Cesar Fuertes – Stained Glass Artisan

Cesar Fuertes  – Stained Glass Artisan

“Seeing the stained glass piece lit up with sunlight and bringing the piece to life is just really satisfying. I can’t really explain it, but I feel a sense of peace and accomplishment as I’m working on a project.”

It started as a hobby as way to relax at the cabin in Canal Flats after a strenuous week spent in the I.T. industry in Calgary. Cesar’s passion for stained glass has grown to the point that he spent this past summer building a workshop with his wife and kids.

“I enjoy the whole process – from imagining a design, creating the pattern, selecting the glass that brings the design to light (pun intended!), and the discipline needed to cut the glass and put the piece together,” Cesar says.

Cesar works with each of the two main types of stained glass works: 1) copper foil work where you wrap the outer edge of each piece with copper foil then solder the pieces together into its final design; and 2) lead came work where you place extruded lead between the glass pieces to hold them in place, then solder the lead came together in the piece’s final stage.

The Columbia Valley inspires Cesar’s focus on mountain themes and landscapes in a variety of pieces – including lamp shades, flower vases, window panels, china cabinet panels, and napkin holders. “Our best days in Canal Flats are any day we’re there – rain, snow or shine. We love Calgary, but when we’re at the cabin there’s a different pace of life and outdoor inspiration. We’re surrounded by nature and we wake up to bighorn sheep, deer, the odd cougar, or just the sounds of the breeze through the trees.”

Cesar’s favourite piece to date is a toss-up: his first work with a really big piece of furniture – his parent’s old sideboard at home – saw him reflect his appreciation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School style with a replacement of a broken set of panels using lead came; and a copper foil piece that sits in their cabin living room that captures the view of Columbia Lake from the lookout at the rest area on the highway just north of Canal Flats.

While Cesar hasn’t sold any works to date, he has donated items to charity auctions, including a 2018 donation of glass lanterns to the Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley for their Annual Barn Dance event. He anticipates eventually selling some pieces, either online or through a local merchant or event in the valley.