Friday, 31 July 2009

Early Autumn, and the new stained glass

Now that we seem to have come almost to the end of the 'Barbeque Summer' that never was, though we did have a rather good May and June - Wimbledon went off almost without a hitch.... Anyway, now the allotments are burgeoning, and we are on the brink of a glut of beans and tomatoes.

There are also a few more exotic vegetables such as this artichoke. (We once caused what we have always thought of since as 'the middle-class kitchen catastrophe of all time when we jammed solid the waste disposal with artichoke leaves.)

Lots of sunflowers which, having satisfied the bees with nectar, are now providind a food source for the birds.

And, rather surprisingly for July, the Blackberries are already ripening.

There's also lots of this - Bindweed; the bane of our own garden. Funny how some gardens, like our last, are totally free from it, while it springs up everywhere in the present garden.

I've taken to looking very carefully at all the local stained glass in order to learn how it was done. Joints and came thickness are all a bit archaic.

So, I started a new design for the second window I intend to replace. I thought of something a bit more adventurous this time, with slightly more complex shapes and rather more elegant borders. This is the design after I changed my mind about putting some bevels in and had to make a couple of changes to accommodate them.

I started to cut, and was rather pleased with the choice of glass, particularly the Kokomo Restoration glass in Wedgwood Blue. The small diamonds look a bit like jewels.

I was busy cutting the borders from the glass I originally bought at Pearsons when I went up for my day class in leaded lights. I really like the green water glass.

But it cuts so easily that when I made one cut and picked up the sheet, it fell away and I broke the stupid thing!

So now, I'm short of one green border section and have had to send to Tempsford (my best supplier) for some more.

Meanwhile, taking the dog for a walk along the backs, I saw this rather Mackintosh-looking bindweed. I think I'm starting to see everything in terms of stained glass designs!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Stained Glass; the result in situ

Finally, this is my first finished stained glass leaded light, installed in its proper place and with the light from the hallway shining through.

Below is the inside view taken with flash which shows up all the textures and also the minor damage to the door caused when I took out the old window, not realising that the beading on one side had been firmly glued in. I, of course, chose the wrong side to remove.

As you can see from the pic below, it transmits the light beautifully and makes it actually seem brighter than when the glass was clear (but ugly and bobbly).

Here you see how it fits in with the room. The window at the left (bottom of the stairs) is a candidate for a more art deco design I'm working on.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Stained Glass - the finished article

As I write this, the rain is hammering down outside and the thunder is crashing. Last weekend was a bit wet as well, so it gave me the chance to finish the stained glass window. I cut and fitted the final pieces, soldered all the joints, turned it over and soldered the back (though which is front and which is back, who knows?)

The next stage was unphotographable (at least, I wasn't prepared to risk my camera). All the leads had to be cemented by forcing the cement into the gap between lead and glass, then covering it with 'whiting' (powdered chalk) to soak up the excess and begin the drying process. The chalk has then to be vigorously brushed off, darkening the lead and polishing the glass. Over the next 48 hours, as the cement sets, the excess that oozes out has to be scraped away with a fid until, eventually, the whole thing is clean and rigid.

There are 2 ways of seeing this glass; the picture above, using ambient light, looks straight through the glass, giving a bright, sharp image, but the picture below, taken with flash, picks up the textures in both glass and lead. I don't know which is better - both reveal something different.

Meanwhile, the garden continues to burgeon, giving me lots of ideas for future glasswork. These are Allium sphaerocephalon seen through the railings at the front of the house. Unlike other alliums, they don't have untidy foliage and the colour against the white stucco is gorgeous. they last quite a long time as well.

This is the potted olive tree (or the tip end of one of its branches) that we bought at Cottesbrooke this time last year. I wonder if the olives will develop, but perhaps our summer isn't long or hot enough.

Finally, one of our better hanging baskets. Verbena does very well, lasts and provides lots of colour - must remember that next year.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Stained Glass - steady progress

I managed to get a good weekend's work in on the stained glass last weekend so I'm making steady progress. Things I've learned: 1. It gets more difficult as you add more glass and lead; 2. Never close off an area - always leave one side open or it's impossible to force the final piece in; 3. Don't bring too many leads together in one joint - try to stagger them; and 4. It's a damn sight easier to put solder on that get it off, so be very careful about getting it everywhere.

all in all, I'm quite happy about the way things are going; you just have to get used to the fact that your rather neat design gets messier as you go on. Also, accuracy in cutting is important - every millimetre out increases the error as you move across the design.

The work is very satisfying, though it certainly makes my back ache bending over the worktop, especially when I'm trying to do something fiddly on the far side - that's why I've turned the layout round so I could work on the rose at close quarters.

There's just the possibility I might finish it this weekend - it looks as if it's going to rain, so there won't be much gardening going on.