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.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Frank Ludwig in a forklift with his long hair during Trooper’s heyday. (Photo submitted)
Humble Island beginnings blossomed into storied career for Trooper keyboardist

Frank Ludwig got his start as a boy pumping the organ in a tiny downtown Chemainus church

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Victoria mural artists Joshua Lundrigan (from left) and Paul Archer join Rob Chyzowski, co-owner of Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner in front of an Archer-designed mural that went up on Thursday at the Inner Harbour restaurant. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Positivity rules with new outdoor mural from Victoria artist

Paul Archer teams with Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner for patio project

Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)
Moments with Miss Paula creates musical stories for kids

Music and the spoken word from Island pair available on streaming

Author Eden Robinson poses for a portrait during an interview in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trickster trilogy author Eden Robinson hosts online conversation and reading

Haisla and Heiltsuk will join fans in event hosted by Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)
Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Courtenay artist Christine Boyer presents Alongside My Path: Native Wildflowers of Canada at Gallery Merrick from April 9 to 23. (Photo courtesy Christine Boyer)
Island painter shows off the wildflowers of Western Canada in first solo show

Courtenay’s Christine Boyer presents floral exhibit at Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick

Nanaimo Harbourfront Library librarian April Ripley led the effort to create a Vancouver Island poetry booklet in recognition of National Poetry Month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library publishes booklet for National Poetry Month

Collection features winners of ‘Poem in your Pocket’ contest

SENCOTEN language revitalizationist and filmmaker Renee Sampson’s short film, Bringing Our Language Back to LIfe, shows online during the Reel 2 Real International Youth Film Festival, April 14-23. (Photo courtesy Wapikoni)
SENCOTEN language featured in short film created on Saanich Peninsula

Renee Sampson film highlights importance of passing on traditional languages to youth

Most Read