Wednesday, February 6, 2008

apples and pears

Last Wednesday I took my first class in stained glass work. I was prettty nervous to start with but Jim and Rachel at Maine Art Glass Studio in Lisbon Falls calmed me down right away. If you've never been to their gallery it is well worth the trip. Jim is a bug nut and there are the most beautiful arrangements and displays of butterflies I have ever seen. They also show glass art created by a variety of artists. Right now there is a quilt show too. The gallery is located in the interior of an old brick church--just a beautiful spot for all this glass work.

The first part of class I practiced cutting lines of window glass, straight and wavy, and then breaking them off from the bigger piece of glass. I thought this would be hard, but as long as I used good pressure on my cutting tool, I did pretty well. Jim then gave me a pattern to trace on more window glass that had to be cut out in a certain order--which I figured out right away--in order to get all the rectangles and triangles. Then I got my first pieces of art glass--gold, red, deep green, and a bumpy-textured brown--and a pattern of an apple and a pear. I traced the pattern onto the glass pieces, cut them out, took them to the grinding machine and smoothed all the edges, washed them, dried them, and then began to copper foil the edges. My homework assignment was to finish foiling the pieces, which I did. My next task in class will be to solder the pieces together.

My other homework assignment was to design my next piece. I actually found a photograph of a water lily that I loved with parts of two lily pads showing in the water around it. I enlarged the photograph and traced the outlines I chose to use in black marker. I have all this beautiful glass, so I looked through the boxes and chose some pieces that I think will work. I'm not much of a pink person, so even though the photo showed the water lily in shades of deep to lighter pink, I am reinterpreting it in kind of a pinky brown and white glass with deep green lily pads and deep blue-green rippled glass water.

I'm not going to class tonight because the weather forecast is so bad--certainly don't want to drive 30 miles or so on ice. I've traced the pattern onto the pinky-brown white glass and think I will try to cut it out on my own before next week's class. I'd love to be able to take in pieces ready for the grinder.

The other idea I'm batting about is how to make the lily stand 3-D out from the water and lily pad glass even a little bit. So I'm going to cut some extra pieces for base pieces to solder the upright pieces to and I think that might work. The more I can envision what I want to do, the more Jim will be able to help me bring the idea to reality.

I'm already working up an idea for a waterfall for another piece. And then there's the ideas that are percolating from the children's book FEATHERS FOR LUNCH. I made some shrink art jewelry pieces of the cat and some of the birds and I think those designs would work as patterns for stained glass. I've already resketched the cat to look more like my calico cat Miss Joon--as she is my oldest cat, about 20, it might be nice to immortalize her in a way in glass. Plus all her patches could be really cool in different tones of black, brown, and orange.

My mind is working overtime...