A photo of Brenda Steiner's stained glass art. The work features a family of Rosella birds. The birds are gathered on a tree branch, some flapping their wings and others pecking at food. Credit Brenda Steiner.

Brenda is a stained glass artist who has recently moved from Lightning Ridge, NSW (home of Australia’s black opal) to set up residence in Queenstown. She is enjoying creating her stained glass for the local community who have given voice to their appreciation for her work by their commissions. Her career in the truly beautiful medium spans a total of 35 years, creating stained-glass panels to adorn private and public buildings. These works include feature and front door panels, side lights, fan lights, transoms, lamps, sun catchers and mirrors, as well as restoring old leadlight and repairing damaged panels, in both contemporary and traditional design.

Brenda's artistic career began as a child, spending countless hours lost in black and white pencil drawing. As an adult, she discovered, and became infatuated with, the surprisingly wonderful advent of colour into her work. She took a class with Keith Norris, an expert artist in pen and wash, then a few brief classes in landscapes in oils and acrylics. At Brenda’s suggestion, her youngest son Tim, who was also showing artistic talent, took a stained-glass class at TAFE when he was 15 years old. His art teacher commissioned him to create a window panel for him. His TAFE teacher agreed to tutor him to do the panel and it was a great success. Soon Tim and Brenda were creating small glass items for sale in the little craft shop they opened for local paintings and pottery, in a roadside historical butcher shop on their small farming property outside of Mudgee, NSW.

Brenda had learned the basics of the traditional art of stained glass from her teenage son. A neighbour heard about this and asked them to create a panel for her kitchen window. Encouraged by the success of this, Brenda had the idea to design a beautiful grapevine design and try to find a winery to engage her on a commission. It was a challenging process as self esteem was an issue, however Bob Roberts, a connoisseur and patron of the Arts, agreed to it but wanted two panels at half the size. This is where Brenda learned to execute her drawings in a very fine lead so the detail was perfectly executed and the colour was not obscured by thick black lead lines. This is a technique not often seen in the craft as it is quite laborious and time consuming but the realism and beauty produced in her work is well worth the effort involved.

After 36 years of hard work, patience, sleepless nights and quite literally blood, sweat and tears, Brenda is now proficient in the craft. All through these years, she has been happy to pass on her learned skills to anyone who has indicated a passion for the craft. Many people in Queenstown and Rosebery have successfully learned the basic skills and made their own stained-glass projects.

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