Mike's Stained Glass project: Tiffany Window

Today I visited a local stained glass supply house to browse through their inventory. With Tiffany windows, it's real important to pick glass that is appropriate. Tiffany used a lot of glass that was hand made, with each piece being different, having swirls and patterns and color variations. You cannot order stock glass and come out with a good product. You have to examine each piece of glass and try to see the texture and color you need for your piece.

So I spent a few hours going over the inventory of the largest store in the area. I got about $350 worth of glass, but I think I still don't have certain pieces that I need. After this I put the panes of glass in my windows and have been spending time looking at them in different stages of light, comparing how the different types of glass look with each other, the colors, orientation, markings, reflected light level, etc. I still anticipate that in the process of doing this piece I'm going to make a bunch of mistakes that I would have hoped to avoid.

Here are two examples of the glass. The left is something I'm thinking of using for the tree trunks, but I am not that excited about it. I have three different panes of glass for the tree trunks, with varying shades of brown and darker streaks but there is not enough contrast to please me. The pane on the right is Youghiogheny glass... it is a work of art by itself. That is one of those panes you have to see in person to appreciate. The picture does not do justice.

The above glass is from Spectrum. It didn't photograph well. It's a beautiful mix of blue and green with varying textures. I am not sure whether to use this for the lower grass/plants or some leaf parts. The key is how dark this looks in contrast with surrounding glass.

I'm not sure where I'm going to use this glass. Probably for some hills. I have to make sure the orientation of the streaks will work.

This glass will be used for the sky.. at least that's the plan. It's more vivid than the photograph suggests. It has a 3D quality to it.

The above glass is from Bullseye. Their glass if very expensive, hand made and each piece is unique. It's also sometimes difficult to work with because it's not always a uniform thickness. But this "frog glass" is simply amazing when light shines through it. It is the most complex glass I've ever seen in terms of different shades and reflections. There's no way a camera can capture the beauty of this glass.

As you can see, I hang the panes in my window and watch them. I'll move them around; put certain ones next to each other; look at them in different light and try to get a feel for what works, and where there may be structure within the glass that would lend itself to a particular area of the piece.

Here's a little workshop area I've set up to shape the glass.

Here is the sample template I've built where I check the pieces and their sizing. I have smaller mock-ups of the pattern that I use when I'm composing sections. This is just a temporary spot. I will have to build a larger table when I get more of the piece completed.

Here is a close up of the rough cut of a few pieces. I am still going over the colors and textures. So I play around with the layout and see what glass works well.

The piece is designed to look a certain way when light shines through it, so it's important to compose the panel paying attention to that. For the time being, I'm using a small light table to work on the piece in small chunks to make sure it will look ok.


© 2008, Mike Perry