Jane Pompilio of Fort Thomas is the most artistically gifted person I know. Hyperbole? Not at all. I'm certainly not professionally trained in critiquing art (although my art award in 8th grade might suggest otherwise), but all I know is that any time she has created something for me, it's been beautiful.
For a wedding gift, she made my wife and I a stained glass window ("Calla Lilies" - Lindsey's favorite, which is shown left), and a photograph-like print she illustrated to commemorate our wedding (below). Both cherished works are hanging prominently in the Collier household.
On top of that, she included a book entitled Gloria Victoria - We Are Very Proud of You. (which you can click here to purchase or pick up at Love Letters on N. Fort Thomas Ave.)
I have to admit, I have known Jane for a long time, but the book, which was written and illustrated by her, took me by surprise. I had no idea that she was taking on that endeavor.
According to Jane, the book's theme is driven by the thought "Make each day your best," which is a great reminder for each of us
She still works at Kaleidoscope in Covington, which she has for the last 23 years, teaching classes, designing, repairing and restoring new stained glass windows, however the book and subsequent website www.janemadeit.com are complementing each other and coming together beautifully just like - well - a gaze-inducing stained glass window.
"I had the idea of the book 20 years ago. The windows incorporated into the drawings represent the last 10 years of projects," Jane said. "The words of the book finally just came together and spilled out onto the page last year."
The collection of windows filtered throughout the book are some of Jane's favorites because they, as Jane put it, "Celebrate friend's lives."
Living in a tight-knit community like Fort Thomas allows you to uncover talents that normally would stay under the radar. The stained glass works that Jane creates, are not only beautiful but share stories that Fort Thomas families can reflect back on for generations.
I talked to Jane about her work and she recounted one of the more moving stained glass windows she had made for a terminally ill woman. The window, which was a Kentucky wild flower scene, was installed two days before the woman passed away. As Jane put it, "The window was her final contribution to her family as she finished decorating their new house to make it a home. The magnolia window began as a sad memorial and instead became a life celebration."
Every time I look at our stained glass that she made us, I am reminded that the gift was created specifically for us and will last for generations. It is colorful, changes when the light hits it and transforms our rooms. I can tell it is full of thought and observation, which sets it apart from other artwork that hangs on our walls like drywall.
So if you're looking for a unique gift for weddings, birthdays, to celebrate retirements, to honor or memorialize someone, make sure to contact our neighbor Jane Pompilio via her website or at Kaleidoscope. Every time you look at your stained glass window, you'll be glad you did.