Pi by Andy O’Brien
Andy's Pi Window

Pi by Andy O’Brien

Wikipedia’s Definition of Pi –

The number π (/paɪ/) is a mathematical constant. Originally defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, it now has various equivalent definitions and appears in many formulas in all areas of mathematics and physics. It is approximately equal to 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes spelled out as “pi“. It is also called Archimedes’ constant


** Guest Post by Andy O’Brien **

A couple of months ago I received a call about commissioning a transom window. Potential clients had decided to support a local artist (bonus points for that!) to design the transom window for over a set of internal doors within their home; they searched the internet, found my website; LuminousMoose.Glass, liked what they saw, and chose me. The following week we met to discuss the project… dimensions, glass choices, design preferences, and cost…It was to be 48”wide and 10 7/8” tall, using all clear, textured glass, with no definable images, shapes or patterns. With parameters defined and agreed upon, I was left to come up with a design, and returned home to ponder where to begin on the project.

Unbeknownst to the clients, I had just finished reading a book by Michio Kaku, Einstein’s Cosmos. I recalled how Einstein had commented that any good theory should be able to be distilled down into a picture which a child could understand, and I wondered if I could put my basic, rudimentary comprehension of the theories explained in this book into my design for this window. I had given myself a challenge, and a starting point for a concept.

Waves and particles. Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Unification of opposite ends of a spectrum. Humanity, an existing mass of self-directing energy, perched itself somewhere along this ribbon of the spectrum. Understanding our existence, whether studying either direction, cosmic or molecular, was a matter of perception, based upon our specific place upon this ribbon of eternal energy.

My first rough drawing for the window was to leave the viewer wondering if they were observing a galactic scene or a sub-molecular view. This drawing was later redrawn to be less “picture-ish”, but with the initial concepts still inherent and alluded to. Waves, particles, and energy were represented by use and placement of the glass shapes and textures. Several options for the window were drawn, based upon these premises, and an appointment was made for the presentation of my design concept; date and timing based upon our combined personal schedules and commitments. As of this stage, the clients still had no knowledge of my design concept for the window which I was about to propose, “Pi”…

As I listened to the radio on that 45-minute drive out to present my drawings, the newscaster announced that Stephen Hawking had just died earlier that very day, which also happened to be Einstein’s birthday, and Pi day (March 14, or numerically, 3.14). Synchronicity and goosebumps. This window was meant to be!

The clients loved both the concept and timing. They later added the five pairs of red and amber vertical bars to represent the possibility of parallel universes. The 1” square red bevels represent particles. Narrowing down the options for choices of glass to use, I chose to have any patterns in the “ribbons” flow in a horizontal plane, like waves, as they passed through the background, the sea of ether, the “dark matter”, represented by the vertical patterns in the glass. Flowing throughout both the ribbon and ether was a third pattern, which has an independent wandering meander of its own. Textures of the glass alternated between sides of the window for movement and light refraction/reflection variation.

The book I’m presently reading, which is as yet unfinished, is about Nikola Tesla, so rather intuitively, I decided to also include the mini-cubed glass pattern as a nod to his insights on inherent electrical energy (and alternating currents), as another component of our perception of the energy of the cosmos.

Tesla, Einstein and Hawking, three minds bridging the cosmic gap between the energy of the mind, and our physical reality. Independently or together, they make great inspirations for the energy and reality of art, that we can use today in our own work.

Pi Window

Pi – In Process
Pi – Installed


To see more of Andy’s amazing stained glass please visit:


Charles DuFont

Creator of Tripoart, the best art promotion site!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thanks for contributing to Tripoart Andy! Beautiful work and very interesting how you tied it all in with the great scientists!

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