Thursday, July 24, 2008

There Will Be Blood

I have a new hobby: stained glass.

When my mother-in-law recently moved to her new home she reevaluated her arts and craft interests and asked if I’d be interested in her stained glass and all of her stained glass equipment. It took me about a nanosecond to say “yes, please.”

I might actually do a little off-shoot blog strictly for adventures in glass, linked from this one. This would involve updating two blogs and since I have enough trouble lately updating even one blog… we’ll see.

I love the whole idea of stained glass. Not only does it look pretty cool when it’s done but every step along the way is fraught with danger. Everything is either razor sharp, poisonous, or highly corrosive. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the art and serious craft of stained glass (copper foil method).

1. It’s an expensive hobby. Had I not inherited the glass and tools there’s no way I could afford to jump right in like I have. Beginner’s tool kits (including a grinder) run in the $200-300 range. Plate glass is fairly cheap to practice on but actual stained glass will set you back some serious money in a hurry.

2. Cutting glass is fun but there’s some serious skill involved in doing it correctly. It’s getting easier but it’s going to take practice, practice, practice to be really good at it. Using Photoshop I have been able to design my own patterns and I’m really enjoying that process but I was doing patterns before I realized that I shouldn’t build-in shapes which are impossible to cut by hand. I have a ring saw but I’ve been discouraged from using it until I develop some hand-cutting skills.

3. Soldering is fun but getting it right is tricky. Again it’s all about practice, practice, practice.

I currently have 3 projects working at once. One is a sun catcher which is all done but the patina. The second is a larger piece which consists of 40 squares which needs the soldering touched up, framed, then the patina applied. The third is a skull panel which is cut but not foiled yet. It’s much more complicated and I need to make sure all the intricate pieces fit as they are supposed to.

Pictures will be forthcoming.

Patience is definitely required. Patience does not come naturally to me so perhaps this will allow me to exercise it more often.

After noodling around with the glass I have new appreciation for the level of craftsmanship required to do a good quality glass project.

And yes, there has been and will continue to be blood. I am thinking of doing a panel featuring a hand with lots of glass cuts in it. We’ll see.


Jas said...

Just make sure that you have a good pair of tweezers, glass shards are no fun.
Also, very very strong tape can pull slivers out too.

Good luck! Sounds awesome.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see the pictures! ..and now i see why it's so expensive~ llg

smussyolay said...

that looks very cool! you're so craft-tay!