Koi carp are revered for their colourings and markings in Japan, as well as for their tenacity for swimming up rivers against the current. In Japan they are a symbol of good luck, representing courage, wealth and abundance, as well as supporting the flow of positive energy around the home in Feng Shui.
Koi carp have a myriad of patterns and their colours range through white, gold, orange, pink, red, grey and black in nature. Their swirling tails are a magnificent feature, too. They are a source of fascination as they swim in ponds, their patterns and colours shining as they move in the water.
In Japan, and around the world, koi are bred for their markings, with the best examples realising thousands of pounds when they are sold.
When I was asked to create a koi carp in stained glass for a client’s new Japanese-themed bathroom, I knew that I had to find some glass that mirrored nature. Happily, I found a swirling, grey-toned glass that captured the movement of a live fish. I partnered this with a rich, red glass for the fins and tail, adding a pure black glass for the head.
The client wanted the fish to seem like it was swimming up the wall. I love putting life and flow into my stained glass designs, and set about creating a pattern that would reflect this.
In order to achieve the movement of the fish that I wanted, it had a narrow point where the tail joined the body. This would be a weak part of the design, but I planned to add a narrow strip of steel to support it. This would be soldered over so that it did not detract from the finished piece.
The glass was cut, with the more awkward shapes being managed with my trusty ring saw. Then the edge of each piece was wrapped in copper foil. Next came the tinning stage, where the foil is coated in solder so that each piece can be attached to the next one. Both sides were soldered for a neat finish. A loop was added to the back ready for hanging, and then everything was cleaned to a sparkle.
Stained glass lends itself well to creating fish designs as it shines like their scales.
I am looking forward to delivering the finished koi wall art and seeing it in its new, Japanese-themed surroundings.
If you would like your own lucky koi, there is one available to buy in the shop now. It is the one on the left in the photo.
Do you have an idea you would like created for you in stained glass? Whether you want wall art, a unique sculpture, a gift or traditionally-made window, I’d be pleased to discuss it with you.