In the beginning of summer, I started working with a client to make a gift for his wife. She had recently given birth to a baby, had a “big birthday,” and gotten her first call to serve a church as a senior minister which required them to move to a new part of the state. He was really proud of her and wanted to commemorate all of this with a stained glass window. We talked through a lot of options with a variety of imagery and also discussed whether or not this would be a surprise gift. I suggested sometimes gifts are most satisfying when the recipient can offer some input. I developed 3 sketches which he gave to her and asked her if she would like to be part of the process. She was thrilled and they both came to my studio and talked about which one they liked most. We had a deep conversation about becoming parents, moving, setting down roots, faith, and nature. I learned we both love the way light filters through tree branches and leaves; we talked about the similar quality that glass has, changing as light passes through it. One of the first sketches I had drawn was of a tree but it needed modifications so when she sent me some photographs that she had taken of trees, I used them as inspiration and drew this colorized sketch. From there, she asked if I would make the top portion more full and I drew a full sized sketch with more leaves. It has been fun to work with them on this sketch which is on it’s way to becoming my template to create her window. Sometimes this part of the process take a while but it is the critical stage at which a custom piece becomes exactly what the client is looking for.