of stars. His father created a cutting board about 40 years ago and David still uses this original board today!
To make the handmade ornaments, the artist starts with large sheets of glass that he cuts into long strips according to the height of the triangle. These strips are slid onto the cutting board.
Using a metal guide, the glass is scored using a handheld cutting tool. The glass is then carefully broken along the scored line using your fingers, as if you were breaking a twig. Glass working beginners use pliers until they get the hang of it.
Working with glass and making handmade ornaments was in David’s blood, literally! His earliest memories are of drawing pictures and transforming those pictures into glass. Even at the young age of 5, David was already an expert at cutting glass by breaking it with his fingers and never (well, rarely) getting cut! His favorite part was, and still is, choosing the glass. He loves creating handmade ornaments from the thousands of different textures and colors because he can let his imagination run wild!
Each handmade ornament stained glass star takes countless hours to make since each piece of glass that makes up the star point is cut by hand. You should see the scars that the artist has accumulated from the dangerous time spent honing his craft! After the glass is cut it is inserted into copper foil cames and then soldered together to prevent the glass from rattling inside of it. The individual triangular pieces are then fused to form the star, the trapezoid hole in the middle carefully engineered for stability.
If you purchase one of our Made in America stained glass star handmade ornaments, you will appreciate this ancient artform that takes skillful manipulation and a lot of patience! I hope that you are awestruck at the craftsmanship of these stars that are sure to become family treasures passed down for generations.