Stained glass catches up with Engelbreit

The whimsical art of Mary Engelbreit has surfaced in yet another form. The artist, known for her boldly colorful, slice-of-life designs, has entered a license agreement with glass art manufacturer AMIA.

The Denver-based company debuted a 19-piece collection of Engelbreit's works in the form of suncatchers and windowpanes. AMIA owns the rights to an exclusive ripple-glass form (a natural-surface textured glass) that gives the illusion of cathedral glass.

Engelbreit had hoped to become a children's book illustrator but stumbled upon a flourishing career as a designer of greeting cards instead. Her works, which have adorned more than 14 million greeting cards, are so popular that they now appear on nearly 6,500 kinds of products.

Engelbreit's charming characters have been rendered in everything from home decor to children's play items, including an Ann Estelle doll created by famed doll artist Robert Tonner.

Ann Estelle is one Engelbreit's most noted characters and is believed to have been inspired by the artist as a youth. The bespectacled blond girl is the subject of "Spring Ann Estelle," which depicts the character watering flowers. The piece has a simple verse: "Happy Day!"

"Daffodil Girl," a colorful suncatcher, depicts a rosy-cheeked young girl with golden pigtails peeking out from beneath a straw hat, tending to a pot of flowers. The verse reads, "Friends are the flowers in the garden of life."

Engelbreit not only incorporates bright colors in her works but was one of the first artists to use black prominently. Common to her work is a black-and-white checked border. Other designs typical of Engelbreit pieces are cherries, flowers and hearts, all of which can be found in the "Love, Home, Family, Friend" suncatcher.

Using wit as her rapier, Engelbreit makes light of the self-absorbed in "The Princess of Quite a Lot," which depicts a pampered princess basking in her glory while being waited upon by her curly-tailed servant, a monkey.

600450 Stained glass catches up with Engelbreit
Date: 12 January 2004

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