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