Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Stained glass - take 1

Stained glass is something I have wanted to try for a while on a a long list of 'would like to try'. Enquiries have been made but bad timing, full or too far away was the outcome. Imagine the thrill when Greenwich Community College offered a free taster session and I managed to secure a place!

The beauty and intricacy of stained glass panels, normally seen in churches and cathedrals, draws crowds of admirers. The play of light, when the rays shine through and what appears rather ugly and dull on the outside is a radiant display on the inside is what I love most.

Often the technical expertise of a skill can only be truly appreciated when attempted. I am always aware that when someone makes something look easy it is testament to their level of skill not the ease of doing.

If I wasn't in awe enough of stained glass workmanship I am now!

We have all the modern tools, equipment and ready made lead came which just wasn't available in time gone by and STILL there is so much to consider - how much more so when diamond tipped or carbide wheel cutters weren't around?  

Other than colour and design here are some of the 'things to bear in mind'
Glass cutting has to be incredibly accurate, each millimetre out means exponential growth, or shrinkage, of the whole piece.
Make it too intricate without enough structure and the middle will bow out.
Leave gaps and it's not watertight or too tight and the glass could crack.
Soldering inaccurate - strength is lost, too much solder and it looks ugly.
Spend too long on soldering and you risk damaging the lead which is very soft and pliable, the list goes on.....

Here is my first attempt - I have already booked to learn more! This picture is very forgiving, having never used a soldering iron before the joins are not as smooth as would seem here but then perhaps the beauty of light behind the glass focuses attention away from the imperfections.

No comments: