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Mother’s Day weekend I was busy soldering, cleaning and puttying mom’s Koi Pond window after making her wait 12 years.  There were challenges with soldering, as much of the lead was horribly dirty and oxidized.  Flux & solder not taking at all in certain areas.  Had to constantly stop, wire brush and try again. I was also working with a brand new soldering iron, tweaking temperature control, trial & error and lack of practice…  But I’m happy with how it turned out, flaws and all.  It’s the most difficult project I’ve ever completed and am happy to have the sunshine bring it to life now!

putty stage, koi pond stained glass

Applying the nasty stuff to fill in the gaps and keep it strong.

stained glass mess

Mmmm. Toxic, crude oil-esque nastyness. 2 hours to putty, countless hand washings.

Merry Christmas, mom!  Finished and ready to be framed.  Such a great feeling to finally have it off my table and in her hands.

koi pond stained glass complete

Woo!

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My first project with painted glass will be a Medusa head.  Thought this would be an interesting subject and one that will require a few different techniques: flooding, stippling and shading.  First I’ll need to do a good study of her and render out a cartoon to do my tracing.  I prefer old-world references, so am digging up some examples to modify for the project.  -embarrassed to show this first rendering, as it has been WAY too long since I’ve practiced drawing.  I need to simplify it further, make her look a little prettier, and work out some problems with the hair.  Once it is rendered in ink I’ll move on to watercolor.  There will be a few more iterations until I get to that step.  Onward!

Image

I’m obsessed with impossibly beautiful antique grisaille work and am drawn more than ever to really learn the craft.  Grisaille – pronounced “Grizz-Eye” is an ancient method of layering on glass paints (in between firings) to achieve a 3-dimensional look, usually in monochrome.  The problem with learning this is (1) there are no living mentors for this craft and style, at least not in the U.S.; (2) the techniques are really difficult to track down; and (3) the expense of kiln firing ($25/firing at the local glass shop) make it a little cost-prohibitive.  kiln, Santa?

Grisaille panel from Altenberger Abbey, Odenthal, Germany

I’ve found a couple good sources to start.  The informative but horribly-designed website of William & Byrne has been a great resource for techniques, troubleshooting, and just plain blather.  I’ve also come across some great DVD instructional videos by Hood River resident Peter McGrain, which is a lucky local find. He offers week-long intensive instruction on stained glass painting, so I’ve made the decision to take the course next Summer. Until then, I’ve gathered lots of educational materials (e-books, DVDs) and the supplies I need to start, but in true “Lisa” fashion, I have yet to begin.  Now’s the time. I really can’t wait!

“Koi Pond” project begun 11+ years ago as a gift to my mother.  All leaded glass work stopped when we got pregnant, so the project took a rest in the basement until um..  now?  I brought it up to rest in the studio for a while to keep me company.

Koi pond stained glass

This is a particularly difficult piece, in that the water and koi were strategically cut from a single piece of glass to preserve the continuous features and texture of the glass.  The pattern.  -Oh, can’t remember where I got it.  But I did modify it slightly with some thick jewels which raise above the plane of the rest of the piece.  This design is more contemporary that I normally like, but definitely the most challenging  I’ve ever done (hence the fear of finishing!)

koi stained glass

Kokomo glass, lead and glass nuggets