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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Laurie's Prayer Window-- in progress

Our reader, Laurie Morris, from South Carolina, was one of the first people to respond to GGC. She and I have exchanged a number of emails--sharing about our respective projects. Today she is letting me share one of them with you. Here, in part, is her explanation of the project.

Laurie said, "Remember when we first started chatting I told you I was planning to do a window for my Bible study room? Well I finally got over the material hump (odd size window) and started the project. Since I couldn't find styrene in the entire window size (plus the size is big enough that I wasn't sure how to mount it...industrial windows), I decided to divide the project into (4) sections. The church window actually has double paned windows with dividers on the inside of the panes, so naturally the window feels like four sections anyway. I found some plexi at Hobby Lobby and had to cut it down to size. I used an Xacto knife and scored several times. Couldn't cut the stuff, so I pulled out my Dremel Tool. Cut the plexi like butter but left a not so clean edge. So I went to the stained glass hobby section and bought some stained glass foiling tape (3/16"). Tape is sticky on one side. I applied the tape to all edges of the plexi. I used a "fid" to burnish the foil to the plexi. The foil covered my cut edge and made all the edges uniform (and sorta fancy). I searched the Internet for patterns and ended up drawing my own based on a few I had seen. The grapes are from the GG suncatcher book. Then I applied the GG. I am going to finish these four sections using that style."

Laurie, thank you so much for sharing your project. We are proud of your effort--especially since you haven't been doing Gallery Glass very long. And I'm proud that you are learning just like I did-- searching out traditional stained glass methods and products and adapting them for use in your projects. Speaking of which, the leaded glass category has wonderful colored glass blobs and clear bevels that can be incorporated into projects and held in place with Liquid Leading. On the left is a sample using the blobs. You lead and paint the whole design, leaving the circles for the blobs blank. Then after the paint is dry, you place the blobs in the blank circles and drop another bead of leading around them making sure that it touches both the sides of the blob and the layer of cured leading underneath. They make your project look very much like real leaded glass. You can use the same "double leading" technique with real glass bevels mounted on the glass. Here is a clock face that incorporates lots of clear bevels. We'll do more on this in future posts.

It's now been several weeks, and Laurie sent the 2nd panel photograph. It has a valuable lesson for us--regarding faces on people. It is difficult to lead the features on a face especially when it is so small. Laurie leaded the top of the beard, but the line was proportionally too thick to be "in scale". Add to the fact that this whole composition is on the plastic film discussed above and you see the other problem. It's not possible to score and remove painted areas from plastic--in order to re-do a section. We talked about how real church windows are full of religious figures, but the faces are often painted on a single piece of glass with ceramic paints--probably one stoke paints--and then fired to make it permanent. This is not possible with Gallery Glass, so Laurie and I came up with a couple of solutions. One, you can add the features after the face color dries with leading applied from a nutpick or stylus. Or you can use a permanent black marker, although it is difficult to get it to write on the Gallery Glass and it may fade out over time due to UV light. However, you can always re-apply, so that it a reasonable alternative. But we wanted you to see the panel because it is beautifully done and goes very well with the theme of the prayer window. When all four panels are done, maybe she will take a picture of the completed project in the Sunday School room window. It's going to look great. I can't wait to see it.

Laurie has finished Panel number three. She has a new camera and is trying to learn the settings. She says that the black of night is actually darker. There is some glitter in the night sky and she really likes the effect, although it doesn't show up in the picture. Her friends at church have been very supportive and complimentary--especially about this one. She admits that it is her favorite, so far. You know, even though I been a glass painter for over 30 years, in most cases, the painting I've just finished, is always my favorite. I really feel that my skills have improved with every single project. Since I am diligent about removing any section that was disappointing, the finished piece is usually "just the way I like it". So it's easy to see why I can say that my last piece is my best piece. I wish that for you, as you become more skilled. There is no feeling quite as good as that--is there Laurie?

Good job! And now we wait for the 4th and final panel.

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