Lacewing Alighting Sculpture by Larry Schuster

Lacewing Alighting, an elegant contemporary art sculpture, explores the possibilities of using stained glass, brass and copper to create a three dimensional, luminescent object of beauty.

Stained glass, brass, brass-plated vines, amethyst geode and black marble · 28″ H x 14″ W x 14″ D, with a 24” wing span.

Early in Larry Schuster’s artistic career, he decided to explore the potential of stained glass. One of his first experiments was to produce a Tiffany style light shade. “After a short time, I realized that stained glass making had never really broken out of its traditional three dimensional shapes. And there is a good reason for that because is a very poor structural material, brittle, easily stressed. There aren’t many three dimensional shapes. That’s why you only see stained glass windows, bell shaped lamp shades, and jewelry boxes.”

“I decided to make the most challenging shape I could think of. I had a book with large color photos of insects and was drawn to the wing design of the green lacewing, which is native to California and whose actual size is less than 1/4 inch across. It seemed the ultimate challenge to make something so delicate out of such an uncooperative material as glass.”

Larry had to develop new techniques of construction to make the structure compensate for the weakness of the glass. “I created patterns for the four wings on sections of plastic velum (resists moisture). It would be like the veins of a leaf, but instead, the structural strength would come from a veining of brass strips radiating outward, then converging in natural joints to attach to the body. Sections of stained glass were then soldered to the brass veining.”

“The body had to be stylized and I couldn’t be as accurate with the wings. I had to bevel each piece of glass in the body so that it would conform to the cylindrical shape. It was incredibly time consuming. I used an antique opticians grinding wheel, originally used to grind lenses for glasses. The eyes are amethyst and there is amethyst in the interior as well. The fine wire shapes inside the body give you the impression of the stylized internal workings of the insect. The interplay with lighting is essential to the piece, giving it greater scale, and form, taking it out of the usual three dimensions.”