Louis Gignac

I walked into the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida in February of 2006 and walked out astounded by what I had just experienced, committed to creating stained glass artwork of my own! The moment I stepped into the museum I was assaulted by the penetrating colours of the leaded panels, lamps and other glass works of L.C. Tiffany. I was stunned by the artistry. This event has been a providential guidance in my life.

I returned home determined to apply myself more diligently to the church project I was volunteering with. We had little to no experience cutting and leading glass and we were constructing decorative stained glass panels, learning on the fly!

In actual fact, for over 30 years I had been working with stained glass, although often unknowingly. As a medical laboratory technologist, I had been making blood films on glass microscope slides, staining them to identify blood cells as well as malaria and bacteria. My scientific career was transforming into an artistic one.

I took additional workshops locally and travelled to Toronto to learn from other glass artists there. Although I began using traditional stained glass techniques, I have gravitated towards glass applique and mosaic. My first exposure to applique was a weeklong, personal workshop with Pattie Walker, whose work has been very inspiring to me. This workshop has set the tone for the glass work I currently produce. I feel locked in by the lead lines of traditional stained glass while the epoxy glues I use in applique allow me free and intuitive expression. I can also satisfy my thrifty soul using the beautiful leftover glass shards I generate. It is challenging to find exciting arrangements to awaken my enthusiasm.

I am entranced by the colours and textures of glass, frequently transported into states of child-like awe and wonder when I am designing with it. It is my purpose to somehow transmit these same feelings to others, not only to enjoy them for myself. I often contemplate how dead these artworks are without the passage of light through them. There is no colour! Light is the secret ingredient bringing life to the glass. I am indebted therefore to the Author of light, for I cannot be a glass artist without it.