Ray Carson creates glass pieces like this ferris wheel by hand in his workshop.

Ray Carson creates glass pieces like this ferris wheel by hand in his workshop.

Artisan makes glass art from the heart

With more than a thousand stained glass pieces, Ray Carson turned a simple hobby into a lifelong passion.

When Ray Carson won an art competition in Grade 3, his prize was to go and study at the Edmonton Art Gallery – it was a little overwhelming as a 10 year old, but the passion for artistic expression never went away.

Today, the longtime Sookie, spends his time creating unique and beautiful works of stained glass for private clients; from portraits, to scenery, to a moment caught in time, to random places and objects that were inspiring.

Carson, 69, said he doesn’t even do it to become rich or famous, but because he wants to keep his mind busy.

“I charge nowhere near what they’re worth, but I love glass. I love doing it, and it keeps me out of trouble,” Carson said, adding that he usually sells the works he finishes by word of mouth in the community.

As for how he creates them, Carson said it comes from within.

“Sometimes I wake up and I got it in my mind how to do it, it just comes to me,” he said, adding that it all begins with a rough sketch of what it will look like. Mind you, from paper to glass there’s a long road in-between.

“There’s many interpretation to get from that to making it out of glass, because you gotta be able to cut the glass,” he said.

Just recently, he finished a stained glass mosaic of a Ferris wheel, complete with a ticket booth, background sky, even balloons. He said this is just one of thousands he’s done over the last 40 years, which also included numerous portraits of big music artists such as Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis, and Chuck Barrie.

Another piece was made for a local woman whose father owned a dealership selling farm tractors. The piece is of two John Deere and Massey Ferguson tractors, complete with a barn and farm background. One tractor even had an exposed engine bay with all the mechanically correct details.

Carson’s works can also be seen around town, as he has donated pieces to the Sooke Region Museum, the legion and seniors’ centre.

He wasn’t always into stained glass though.

As a youth in the early 1960s, Carson started taking guitar lessons, playing in his own garage band.

For a while after that, he promoted big-rock concerts such as The Who, Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac.

Things changed for Carson when he spent six months in jail for forgery, though the glass was half full, as it was at this point when he met a man who did stained glass using pre-done patterns.

“I said, you pay me and I’ll make original patterns for you. I figure, I could do that, because I love the colours,” he said.

After leaving jail, Carson figured he’d continue his fascination with stained glass as a hobby, while picking up a job as a painter at a graphics shop, where he’d created inscriptions.

Today, he works with glass that’s often discarded or recycled, with each shard serving as another piece to a single glass mosaic.

He also creates thousands of hand-cut glass hearts, which he sells to a local jeweler for a dollar. Another dollar from that goes to the Sooke Crisis Centre.

Some of Carson’s pieces are more special than others as well. When the Anglican Church on Murray Road burned down years ago, he went to the ruin and picked out burnt and shattered pieces of glass, which he then glued together and made it look like a crown of thorns that sat on the head of Jesus Christ.

This was the key piece of the mosaic he then donated, which can be seen in the rebuilt church.

With so many pieces finished to date, Carson’s modus operandi remains unchanged.

“The fun part is figuring out how to do it … once you do that, it all falls into place.”

Carson said he plans to get into creating more piece using pennies, so if anyone is willing to donate some, contact him at 250-642-6682.

 

 

Just Posted

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read