People commissions me to make gifts for all sorts of different occasions: birthdays, Christmas, bar & bat mitzvahs, retirement celebrations, anniversaries, etc. But this was the first time I was commissioned by a young man to create a gift for the president of his high school. He explained to me that he wanted to commission the piece as a thank you for the four great years he’s had in that school. It was really fun to work with him. He knew he wanted to include the Virgin Mary, in traditional colors, and that he wanted to depict her holding a clipper ship with a North Star above the ship. He shared their logo with me so I could use the font and I set out to create this design and construct the piece. For the water, I chose this beautiful, heavily textured glass because I love how it evokes the sea through both the colors and the waves. Knowing that this background would occupy a lot of space, I wanted to make use of all the different colors within the glass; it changes throughout the piece. For the North Star, I fused some pieces of sparkly dichroic glass which draws your eye to it like a real star. And finally, to offset the name of the president, I used a different blue glass that still looks like water but was light enough to allow the painting of his name to be visible. I used that same glass higher up in the piece to draw the viewer’s eye around and make it harmonious. I hope Mr. Alesi is happy— congratulations for making such a positive impact on your student. Best wishes to all!