Working with glass

I am a stained glass artist.  Artisan? Or is that just for cheese? Craftsman? Craftsperson? I make stained and leaded glass panels and shapes.

Let’s say that I learned this craft in 2009.  That date is close enough.  There was a leaded window that needed to be repaired at home so I went to my local shop.  They told me what it would cost to repair the piece. I remember thinking the price sounded outrageous. I have since learned that repairs are time consuming, costly, and a big pain. They’re pricing was spot on.  If you ask me to do a repair I will send you there. They also told me that it was an easy fix and that I could learn how to repair it myself.  What?

I signed up for a class and for 8 weeks I set up shop on the front porch and at the studio.  I made a mess. I got glass bits everywhere. I cut myself roughly one million times.  I had so much fun.   They were right. In 8 weeks I had a piece that I was proud of.  So much so, that I gave my first panel to my mom for Mother’s Day.  Currently, it hangs above the kitchen sink at my parent’s home.

Since then I’ve made a number of pieces.  I made a magnificent brightly colored panel for the 2010 state fair.  I won an honorable mention at my local glass shop with it (above). I also entered the state fair in 2012 and in 2014.  This year I got an 86/100 on my fall leaves design (below) and that makes me happy and proud.  The other work there was intricate and amazing.  I’m on my way!

Those who know me know that precision and following directions really aren’t my thing, but when I’m in the basement and making designs with glass I am reading and following patterns carefully. I am using my grinder to shave off less than 1/16″ of glass, and sometimes a fingernail, and then cutting that same piece over if I’m not happy with the result.  Precision in every step is important and little mistakes really add up.  To stay sharp I listen to top 40 hits (I may sing along) and unknowingly make my concentration face as distinct as Michael Jordan’s. I have started tweaking professional patterns I like to make them more my own.  My next step is to use my computer to make my own designs.

You will be happy to know that I finally fixed the leaded glass panel that started my glass adventure in 2013 after 5 full years of confidence building.  I have some glass cabinet doors in basement at my workspace right now that are waiting to be repaired…and a daffodil pattern that  will hang in the dining room and seems like it might be a more interesting project.

I’m getting a new work table built to replace the one that is ailing under the weight of the collected glass for the next projects. In addition to being super sturdy, I am excited to have a light box built in to the table top so that I don’t have to balance glass sheets on the window sill to select my colors and some way for the glass to stay clean and dust free while I’m looking for the next patterns.  I haven’t found pieces worthy of some of the glass I’ve been given.

I have done some commission work.  I’m not going to lie.  It’s expensive. It’s also fun to meet new and different challenges and expectations.

I still cut myself occasionally and looking at these photos I realize that I really need to learn how to take better pictures of my work!

Here are some of the other things that I have created.

This one needs a home. I’ll give it to you for free if you are the first one to comment on the blog. Seriously. I can’t keep it all.



6 thoughts on “Working with glass

  1. Awesome blog. I feel like i get some more insight into your psyche with each entry. I remember voting for the one that was hanging in the glass shop. All of these are really cool! (am I the first?)

    1. Yes, you’re the first. Do you want the piece? I’m guessing that you do otherwise you wouldn’t have commented. I could be wrong though. I’m wrong on ocassion.

  2. We will absolutely take it! We get nice sun all day long so we’ll have to pick a good spot to show it off.

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