Early Days (Stained Glass History Lesson- Part 1)

January 30, 2014 § 1 Comment

This is part one of my historical disection re:glass. If you missed the intro click here. If you think glass is a silly thing to contemplate, please scroll down to some of our “food porn” posts. These historical instalments are not meant to cover everything related to stained glass, I’m merely highlighting what I find to be the most interesting points during my studies on the topic. Also, I have included a bibliography for two reasons: So you know i’m not making it all up, and because i’m a product of the MLA format (although I’m disregarding some aspects of it here for my own pleasure).

So who came up with this whole glass thing then? Nobody knows for sure, but it was most likely discovered by accident, under extreme conditions. How extreme you ask? Roughly 1400 degress Celsius! It’s a pretty simple recipe. All you need is sand and wood. I’m guessing some people were having a right old time on the beach (barbeque style) and the morning after they noticed a hard shiny substance glistening from beneath their charred marshmallows and beer bottle caps. Wait, the beer bottle hadn’t been invented yet because glass didn’t exist, and neither did marshmallows… I might be slightly off course here, but the scene couldn’t have been much different… People were messing about, and they created something that would change the world. Nothing new there!

So lets move on to something we are more sure about. The Egyptians are thought to have been the first to create glass in a controlled way. They used it to glaze vessels (pots, vases, etc..) and for jewelry. They hadn’t figured out the window thing yet so we will have to move on. Sorry Egyptians.

The Romans were the first to use glass in windows. So now we are getting somewhere. Roman glass had a green tint to it created by iron oxide impurities during the firing process. We are looking at roughly 100-200AD on our glass timeline here.

The earliest stained glass windows date back to the 11th century. They can be found in the Augsberg Cathedral in Germany. Look, here’s a pic of one from Wiki:

Prophet_Jonas_in_Augsburg_Cathedral

Pic: Prophet Jonas, Augsberg Cathedral, Germany
So lets jump along here to something quite familiar to our readers… A recipe.. of sorts…but for glass!

Theophilus, a Benedictine monk wrote Diversarum Artium Schedula, or Diverse Arts. A guide to arts and crafts during the twelfth century. In this book he describes the production of glass in great detail. “Frist cut many beechwood logs and dry them out, then burn them all together in a clean place and carefully collect the ashes, taking care that you do not mix any earth or stones with them.” He goes on to describe kiln construction, mixing ratios of fine sand to beechwood ash, and the firing process. Metallic oxides added to this sand and ash mix allow the creation of a wide spectrum of colours.

So that’s it for this installment. Next time we will swim about in the Renaissance and see what they got up to in medieval europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. I will also discuss the religious connections and how stained glass work expanded as a result.

Bibliography (of sorts)

The Stained Glass Handbook, Viv Foster, 2006, London, England
Glass: A World History, A. Macfarlane & Gerry Martin, 2002, London , England
Stained Glass: From it’s Origins To The Present, Virginia Chieffo Raguin,2003, London, England

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Freedom from Gluten Free

January 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

The time of gluten free in my house is coming to an end. My wife, who has been gluten free for just over a year now is better. Yes she is better. These things can be healed. We have been seeing a naturopathic doctor for an entire year and the results we got were really impressive. The most invasive drug that was prescribed was L-Glutamine. It’s a protein isolate that helps heal damaged stomach linings. The least invasive prescription has been 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, this in it’s self is a worthy conversation. Recently however we decided we wanted to speed the healing process up a little so we went to see an acupuncturist.  Now I have to say I was sceptical at first, but we had heard so many amazing things about this doctor we just had to go see her.

All of the amazing things that we had heard were true! This doctor basically gets a list of things you are reacting to, and then treatment by treatment, she uses he needles like erasers and erases the reaction. 25 hours later Rachel was eating bread with no reaction at all! This is truly amazing and we thank God for this woman’s abilities.

All of this being said we did find some really good gluten and dairy  free recipes and I’d be remised to not share at least a couple of them with you. Here is by far my favourite, it’s actually very enjoyable and we’ll probably have them sometimes by choice!

If you are gluten intolerant… or anything intolerant that is not life threatening you can probably get help from a good naturopath and or acupuncturist, I am now a believer! If you are in Winnipeg, hit me up and I’ll hook you up. Until then enjoy these pancakes with a cup of tea!

R’s Rice Pancakes

Wet ingredients:

8 oz coconut milk

2 large eggs
2 oz (1/4 cup) grapeseed oil
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey
Dry ingredients:
7.8 oz rice flour
0.2 oz corn starch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Cook on medium-low heat (3 on our stovetop) on a slightly greased pan like you would normal pancakes.
2013 11 006

Before you read this get a cup of tea

January 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

I just took a little scroll through some our recent posts and noticed that King and Saint looks a bit like a food blog. Well surprise! It is… and it’s not. Welcome to a truncated version of the lives of King and Saint. I’m sure it’s not that different from anyone else’s which may be why it is interesting or why it’s not.

