A beach vacation photo is inspiration for stained-glass door
San Leon resident Marty Kaminsky can’t recall what tropical shore he was on when he took a photo of the ocean while lounging on a beach chair a few years back. It was either in Mexico or the Dominican Republic, he said.
The fact that his feet are front and center in the photograph wasn’t an accident.
“I think everyone at one time or another has done this — relaxing on the beach, looking at their feet and taking a snapshot,” Kaminsky said.
So, when he decided it was time to overhaul his front door, he knew exactly what to do.
A retired electrical engineer, Kaminsky is a talented woodworker, woodturner, jewelry maker, photographer, weaver, glass blower, kayaker, sailboat enthusiast and occasional stained-glass artist.
Although stained glass isn’t his favored medium, he knew that’s what was needed for the door he envisioned, he said.
“I make something out of stained glass when I have a need for it, like when I built my house 20 years ago,” he said. “I made 40 or so stained-glass sconces for every single room in the house.”
He also created stained-glass strips in multiple colors around mirrors, but the door is the largest piece he’s tackled.
Going from reality to glass, however, involves a certain amount of abstraction and you have to make it work within the medium, he said. His engineering background came in handy in dealing with the technical details for a project of this kind.
An initial sketch on paper was the first step, followed by a pattern made from watercolor marking pens. He added hibiscus, bird of paradise flowers and a stormy sky.
Kaminsky photographed the smaller drawing, projected it with a digital projector on a wall, hung a sheet of paper in front of it and traced it to size, he said. He laid the paper out on a sheet of plywood and began cutting glass, all 420 pieces. Shaping, grinding, fitting, wrapping each piece with copper foil, then soldering front and back, he then used a chemical agent to blacken the lead solder, he said. Glass colors range from deep violet to turquoise to medium steel blue to muted green-brown.
After installing the 25-by-60-inch glass panel into the mahogany door frame Kaminsky built, he threw a viewing party to celebrate.
“People like it, and I get a lot of favorable comments,” he said.
Kaminsky, raised in Toledo, Ohio, comes from a long line of artistic relatives, and comes by his talents naturally. He used to drive to the Maumee River and admire the scenery, so moving to the Galveston Bay area 20 years ago was a dream come true, he said.
“Since my wife, Martha, and I live on the water, we wanted a waterfront theme for the door, and we enjoy looking at it,” he said.