Family Tree in Stained Glass
I was updating my Pinterest site and ran across a tree pinned to a lovely lady’s Pinterest Board. It got me thinking about how wonderful it was to make my stained glass family tree art for folks looking for a celebratory piece for family, both present and past.
There is a long history of art therapy around the idea of the family tree, generational family therapy where the therapist plots family roles from generation to generation that play out in family dynamics which once understood, become more positive and workable and far less toxic. One way to use stained glass to represent families, is to make a double sided tree as I do, with the past on one side and the present on the other.
This works well both as a celebration of life altar piece and as a celebratory piece for intergenerational familial traits. Building a tree with the family input can help to resolve and change communication styles that are entrenched but not obvious to family members as problematic because they are automatic.
A picture of the family as a tree or several trees is helpful in separating the automatic behaviours and making them visible so they can be changed if that is what is wanted.
Thoughts on Colour and stained glass art therapy
Stained glass, except at its most opaque, lets in at least a little light, so it is easy to use this quality of the glass to express various types of feelings. The colours run from the palest transparent shades of any colour under the rainbow to black which can be viewed as all colour or none. Through-out my work, I have noted that each colour has many different meanings that can be popular, like red means passion, love, anger and completely based on an individual’s experience so red could mean pain, fear, sorrow if the individual had had a life threatening experience involving blood.
Glass can be fractured, so can be used to express both emotional and physical vulnerabilities but is really quite strong and sturdy when supported by metal frames. This leads to ways of interpreting boundary making or ways of protecting the self or making connections in communities for both support and protection-