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Making a stained glass panel.

When I’m making a new glass piece I tend to take a lot of pictures as I’m going along so that when I go home at night I can sit with a cup of tea and mull over my progress – rock and roll lifestyle, I know! Since I have all these pictures documenting my progress step-by-step I thought it might be nice to give you all a peek into my creative process and let you see how my stained glass designs come together.

When designing for a new stained glass artwork or window I usually try to focus on creating a strong and cohesive design first and worry about how I’m going to actually make it in stained glass later. However it is worth bearing in mind that some shapes are really difficult to cut. It is really tricky to cut glass into wild concave shapes and even if you succeed, it usually creates a weak point that might break later when you are leading up, cementing or transporting your panels.

There are many ways you can approach your design. You can create leadlines around every separate colour, which can work well in certain instances but is not really my personal preference. In the design above for example, I have tried to place the leadlines in such a way as to highlight the main features of the design, adding extra finer details with etching, glass paints, stains and enamels.

In this design I have used flash glass, a clear glass with a very thin layer of colour on top, which can be etched to create a whole range of effects. It’s my favourite glass to use as it allows me to introduce several colours to a single piece of glass and create delicate details that would otherwise be swamped by heavy leadlines.

It can also be lightly etched to create colour gradients. The rose in this design has been sandblasted to create a colour gradient that emphasizes the different tones in the petals. Silver stain has then been applied to create a soft mixture of pink, orange and yellow hues. The candles have also been lightly etched then silver stained, allowing them to softly emerge from the background without the need for harsh leadlines around them.

The panel has then been glazed with a mixture of leads – thick leads around the clock face and the rose to pull them into the foreground and thinner leads around the other details to push them back. I solder the whole thing together back and front, add cement then voila! The piece is finished.

Did you find this article helpful? Is there anything you would like to know more about? Please add a comment below and let me know.