Friday, 26 June 2009

Stained Glass - making a start

Last Friday I went off to Liverpool, my home town, for a one-day class in leaded lights (leaded stained glass) with Pearson's, probably the biggest stained glass supplier in the UK.

There were only four of us in the class - I understand this is usual. It meant a lot of personal supervision from Ian Hartless the tutor. Ian works on cathedrals all over Europe.

The class takes place in the showroom on a small mezzanine and space is quite tight, but since we were only creating something of about A4 size, that was OK.

Ian, offering to stretch the lead with me - stretching pulls out any twists, straightens the lead 'came' and makes it more rigid.

This is the start of my piece; I was interested in producing geometric Art Deco designs and really enjoyed the process. However, the difficulty was that nothing was measured - everything judged by eye. Of course, I discovered that while this is OK for the swirly shapes some were creating, when it comes to straight lines, you really need to measure. Unfortunately, there were no rules - plenty of straight edges and squares, but nothing to measure with (see my result below).

The view down into the showroom with all the racks of beautiful stained glass.

And this is the piece I made. I know it's full of mistakes, but they're all things I've learned from.

So I feel ready for my first real project, to replace the modern glass in our 1912 internal doors. The design was half drawn with a charcoal pencil which gives the right thickness of line for the heart of the lead came, then folded, rubbed down and copied for the other half. So far, I've cut the easier bits of glass, but if you look carefully just to the top right next to the sellotape (Scotch tape) dispenser, you'll see that I broke one of the more expensive pieces by not cutting boldly enough. Hopefully, I can reuse the pieces for smaller sections. I'll need the grinder for some of the tighter curves.

And this is my little glass store. I've bought some rather nice green water glass since then for the leaves and some other bits. In the bottom left, you can see the photo of a local window I used as inspiration, though, of course, everything has to be adapted to new shapes and sizes.


  1. Hi there I am trying to urgently contact Ian Hartless, would be really grate ful of anyone could anyone could put hihim in touch. I am Carol White at Lady Lever Art Gallery 0151 478 4143
    cant find a number or email for him anywhere
    many thanks

  2. Hi Carol,

    Try Lisa Beaver on 0151 207 1474 or email . If you don't get anywhere, email me on and I'll try to help.