Sunday, 29 July 2012

Light Box, Octopus First Cuts

Hello there! Last weekend was my birthday and The Scotsman pulled out the stops. Among other presents, he built me a totally awesome light box for my glass.

New light box built by The Scotsman for my birthday. Best husband ever!
I love it! It makes it much easier to trace designs and see through darker glass to cut to a pattern.

If you remember, I mentioned that I bought a ton of antique art glass when I was back home in the States in June. I've taken pictures of just a few of the pieces I got. You can almost see how beautiful they are when they're pictured on the light box, but my usual caveat still holds true: pictures just can't do glass justice.

Here's the design I drew for my newest piece. As you can see, it's much simplified from the photograph I posted last time.

I started cutting today. Since I got a bit of a late start I haven't gotten as much done as I wanted, but I'm already really happy with the way it's coming along. As you can see, I chose a ring mottled dark red and white glass for the octopus' skin. 

As you might also be able to see, I added cut lines to the tentacles. These will make it easier (and in some cases, at all possible) to cut these. 

I'll post more next weekend when I've gotten more done!

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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Abstract Under-Water Wave, Octopus Inspiration

Hi everyone! I did manage to make one piece before I left on holiday (and remembered to take pictures of it, miracle of miracles.) This piece was inspired by a photograph I saw of a tube wave as seen underwater. I used some of the new ring mottle glass my darlin' Scotsman picked up for me as a surprise. Click on any of the images to see a larger version.

Abstract underwater wave stained glass piece
Abstract underwater wave

Ring mottle glass, with a piece of wispy white glass below it

I gave it to my Mom and we brought it in to be framed. Unfortunately you can't really see the frame, it's a wood frame that has a kind of weathered gunmetal grey finish that goes really well with the glass colours and the un-patina'ed lead solder (I didn't use the black patina, so the leading is kind of silvery). 

Unfortunately also it wasn't a super sunny day when I took the pictures, so you can't see how the glass glows when lots of light is coming through it.

I think if there's one thing I've consistently found in making stained glass, it's that photos really can't ever do a glass piece full justice. Pieces of stained glass are almost like living things; they change and do different things as circumstances change.

And now, here's the inspiration for my next piece:

I got a bunch of absolutely gorgeous antique stained glass at the Milwaukee Stained Glass Studio while I was back home (more about that in a minute), including some pieces that I think will be amazing as the skin of this octopus. 

Why am I embarking on this clearly nightmarishly difficult design, after all of the trials and tribulations I went through with the squid? Because obviously, I am insane to even consider it. This one is about 100x as ambitious as the squid.

I guess I just can't stay away from the tentacles, folks. Wish me luck.

Before I go, I want to tell you about this dream-like glass shopping trip I had at the Milwaukee Stained Glass Studio. You know the part in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when they do the big reveal of the candy room? 

Imagine that, only with glass. 

They have a huge stock of antique stained glass that they got from the estate of a very, very wealthy stained glass hobbyist whose motto was apparently "There's no such thing as too much antique art glass." I think he may have had a teeny bit of a glass hoarding problem (something I would know absolutely nothing about. Stop looking at me like that, I NEED every single piece of glass I've got. Need it. Shut up.) 

Anyway, sadly, the wealthy glass hobbyist passed away, but happily, the Milwaukee Stained Glass Studio got to buy his entire stock of glass. They have a WAREHOUSE full of this precious stuff, all different kinds of art glass, the kind that no one is ever going to make again. 

My god, I could spend several fortunes in that place. The only thing that restrained me from going even more bonkers with my credit card was that I knew I was going to have to carry anything I bought back to Scotland in my carry-on case. If that hadn't been the case, people, well, it would have been a bit of a financial apocalypse for Your Narrator.

And that's about all the news here. Hope you're all enjoying your Saturday!

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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Smith Museum of Stained Glass!

Hi all, I've been away on holiday back to the States. One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows at Chicago's Navy Pier.

I highly recommend you stop in if you find yourself in Chicago and you're a fan of stained glass. Admission is free, and you certainly can't beat that! As always, photographs can only provide an approximation of what stained glass pieces look like in person. Just figure, whatever you see below, it looks 100 times cooler in person.

Here are just a few of my favourite pieces from the Museum:

Fairy Tale of the Bear Attacking Other Animals, 1997.  Mosaic designed and fabricated by Khaim Pinkhasik.

Autumn Landscape, c. 1890. Design attributed to Agnes F. Northrup, fabricated by Tiffany Studios, New York. Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, Chicago. 
Flowers in a Ribbon Frame, 1880s. Designed and fabricated by Belcher Mosaic Glass Company, Newark, New Jersey. 

Dragon Window, 1991. Designed and fabricated by Theodore Hile (born 1950) and Robert Fronk (born 1958), Peoria, Illinois. The reuse of fragments from other windows is intentional in this collage style window. Some experts have called this type of assemblage, "postmodern stained glass".

Evening Landscape, c. 1910. Design and fabrication attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany, Tiffany Associated Artists, New York. 

George Grant Elmslie Window, 1920. 

Detail, George Grant Elmslie Window, 1920.

Landscape With Waterfall, c. 1920s.  Design attributed to Agnes M. Northrop and fabricated by the Tiffany Studios, New York. 

Detail, Landscape with Waterfall.

Landscape with Yellow Sky (c. 1915).  Designed by Agnes F. Northrop and fabricated by the Tiffany Studios, New York .

The Four Seasons, c. 1907 - 08. After Alphonse Mucha by an unidentified artist and fabricator, possibly Mucha himself or under Mucha's supervision. 

"Sharks Teeth," c. 1890. Unidentified designer and fabricator. This highly abstract composition consists of a great curled vine in a frame of carefully color matched roundels enclosing a field of "shark's teeth", arrayed in graduating colors from white to various pinks to yellow and rose. Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, Chicago.

Fairy Tale of the Snowgirl, 1994. Designed and fabricated by Khaim Pinkhasik. Based on the Russian fairy tale told to Khaim Pinkhasik as a child, the nocturnal scene depicts Father Winter in full white beard in a snow filled landscape, the center of which is a Christmas tree with its star full ablaze. In the foreground, Daughter Snow is holding a lantern while all around her animals of the forests come out to look.

Two Flower Panels, Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, Chicago.

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