Design through Completion

I’ve been getting ready to go away this week, as a result I’ve been neglecting this blog. One of the things we’ll be doing on our trip is installing an interior window in my parents’ new house.

I don’t really enjoy making windows (which might be a topic for a future blog) and in fact, I had sworn I would never do another one when my mom asked me to design this one.

Every project starts with a design. Usually, I do my designs by hand, but because this was a geometric pattern, I used photoshop to create perfectly round circles and nice straight lines. mom window design 1V2

Once I have a design, I make two copies of the template, one at life size and a smaller reference pattern. I cut out each piece of the life size template and use that to trace the design onto the appropriate color glass. Some stained glass artists use a light box for this step instead but I’ve always preferred the tracing method.

Once I’ve cut and ground the edges of each piece, I foil them with sticky copper foil. Here are the two end panels (there are three panels in this design) along with my reference pattern.  Each piece in the reference pattern is labelled with a number that corresponds to the type of glass that will be used. I write the pattern number on each piece of glass as well so that they don’t get muddled. Because I couldn’t get all the glass colors I wanted, I had to make some substitutions from the original design – the blue circle on the right was originally supposed to be green.1editIMG_6179


Once all the pieces are foiled and I’m confident that the piece is square and the measurements are right (a challenge when you’re 1000 km from the window in question), I begin to solder the pieces together. I start by tack soldering every corner where three or more pieces meet.



Once I’ve finished with the soldering, the piece gets a good cleaning, first with ammonia, then dish detergent and finally with a spray on car polish.



Here is the final piece, ready to be installed. I will find out in a few days if I measured correctly and if it actually fits into the window that it’s supposed to. Wish me luck!