Indiana Daily Student

Stained glass artist amazes with unique creations

Jacques Bachelier lives in Nashville, Ind., and like many Nashville residents, he grew up in a serene countryside where stone was quarried. But no, it wasn't South Central Indiana. Bachelier actually grew up in Tours, France; a town in the Loire Valley. Bachelier, a stained glass artist, wears a tan beret that looks like burlap. \nWith the beret, he might be mistaken for a French painter, a career path he once considered. How did he become a stained glass artist? Following him from his boyhood in the Loire Valley, to engineering school to life as an a artist, it becomes apparent that his early exposure to both ornate cathedrals and engineering have left him with a unique ability to use engineering to achieve beautiful art. \nThe city of Tours is not far from the more famous city of Orleans, site of the death of Joan of Arc. Tours, in certain contexts, means "towers" in French; and the city of Tours is noted for some of its ornate stonework on the local cathedrals. \nThe cathedrals are built from a stone that is "somewhere between limestone and sandstone," Bachelier said. It is easy to carve and that is why the stonework is so ornate. But, there is one disadvantage to the stone, Bachelier said. "Because the stone is so soft, the cathedrals are always being repaired."\nBachelier studied engineering at College Gramont in Tours. While studying, he looked at the engineers in their white lab coats and thought of painters in white smocks. But there was a difference between the two: "Anybody can do engineering, but they lack imagination," he said, recalling his impression of engineers. At this point, he began to consider art.\nIt took him a while to find out just what kind of art. "At first, I wanted to be a painter. I'm French; that's what we do." Gesturing at his stained glass creations, he said, "Finally, I realized that this is what I wanted to do."\nBachelier is very creative in his approach, using a lot of common items people might not notice at first. For instance, the eyes of the stained glass fish are actually discarded lenses from the School of Optometry. The tail fins of the fish are created by tracing the thumb and fingers of his hand and then cutting the glass in that shape.\nBachelier's eyes sparkled as he told the story. For him, art is part and parcel with living. "You have to have fun with your work if you want to produce good quality work." Bachelier said. "And I do have fun. I love what I do."\nThe biggest piece of art work hanging in his booth is a kind of mobile called "Satourne 6," approximately three feet in diameter. It is five circular rings of brightly colored glass surrounding a center circle of glass. They all move and turn smoothly within each other. The title is both a play on the rings around the planet Saturn and a pun in French. In French, ca tourne means, "it turns." \nHe estimated that he spent 200 hours creating the piece before he finally decided against a seventh ring. Bachelier feels he can push the artistic envelope and create a mobile with seven rings, because "round shapes are the strongest shapes."\nAnother fascinating piece is his "See Major #3." There is a pun in the word "see," because he has again used lenses from the School of Optometry to serve as musical notes. A real (though rather dented) trumpet is built into the middle of the piece. Glass piano keys are at the top and a glass saxophone is at the bottom of the piece. Bachelier said, "It's a jazz piece." \nIt's the third such piece he has produced, one with a real saxophone and one with a real clarinet. He drew inspiration when he lived in Paris and saw Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bishop play until the wee hours of the morning in little bistros with checkered tablecloths.\nFrom a city of cathedrals to the night life of Paris, Bachelier has traversed a great deal. But he is back in stone country and loving it. "The people of this area have been very good to me"

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