Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stained glass makes royal gift

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Six bridge players took a stab at making a piece of stained glass, and what they got was the Chucker of Spears.
'Actually, it's the Queen of Hearts,' said Paul Rothaus of Temple. 'But the scepter she's holding looks like a spear, so I had to make fun of it. I mean, come on, it looks like she's flinging the thing.'
His teasing was constant but good-natured. Everyone was laughing and smiling as they talked about their project.
They made the Queen of Hearts in honor of Ann Wallace, owner of the Temple Duplicate Bridge Studio on the corner of Third and Royal.
'She's done so much for area bridge players,' said Judy Dayton, one of the artists. 'The studio is a beautiful, warm place to come and play. We're very grateful to her.'
Having opened Sept. 26, the studio's a relatively new addition to Temple. Two bridge clubs, Golden Rule and Bluebonnet, play there now, but come January another two clubs will add their cards to the mix.
'So the Queen of Hearts is a housewarming gift, a gesture of appreciation,' Rothaus said. 'We presented it to her the Friday before Thanksgiving.' Mrs. Wallace loves it. She hung it on the front door at the studio.
'It makes such a beautiful display,' Mrs. Wallace said. 'It's always a great thing when people share their talents.'
Rothaus designed the concept of the group's Queen of Hearts. A prolific artist, he teaches a class on working with stained glass at Sammons Community Center.
'My wife (Marilyn) and I have in our minds dozens of stained glass windows to create,' Rothaus said. 'To think it is one thing, but to do it is another. You've got to be able to carry out your ideas.'
So when Rothaus had an idea he thought was plausible, he was quick to draw it out.
'It was a rough, ugly sketch at first,' Rothaus said. 'I was in the bathtub when I thought of it. I figured she could be holding a bouquet of bluebonnets since we're the Bluebonnet Club.'
Mrs. Rothaus took her husband's design and transformed it into a blueprint.
'I basically redrew it,' Mrs. Rothaus said. 'I kept the design the same, but I enlarged everything to the size of a wall hanging.'
The next step was to assign tasks to their willing helpers: Ms. Dayton, Guy Matthews, Edna Tuerck and Heather Barrington, all of Temple.
'This is where the real magic happens,' Rothaus said. 'You start out with a rough idea but it grows into a thing of its own as different people put their personal touches on it.'
'And we were all beginners,' Ms. Dayton said.
It took about 51 man hours to complete.
Matthews and Ms. Dayton claimed the head of the queen as their area.
'We designed the face and came up with the look of her skin,' Ms. Dayton said.
'I took orders and cut the glass the way she wanted,' Matthews said, grinning.
Matthews' work on the queen's chin was so impressive that he became the resident glass cutter.
'Anything that needed to be cut and shaped, (Matthews) did it,' Rothaus said.
Matthews had never made stained glass before, but he was familiar with the tools used in glass cutting.
'I already knew how to cut mirrors and glass for table tops and windows,' Matthews said. 'So that part was easy to figure out.'
Ms. Tuerck added the element of shadow.
'I like the color of shadows and the image of depth,' Ms. Tuerck said. 'I wanted to apply the things I appreciate in paintings to the stained glass project.'
Mr. and Mrs. Rothaus worked on the queen's sleeve and the background, and Matthews made the bluebonnets.
Ms. Barrington wasn't available to discuss her work on the project. She's currently in Illinois, serving the U.S. Navy.
And the scepter - err, spear - that's the fault, nay pride of Ms. Dayton.
The project's finished, a thing of the past, but her cheeks still flush with redness when Rothaus starts his teasing.
'(Rothaus) pulled out this design for a delicate, detailed scepter, but it was too large,' Ms. Dayton said, explaining she did the best she could. 'There wasn't enough room to work with. I was trying to make it fit.'
'You see,' Rothaus interjected. 'She has not mastered the principle that says 'All of the object need not appear.''
Ms. Dayton rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated 'Oof.'
'While we were working on it, I'd get so mad that I'd want to pull his whiskers. But I refrained - I am refraining. I love him, we all love him. He's a great joy to be around, and we love to let him teach us bridge and stained glass.'
Apparently, Rothaus has a few bridge moves that the others wish they could emulate. His friends also accuse him of breaking into song when he's winning a hand.
'It is so funny,' Ms. Dayton said.
Ms. Tuerck nodded her head.
'He is,' Ms. Tuerck said. 'There's a lot of camaraderie in this group.'

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