A Cherished Memory Recreated by Piece by Piece

Recently, Piece by Piece was approached with a heartwarming commission request from Lisi Teller. Lisi envisioned a surprise for her parents; a creation that would not only honor the memory of a departed loved one but also encapsulate the beauty of the stained-glass windows commissioned by their family in 2008 and installed at the American Jewish University (AJU). The windows had been crafted by the talented Michelle and David Plachte-Zuieback, the window panels are nothing short of a masterpiece.

Original windows from the Teller CommissionTwo of the original windows the commission was based on. 

 To pay homage to the original artwork and elevate the sentiment it embodies, we treated this project as a mini-stained glass artwork. The work on this commission began with meticulous reviews of photos of the original and crafting templates that mirrored the windows in black and white miniature line work. Jose Morales, our diligent program assistant, ensured the reproduction was as accurate as possible, capturing the essence of the design and the vibrancy of the colors.

The Piece by Piece team of skilled artisans took to the task with passion, handcrafting each piece to perfection. Although the original stained-glass colors are no longer available, we navigated this challenge gracefully with Lisi's assistance, utilizing leftover stained glass from the original windows. The endeavor was time-consuming, especially given the intricate details such as the pomegranates on one of the panels, which measured a mere quarter of an inch! 

Artists working on the Teller CommissionPiece by Piece Artists Jose and Norma working on the tree panel.

We were privileged to have the original creators, David and Michelle Plachte-Zuieback, join us and add their special talents to this commission. They lent their artistic hands in painting the Hebrew name of David (the Shapiro's son) on one of the panels, and recreating the mountains, bringing them as close to the original as possible.

This project, a beautiful memorial box became a source of joy and tears of happiness for the Shapiros when illuminated.

Artist Jose works on the Teller CommissionArtist Jose adding details to the tree panel.

Lisi Teller expressed her gratitude, saying, "We couldn't be more grateful to Sophie Alpert and the entire Piece by Piece community for this wonderful commissioned replication. It holds a special place in our hearts, commemorating the custom-stained glass windows that were set to be removed from a synagogue our extended family supported. Sophie suggested transforming the originals into 16 x 10-inch panels to form a glass box, a suggestion that turned into a magnificent reality. Kudos to Luz, Jose, and the team for spearheading this fantastic artwork. We are thrilled to support a community that offers opportunities to so many.”

We are humbled and honored to have played a role in bringing this special project to life. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the Teller and Shapiro families for letting us be a part of this beautiful journey.

Teller commission stained glass

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