[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                 February 13, 2009
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McCoy employee honored for 
'Mermaid at Play' glasswork 

Attention to detail and a careful planning and laborsome process paid off for a Fort McCoy employee who captured third place in the 2008 Armyís Worldwide Arts and Crafts Contest glass novice category.

Photo: Karen K. Page displays the ĎMermaid at Playí Tiffany stained glass piece she entered in the Armyís Arts and Crafts contest. (Contributed Photo)
Karen K. Page displays the ĎMermaid at Playí Tiffany stained glass piece she entered in the Armyís Arts and Crafts contest. (Contributed Photo)

Karen K. Page, a program analyst for the Fort McCoy Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, was honored for her Tiffany stained glass technique-copper foil construction "Mermaid at Play."

The glass construction, which is about four-foot high by three-foot wide, began as a project when her spouse went hunting, Page said.

It took about five-and-a-half months to make ó from a sketch to sizing it to making pattern pieces and cutting the glass to fit.

All told, it took more than 260 pieces of glass to finish the masterpiece.

"Itís positioned in a window over our bathtub, where I can enjoy it on a regular basis," Page said. It is placed over a window that provides proper lighting to illuminate its unique textures.

Page began her career in glass-construction when she accidentally broke a gift from her sister. She didnít want her sister to know she had broken the gift so she learned how to work with glass.

The experience led Page to taking art classes in La Crosse, and she also taught stained-glass courses at Fort McCoy.

Amy Plummer of the installationís Matte and Frame Shop said she was very impressed with Pageís display.

"Itís very detailed and the soldering is excellent," Plummer said. "The soldering is used to hold the separate pieces of glass together. In stained glass work, all the glass has to be cut by hand. There was a lot of intricate work involved with the project."

Plummer said Pageís use of color in the project also was excellent and added to the visual appeal of the art work.

Even though she had made many small pieces of glass for gifts, Page said her experience didnít completely prepare her for the scope and magnitude of the mermaid project.

"This is my lifelong dream window," Page said. "Glass texture was very important to me. I wanted the textures to decisively depict each feature in the window."


"This is my lifelong dream window. Glass texture was very important to me. I wanted the textures to decisively depict each feature in the window."

Karen Page,
DFMWR Program Analyst

The sand needed to depict sand, including the way the grains would flow.

Page said the glass she chose even depicts ocean current ripples. Special care was taken to ensure these details were depicted in a realistic way so that even the air bubbles "rise" to the surface, as they would in a real underwater environment.

The work took all of her evening and weekend hours for the duration of the five-and-one-half month project, Page said. The competition application process was intricate as well, and included submitting a digital photo of the work.

"Itís quite a piece to see in person," Page said. "Itís a real difference to see it (the textures and the work), at its actual size."

Page said she has plenty of orders for additional glass projects from her daughters and other relatives.

However, she said it likely will be a long time, if ever, before she begins another project as big as the "Mermaid at Play."

For winning the contest, Page received a Certificate of Excellence from Maj. Gen. John A. Macdonald, U. S. Army Commanding, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, and a monetary award.

Page has worked at Fort McCoy for 32 years. She has been in her current position for 10 years.

 

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