faux stained glass Christmas bird made with tissue paper and glue


This bird decoration is displayed in one of the side windows of our living-room. There are some small trees outside of this window, and at night the branches are silhouetted against the room lights, obscuring the faux stained glass bird while adding mystery and complexity to its appearance.

As I was working at my 1979 apartment kitchen table turned stained glass studio, I’d assemble the colored tissue, melted with glue and water over sheets of Saran wrap over one element at a time. Each one took time to dry before I could start another one. I could use a hair dryer once the glue began to set, but even so this process took quite a bit of time. Little Tess, being very little, got up early so I’d usually get a good start on the day before the sun came up.

I remember the morning of 9 December. Mr. Tess left for his job, taking the car—we had only one in those days. I began putting together colors on yet another bird, when I discovered that there was no milk for Tra, none for my coffee. I packed the daughter into her stroller and headed to “Delio-s Doughnuts” around the corner and down the street. The sign had lost it’s “u” long before we moved to that apartment, and it remained that way for years after we moved. A friend, who grew up in Ann Arbor, reminded me that the former name of the shop was “Amy Joy Donuts.” The owners must have given up the franchise and erected a new sign by 1979 and apparently it lost a letter soon after.

It was snowy, slushy, and cold, but not a long walk as I anticipated a nice hot apple fritter to go with my coffee.

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