The waxing and waning of obsessions pass by and by. It seems like the later in life we go the longer the process takes to fully wax and then fully wane though them. This is not a surprise though, as we get older (read 27) we have been able to sort through the bits that we think might be interesting and are getting better at spotting the other bits that we know will indeed not interest us before we delve to deep into its depths.

Now of course, food, Tiger, is something we are all at least a little bit interested, at least interested enough in it to, hopefully if we have some control over whether we are able to, consume enough of it to not die. If one is not in such a fortunate position, I can guess that that persons interest in food is probably far greater than my own. This is not a post urging us to feed the poor, though I think that is something we should actively do in one way or another, nor is it a post about food. It really comes down to being a post about being able to post about things. Anything we want. When ever we want. And now I’ll go ahead and say, this is not a post about capitalism nor the problems with the world. I do think capitalism is broken, though I would like to be wealthy one day. And I do think the problems of the world are serious and are not to be taken lightly.

No, rather this is a post about Joy. Though it seems to have been framed, preluded, preceded, and followed up by a message of sadness and problems, its probably necessary that it be kept in tension with that side of things.

I do find it rather strange that people actually read this blog. But I’m very happy that people do. You’ll find that it contains nothing revolutionary. As much as I’d like to think Justin Timberlake and Koan Sound are, we can’t really know for a few hundred years. You will find an ebb and a flow and a wax and a wane, a tide moving in and out, moments of franticness and an occasional lull. Some things you’ll read will be rather helpful (rice milk) and things you’ll read that were probably a complete waste of time (this). The pendulum must swing.

So where is the Joy? It is right here, right now, in spite of all, but also informed by it. It will be here when the next tragedy stares us in the face and also when when the comedy rouses us to giggle.

Enjoy your tea and don’t think about what you’ve just read. Just be happy that you did, or, be mad that I wasted your time with such rubbish, but then if you’re enjoying your tea what does it matter.

A Discussion with Dale Carnegie on Criticism

January 16, 2014 § 1 Comment

A few years ago I used to run a fair bit. It was a fad, I don’t really like running, it’s to much work and you don’t go far enough for the effort you put out. Now cycling, that’s where it’s at! Go for a three hour ride and feel good about riding 50 kilometers! I did learn one of the greatest lessons of my life from running though. It is in fact why I was running so much. I was listening to an audio book called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I had heard a lot about this book, but it was really when I started reading Warren Buffet’s Biography that I was finally convinced to read it. Mr. Buffet talked about it very highly; he said that he had a difficult time dealing with people, but it was reading this book that changed the way he interacted with them . He talked about how he would spend two weeks of his life following it’s principles to the letter and then the next two weeks doing things the way he had done before. He said the effects were dramatic and he was thoroughly convinced and thus adopted those principles for the rest of his life. Some would say that he has been fairly successful.

After running my way though all 7 CD’s of the audio version I have since picked up every copy I have seen at thrift stores and given them away at a whim. (Other books I’ve done this with is Getting Things Done by David Allen and The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian) My last copy I gave away was by far my favorite copy I’ve had had to date. It was a hard cover from the 50’s and was charming. I it gave to one of the groomsman from my wedding, Dan, he devoured it and has since started rereading it. He talked about applying the principles and how they make life easier and people are more happy to interact with him.

I  hadn’t  listened to it for quite a while and a few days ago I was just gripped by the need to read it again. I have since found a newer copy that I am less fond of but wow it’s kickin’ my ass.

One thing I’ve noticed, is that I have very much incorporated it’s methods into my interactions with people, and now examining my interactions again, it is these principles of interaction that bring me great joy. However, I’m obviously not perfect at it. I think that bares repeating for my owns sake. I am not perfect at it at all, decent… maybe decent, there is room for very serious improvement though.

One of the most humbling things I have learned so far is that I am often aware of when these principles are there to be used and I am selective as to when I apply them. This is an almost embarrassing fact. I’ll be talking to who-ever it is and often register the ‘correct response’ and then decide whether it was how I’d like to actually deal with the situation. This I think is a problem. These principles ought not be selective.  For instance Chapter one: Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. This does not say choose when is the right time to criticize, condemn, or complain. It says don’t. Now I personally have a little problem with this. I have grown up being called out on things my whole life and I have grown to appreciate it. In high school and university I grew some seriously tough skin and looked for criticism no matter how harsh it was. It was immeasurably helpful to me. But it’s not something, I knew this already, that other people appreciate let alone enjoy. Carnegie says ninety-nine times of a hundred people don’t criticize themselves now matter how wrong they are. If they are then criticized for something they think they haven’t done wrong it puts them on the defensive and thus ends any possibility of good communication.

For me, the criticism was not just being torn apart, it was always an opening. A  theory that I probably heard from someone smarter than myself, is that if you criticize someone, you had better be prepared to actually help that person with the short coming that you are pointing out.  But how does this gel with the far more insightful mind of Carnegie’s rules of just Don’t Criticize? I’m not sure to be honest. But I’d like to try and sort through it.

