Saturday, February 28, 2009

Creature Comforts

Since high school, my daughter, Ellen has volunteered at the Nan Pipestem Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Tres Pinos, California. Each year they have a fundraising auction and dinner as their primary fund event, which will be this month. You can view more information at . This rehabilition center is a third generation effort, with no governmental funding, and to say it runs on a shoestring is a serious overstatement. If love and commitment could be burned as fuel, these folks have a power plant.

I will be making a stained glass panel for the auction. I have two more weeks to finish cutting the glass, foil, solder, frame in cedar, and mail to California. Piece of cake. The design, used with very kind permission of Focal Point Glassworks is a lovely waterfall landscape.

You will note that I'm saving cutting out the glass for the green part of the tree almost until last. That's because it's the glass from Hell. It's Uroboros granite ripple, emerald green, and it is absolutely beautiful glass. Probably because of my inexperience, but handling that stuff is like putting my fingers in a food processor...on purpose.

Hopefully I'll get it all cut out today, and start foiling tomorrow. It's supposed to rain all this week, which is great glass weather. I can work on it all day and not feel guilty about staying inside.

Ok well, flash forward a few hours...the glass is all cut. I managed to not flay the meat off my fingers. Actually..the glass isn't too bad if you're careful. The last time I handled any was about a year ago, so maybe I'm just more at ease.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mary, Clothed in the Sun

I decided to replace the background pieces that I wasn't happy with. On Monday, Debbie from Inspirations Glass was driving this way and brought me a piece. That was wonderful, because it saved me a two hour round trip to pick it up. Thank you Debbie!

Today I soldered the whole thing together. I'm nursing a miserable cold. The good news is I can't smell the burning flux. The bad news is..I can't smell the burning flux, so I probably inhaled way too much. In the winter, all I use is the ceiling fan to blow stuff around. I should probably re-think that part.

You'll recall from last posting that I had a tough time painting the face. I finally went with the third try, which was painted on the front and back. I also re-arranged her hair a little bit. Once it was all soldered together and in the sun, I realized that the coloration on the face was all wrong..the two coats made it too different than the hands and neck. So I took some steel wool to the baked paint on the back of the face and took it off, leaving the detail on the front of the face only. The painting technique is primative, but I still like it.

I'm also pretty happy with how the crown of stars and Sacred Heart came out. It's very pretty in the sun. I decided not to put bevels at the corners and border.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Three Marys

I have all the pieces foiled, and am happy with the piece overall. The solder lines will add definition to the drape lines in the clothing. The background glass swirls so much that some of it looks off-grain, and I'm hoping that in the light that effect will be deminished. The background glass was so expensive that I can't bring myself to replace it.

I was having a tough time with the detail pieces. face, hands and foot. The first time, I used a champagne GNA piece and just painted line detail. Of course I got the expression on the face just like I wanted it, but when it was held up to the light it was all wrong because it was transparent. I tried painting the back of the glass, but it just wasn't right. I re-cut the face piece and painted the front with a neutral base, then tried to shade and line paint the detail. The face was all wrong, and the glass didn't fit as well as I wanted. So I cut piece #3, painted the front and back with the neutral color, added some shading to the front, and line painted the detail. It's not perfect, but I'm no artist. Because I used a brush for the base, it's streaky up close, but I think it will be ok in the light. This afternoon, after everything was painted and baked, I bought a cheapie air brush, but I don't have all the stuff I need to learn to paint with it, so this will have to do for this project.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Peace Be With You

Across Silicon Valley, freeways, expressways and roadways criss-cross like a giant piece of chicken wire. With a thousand things pressing on their minds, people drive to work in an angry harried haze. Go ahead, take the Great America Parkway ramp off Hy 101, just north of Hy 880. And there, on a road that leads to an amusement park, overlooking those freeways, stands a beacon of serene compassion.

At 32', the Our Lady of Peace statue can easily be seen from the freeway. Whether or not you are a believer that Mary is the mother of God, surely you can believe that a mother's love for her child holds a mighty power in of itself.

I decided to try to draw a pattern of this statue for glass. In order to get the detail that I want, I've had to make it a sizable panel, 30.5"x20.5". It's not huge, but it's a decorative panel, not a church window. My biggest concern is her face and hands. I think I will paint detail on those, but I've not done that before. Do I use oven-cured paint or kiln-fired? Can I make it look like I envision? Can I find a kiln to use, since I don't own one?

The pattern I drew shows cut lines for glass pieces for her face. I will probably ignore those, cut the glass for the face as one piece and paint it. The detail will make or break (a little glass joke) the integrity of the panel.
I've never done this before, so I'm a little nervous.

I went to a glass store last week, Inspirations Glass, to see what was available. She carries a beautiful selection of glass, primarily Uroboros. After reading various descriptions of Marian visions, one hit the mark for me. It described Mary as standing on the moon, clothed in the sun. So, the colors I chose for this piece will not be the traditional blue and white.