Stained Glass God’s Eye, Ojo de Dios

Recently I started thinking about adding something to my catalog that might be appealing to religious folks. I wanted to do something a little bit different from what I have seen from others, just to stand out a little bit. My first thought was a symbol popularly known as a God’s eye. Like probably millions of kids, I had made at least one out of yarn and popsicle sticks when I was younger. Somehow, it has always stuck with me, despite not being especially religious, myself.

Stained glass god's eye ornament
Small God’s eye ornament in red and yellow.

Next, I did what any nerd would do, I Googled it. I discovered that there are not many representations of it in stained glass. And I learned that it has a much deeper history than I had ever realized. It is not a Christian symbol in its origin, but instead hails from the Huichol Indians of Mexico, a tribe originating and residing in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of central northwest Mexico. Their spiritual tradition is nature-based and polytheistic. In a conversation with the head of The Huichol Center for Cultural Survival, I was told that the God’s eye symbol, also called Ojo de Dios, has been incorporated into many belief systems around the world.

Learning as much as I did about the symbol, I felt increasingly drawn to it and felt challenged to make a faithful and respectful representation of it. The four points represent the basic elements of earth, air, fire, and water. The eye is meant to offer protection, especially for children, as well as a connection to the power and mystery of the unknown. The connections that the Huicholes have to the land and sea resonate deeply with me as someone who also is concerned about and interested in our planet.

Small God's eye ornament, with two shades of purple glass
Small God’s eye ornament, with two shades of purple glass

In typical fashion, one sample is not enough so I created two patterns and six pieces. One pattern is a ‘full size’ sun catcher at about 6 1/4″ in diameter, and with three layers. I also made a smaller, ornament-sized version with just two layers which measures 3 1/2″ across. Each hangs from a hook. As it turned out, I had some terrific glass choices for the first samples of the larger sun catchers. I use a lot of wispy glass in many pieces, meaning a single color of glass with white lightly swirled throughout. Very commonly, the edges of those sheets of glass have the primary color and white together in a straight pattern. I realized that this mimicked the texture of some yarns. Since so many God’s eye pieces are created in yarn, this seemed a great way to start these first pieces. I am pleased with how those turned out, and will be looking out for more such glass as much as I can, and use other colors/textures in the meantime.

God's eye stained glass, Ojo de Dios stained glass
First samples of the God’s eye/Ojo de Dios pattern. This is the larger version, at 6 1/4″ across.

The larger God’s eye is $30, and the ornament size is $15. Please let me know what you think, and thanks for reading!

In light pink and white, small God's eye/Ojo de Dios ornament
In light pink and white, small God’s eye/Ojo de Dios ornament

To learn more about the Huichol people, here are a few more links for information: The Huichol Center for Cultural SurvivalHuichol – Cultural Survival | The Sacred Land of the Huichols

Stained Glass Owls, and Flying Owl Stained Glass Nightlights

It is an ongoing process for me to try and develop my own owl patterns. For one thing, most of the ‘stock’ or free patterns of owls strike me as being either cartoonish or mean looking. Plus, I really want something of my own, something unique to put out there. Given that freehand drawing is not my strong suit (there’s a reason that many of my patterns start as photographs), this would be a challenge. I have spent hours searching for and looking at owl photos of various species to get some ideas, playing around in Photoshop with line drawings. Nothing was quite coming together.

stained glass owls
First owls made, first generation of eyes. trying various things to see what options work best.

And then one day, in a flash from some mysterious muse, I got an idea for a simple but recognizable owl face. I managed to create/draw a pattern in Photoshop for it. It’s not perfectly symmetrical but I actually like that about it. That adds a little bit of a sense of whimsy and uniqueness. I did the pattern in two sizes, a small and large, thinking the smaller size would be good as an ornament, especially. These faces, I made back in December and just realized I had not posted about them yet. The larger owl measure 4.5″ wide by 3.5″ tall. The smaller owl is 3.5″ wide by 2.5″ tall.

I’ve been experimenting with eyes, somewhat, securely gluing various materials and pieces into place because adding eyes *in* glass results in a lot more pieces, seams, and work, where the idea here was to be simple and recognizable. So I am using googly eyes on some, and flat washers with the pupils of googly eyes that I have cut free on others, and some small globs for the smaller owls. I think the washers combination will be the predominant way I will do eyes going forward but I may still use googly eyes when I am in a silly mood or they are requested.

The owl on the left has brass washers for eyes, and the one on the right has zinc washers.
The owl on the left has brass washers for eyes, and the one on the right has zinc washers.

From the creation of this owl face pattern, I recently had an idea to grow it into a unique nightlight pattern. Searches for glass owl nightlights turned up nothing along these lines so I was off and running. The goal was to create wings for the sides of the nightlight, creating the sense of flight. The small owl face from the previous design round was a good size to fit on the base. I modified the center piece of a standard night light backs patterns to allow for a better attachment of the face to the back and keep it securely joined. And then I developed a wing pattern to go on each side. The first two samples I made are a snowy/white owl and a brown owl. I am really pleased at how these turned out! I’ve since made a red and pink one by request and am looking forward to seeing what other color combinations I can try out. The glass on the nightlight is 6.25″ wide by 3.75″ tall (height does not include the night light base. With that, height is 5.75″).

Prices as of this posting (subject to change in the future – current prices will always be listed with photos in the gallery): small owl face, $10. Larger owl face, $15. Flying owl stained glass nightlight is $40. Shipping additional in all cases.

Perhaps more and different owls will also come along someday!

First two flying owl stained glass night lights, for a white/snowy owl and a brown owl.
First two flying owl stained glass night lights, for a white/snowy owl and a brown owl.