Many of the situations that Dale Carnegie referred to were between people who didn’t have relationships with each other. It’s easy to see that if you were criticized by someone you didn’t know that you would for sure be setting up a barrier between the two of you from the beginning. Chances are you will have lost that person as a friend for good. The other situation that Carnegie talks about is between a man and a wife. He says that when you have a criticism for you partner, consider your own short fallings first and work on that instead. This has been amazing advice for me, I’m sure it has prevented many fights and unpleasant evenings. The issue I have a problem with usually comes up at some point in the future naturally and gets dealt with in an organic fashion.

There are however a few instances that he leaves out. In a place of learning, such as a university or in a mentorship for instance. I think are area’s that can benefit from criticism. But, if you’ll note, these are also places where help is expected from the one who is more knowledgable than the other. In fact I would find it a disservice if I were the one trying to learn in such a situation, and the smarter people around me did not criticize my misguided ways. I know I am a strange case, but I also know that I am not alone.

Another example is if someone you care deeply about is in a situation that is clearly not to their benefit. It may be worth discussing that situation with that person. We are accountable to our friends and family to some degree of keeping them healthy. It is of course important to know that a person who does not want your criticism or direction is no less deserving of our friendship and love just because they have chosen differently than you yourself would have. But if for some reason you think that that person is making choices that the future them would regret and may have wanted some help from, again, a discussion may be warranted.

I’m afraid I have paid a bit of a disservice, in which I would welcome the criticism, in that I have not defined my terms. I have been using the word with the broad concept of one person pointing out to another person an area in which that person could improve. To say to someone “Wow you are awful at baseball!” would not be considered a criticism but rather an insult. However if you were to say “I think you could improve your fielding” that would be a criticism in this discussion.

I think to say that you should not criticize is too simple. It can be very helpful in the very right situation and can also be extremely damaging in the wrong situations.(I believe there are far more of these) This being said, I know I criticize to much, I do so because I would like it more often and think that everyone else does too. This is just not true.

I’d like to offer a couple of questions. What do you consider criticism and how do you react to it? Is there a situation that you might react more favorably to criticism, if so, from who would it come and how would it be presented? Do you criticize? If so, do you think you should and if not, do you think you should?

As I come to the end of this, I find myself agreeing with Dale Carnegie more and more. Probably, 98% of the time criticism is not the right course of action. When you feel like criticizing someone else, which is for sure more often than we should, take a look at yourself and see what you find. But that 2% of the time, after some serious consideration, criticism in a kind and appropriate fashion, may be the right thing.

But probably not.

 

A Brief History of Glass (Intro)

January 10, 2014 § 1 Comment

Today I thought I would begin a three part series on the history of glass. I will be talking about the origins of glass, the Roman development of glass production, Medieval European refinements, religious connections, Western innovations, and finally a brief look at my latest window project.

I’m doing this because I have been fascinated with glass (particularly coloured glass) for the past 5 years or so. I can pin-point two moments that were massively influential in my glass obsession. The first event was building a 3D glass sculpture of a whale with the Saint. A project that never got completed, but the concept and experience still lives on vividly in my mind. We spent many hours crouched over an aquarium stand, sifting through pieces of broken glass, building a giant whale. These were simpler times.
A picture of the prototype can be seen here. The full scale piece was destroyed in a spiritual trip… Yes that’s about right…sadly no pictures have survived.

The second event happened in my second year of art school. Our class took a trip to Chicago, and I quite accidentally stumbled upon the Smith Museum of Stained Glass. This place truly blew my mind. Specifically the piece “Four Seasons” by Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939). I sat down in front of it and sketched for hours. I went away to find my friends, brought them to the window, and we all sat there in awe. We spent the entire morning beneath this window drawing aspects of it and freestyling lines in Mucha’s famous art nouveau style. In the afternoon we visited a massive art exhibition and I saw someone blowing glass on stage in front of a massive brick kiln. I had never seen or used a medium in art that transmitted so much beauty. The way the sun catches a piece of coloured glass and makes it glow. It’s an incredible place to start when creating a piece of art. You start with something beautiful and with the right application of skill and technique you can take peoples breath away.

Each Friday for the next 4 weeks I will be posting an article on the history of glass. The focus will be directed toward glass used in the production of windows, but other applications will be discussed in passing.

I will end this introduction with a fitting quote from Dr Samuel Johnson. He asks us to imagine a world without glass, without a material that can “…admit the light of the sun, and exclude the violence of the wind; which might extend the sight of the philosopher to new ranges of existence, and charm him at once with the unbounded extent of material creation, and at another with the endless subordination of animal life; and, what is of yet more importance, might supply the decays of nature, and succour old age with subsidiary sight… enabling the student to contemplate nature, and the beauty to behold herself.”
– Dr Samuel Johnson,  British author, linguist and lexicographer (1709-1784)

 

PART 1 Early Days

Where Am I?

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