Stained glass victory

16 Jan
Back in 2002, Michael and I got married, as many of you know.  We had a wonderful wedding day and lots of our family and friends were there to help us celebrate.  We were also totally spoiled when it came to wedding gifts, most of which were both beautiful and practical (like our dishes and other lovely, lovely kitchen gadgets).  Some people overwhelmed us with gifts that we hadn’t anticipated and that were just extremely thoughtful.
One of the neatest gifts we got in this category was a piece of stained-glass art that a number of our Commerce friends commissioned.  It shows two people in a canoe, one of whom is wearing a bucket hat, and the other having long dark hair.  (We immediately assumed it was supposed to represent us — I know, how self-centred.)
Unfortunately, it was broken when it arrived in Fort Liard, with a crack going from top to bottom.  It sat in our house for many months, and strangely, the glass bulged more and more as time went on.  When Garrett and Muriel were visiting us, they transported it back to Ottawa for us, and from there it travelled on to Kingston, back to the company that had originally made the piece.  After fixing it, they swore they would never touch it again, as it’s apparently more work to repair a damaged piece of stained glass that it is to put it together in the first place.  When Tim and his friends drove our Volvo up to Fort Liard for us, they brought the stained glass with them and this time it made the trip in one piece.
We hung it up proudly in our house, and enjoyed it for a month or two before it again developed a crack at the top that slowly started spreading down.  It was heartbreaking to watch.  By this time, we figured that the most likely reason for the damage was the wooden frame in which the art is encased.  It’s a circular frame with an oak finish and looks great, but it’s likely that the change in climate between Kingston and the NWT caused it to start warping and shrinking.  So even though we had the thing innocently hanging and untouched, the piece was damaging itself.  I loosened the glass from its frame and put the whole thing up on a shelf, hoping to contain the damage.
Fast-forward a couple of years and here we are in Whitehorse.  If there’s one thing the Yukon has a lot of, it’s artists!  One of my colleagues here at the Public Service Commission happens to do stained-glass artwork, and I asked her if she would consider attempting a repair.  She took one look at the piece of broken glass in it and exclaimed, "I have that same glass at home!"  Apparently, it took a lot of work to unwedge the glass from the frame (more evidence of shrinkage), but I just got the artwork back today, all in one piece and cleaned up to a gleaming shine!  Jennifer also made the glass a tiny bit smaller than the original, so there’s a little "give" in case the frame decides to move some more.  I hope, though, after three years in the north, it might have finished with the shrinking and warping.
Now we just need to find a way to hang it in that beautful big window we have at the front of our house, and we can finally admire this special wedding gift as it was intended to be!

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