Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stained Glass Experience

This past Monday night, I completed a 5 week class in stained glass at the Art Center. Stained glass was something I always wanted to learn. My parents did stained glass when I was younger, but then sold all of their equipment as my brother and I kept them busy. I remember they made sun catchers - sailboats in particular and I also remember an ice cream cone pattern my Mom often did and I think even a gumball machine? I'll have to ask her.

I loved the teacher I had! Lyndie and her late husband Gordy have had their own glass business for many, many years in the town of Marshall, MI. Marshall is a very historical town filled with Victorian homes. Lyndie often does window repair and even creates windows from scratch for customers. She also repairs and makes lamps which is amazing to me! Her workshop is filled to the brim with wonderful things to look at. Besides teaching and running the shop, she participates in Art Fairs as well.

Since it was a beginners class, she wanted us to choose a simple pattern that was around 20 pieces, and it was going to be the size of about a sheet of paper. Of course, my first instinct was to do a peacock, but I actually did consider some other designs too. I looked through the patterns she brought and then went to the library to check out some books. The peacock patterns I found were was too detailed. So, I drew up my own peacock pattern. You'll notice that this forward facing peacock was inspired by the recent metal peacock I made in my previous post. My theory was, that it would be simplified by using pre-fabricated circular crystals for the tail.

The completed piece against a white backdrop to try to show the colors.
The next step was going out to her studio to pick out all of the glass. I knew I wanted a brown glass that looked like wood for the frame - love that! I also found the most perfect glass for the body - a navy and teal shimmery textured glass that looks just like a peacock! Even though you can't see through this glass (as you can see in the next picture), I decided to use it anyway. I found a light blue glass with a feathery texture for the tail and crystals in graduated sizes and colors. Clear glass for the rest of the empty space so that the peacock really stands out.
Next was to cut out all of the glass by hand. However, the top 2 clear pieces had to be cut on a saw as they were more difficult. I returned to Lyndie's studio to do this, as there were no saws to do this at the Art Center. As we worked, we enjoyed conversations about peacocks, our families, and a shared passion about Egypt. Lyndie and her daughter have traveled to Egypt! Then I grinded the edges of all of my pieces to make a perfect fit.
The next class, I applied all of the copper foil around all of the edges of each piece of glass. I used a ruffled foil for the tail feathers for an extra special detail. Next class: soldering. I found out that I solder too fast, which created a bit of sloppiness, so that is something I need to practice. But added bonus = now that I know how to solder, I can try it in some jewelry applications! I attached some curled wire for his head plumes. Finally, the last class was attaching the lead cane frame. We twisted it and I like how that matches the ruffled solder lines in the feathers. Then, patina all of the solder, clean it up, etc... I glued on a rhinestone eye and drew on an eyelash.

All in all, I am very happy with my piece! It was a fun class full of great people! I am glad I finally got to learn stained glass. Now I just have to decide where and how to hang my peacock. I beaded strap perhaps???

1 comment:

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Oh my gosh what fun! Painting with colored light and getting to do a peacock design to boot :)

p.s. isn't Marshall as cute as a button place to be?