For years I have looked at it, stood mesmerized by it, taken photographs of it, discussed the proper care of it, now I understand a little more about just what goes into making a stained glass window for, dear reader, I have made one. Okay it might be more appropriate to call it a panel, for unless you live in Bagend or some other Hobbit residence it is too small for most windows.
Now it might surprise you to read that despite doodling a couple of angels and angel wings I finally decided that as there was a box of off cuts going to waste I would try and use them and went for a more abstract piece.
Mark, who was leading us, did a lot of humming and hawing as he looked at my sketches and then the cartoon. He did on a couple of occasions ask if I really wanted to do so many pieces of glass, however after having a go at glass cutting and discovering it was nowhere near as scary as I had envisioned, I was set on using up the off cuts, this was fun!
The others in the class stuck to a dozen or so pieces I on the other hand ended up with over 40 and while nibbling bits off the piece that were just a millimeter or two too big was fiddly I didn’t regret going for more pieces, that was until I started to lead it – oh boy!
In some spark of artistic fancy I had decided to use two thicknesses of lead (well three if you count the outside) this decision meant I had to use the thinnest lead available which in turn meant that the glass was only being held in by 1.5mm of lead. Now when you have large piece of glass that isn’t much of an issue, however when you have small pieces it means every time you let go of a bit of glass or a strip of lead the whole thing falls apart, the horseshoe nails didn’t really help. Then there was the joins between differing thicknesses of lead. As with every artisan craft there are years of experience passed down through the generation however, at this point in the proceedings Mark left me to my own devises, he was still around to offer guidance, but decided that the best way forward was for me to make it up as I went along as using proper techniques just wasn’t going to work! My favorite technique I called the jamie dodger as it involved removing the center of the lead before putting it back together as if it was still complete, just as my son used to do with afore mentioned biscuits.
The difficulty with anything like this, for me, is the regular commitment at set times and days, especially when that set time and day is not my day off. Several things got in the way – including a holiday – which meant that Hubby, who was also doing the course, ended up doing the soldering, cementing and blackening for me. The cementing and blackening is as dirty and messy as it sounds so I was happy enough to leave them up to him, but I had been looking forward to the soldering.
Next time around I will do the whole thing myself, for there will be a next time, just not sure when.
Hubby has blogged about making his panel over on his blog, if you are interested in the details of making a panel he covers it in 7 separate posts, this is the link to the final one which shows his finished panel – stained glass whisky bottles.