Art

Art Glass Lessons for Writing

The earliest known manmade glass is in the form of Egyptian beads from between 2750 and 2625 BC. My interest in art glass (more commonly known as stained glass) doesn’t go back that far, but it goes back more than a few years. I have always loved the way sunlight brings stained glass to life. About a decade ago, I decided I would take a couple of classes on how to create with stained glass. I found, to my amazement, that I could do it and do it well.

I can’t teach you how to do stained glass in this blog post, but I’ll show you part of my process and at the end of this blog you’ll find links to places where you can learn a lot more.

Tools

Working with stained glass you need a few tools and a flat surface.  (It helps if you don’t mind glass splinters littering the area you’re working in!)

This is my wonderful glass studio built for me by my DH. (I know he’s a keeper!)
art glass cutting table in my glass studio

Subject Matter

One of fun parts of doing a stained glass window, is picking the pattern. (If you’re really talented, you can design your own pattern – my talent covers construction, sadly, not design.)

pattern titled Wild Rose Pattern

Style

Once you have the pattern, then you must choose which style of construction you’ll do: leading, foiling, mosaic.  Then you must decide which glass to use. This is not as easy as it sounds. Do you want Full Antique Glass (made using antique methods), Semi-Antique, Machine-made Antique, Cathedral, Opalescent, or Glue-Chip. The machine-made glass comes in different textures. And don’t even get me started on the colors that are available.

This is the glass storage area in my studio.
glass storage shelves in my studio

With the patten and glass chosen, then you choose how large you want this project to be. You have a couple of copies of your pattern made to size.

Crafting the Pieces

There are several ways to transfer the pattern to the glass. If you are using Cathedral (transparent) glass you can put the pattern under the glass and cut to the pattern. You can cut the pattern out and trace it. Or you can cut the pattern out and glue it to the window. Each of the methods of transfering the pattern require that you cut the the glass a little differently to ensure that you keep everything to the correct size. Additionally, the type of construction (type of cane, copper foil, or grout) requires that the glass is cut to leave a specific amount of space between each piece.

pattern pieces glued onto blue glass, ready to cut

I learned to cut the border pieces of the window first, so that you maintain the size and shape you desire. Note that I have a second copy of the pattern beneath the glass so I can continually check size and be certain of placement.
image of the pieces of cut glass on the pattern

Putting the Pieces Together

Once you’ve cut out all the pieces then you must use either lead cane (relatively soft extruded lengths of lead with channels that hold the glass) or adhesive-backed copper foil so you can solder the pieces together. I prefer the more fluid look of foiling for a pattern with lots of detail like this one.
piece of glass, cut and edges wrapped with copper foil

Once each piece of glass is wrapped with foil, you use flux and solder to solder the pieces together. (Sorry, I don’t have a picture of me soldering). To give the piece a finished edge you can use lead cane or a metal cane.

Final Preparations

After soldering comes cleaning and polishing. Then it’s ready to frame or place in the window.
finished stained glass project on tablestained glass project being mounted in the window, viewed from the outside

Finished!

Then, just step back and admire it.  This picture is from inside the kitchen with full sunlight hitting the window. (between the sun and my cheap camera, the green hill she’s sitting on looks orange :p)

From inside, the stained glass window glows with sunlight

There are a number of reasons that I love constructing with stained glass. Putting together a stained glass window is very similar to working a jigsaw puzzle, a favorite passtime of mine. And for a long while, I thought that was all there was to it. Of course, it wasn’t. Because while creating suncatchers and nightlights are quick and fun, what I love doing is constructing windows. Why? Because windows tell a story.

Do you see other parallels to writing or storytelling?

Links to learn more:

Your visit is much appreciated. If you have a moment, I’d love to hear what you think!

A Meeting of Minds: the Alchemy of Science, Art, and Poetry

I have belonged to a local writer’s group for many years now. In this group we have a colorful mosaic of like-, yet different-, minded folk. There are young and mature members, males and females. Some members write with a literary style, some have a dense, elaborate style, some are more minimalist. Yet, we have a meeting of the minds in that we are all striving to improve our work. More than that, we take disparate ideas from science and fiction, and like alchemists, blend them into something different, something called science fiction.

It is my great pleasure to share with you the works of two of my writer’s group members: Karin L. Frank and Jan S. Gephardt. Not only have they had a meeting of minds that yielded science fiction, they added poetry and art to the alchemist bowl resulting in a rare gem, a chapbook called A Meeting of Minds: Poems from the Two Cultures.

Karin’s bio on her blog WolfWeyr sets the tone:

Karin L Frank

Karin L. Frank (KL Frank) wrote her first story at the age of four and submitted it to her kindergarten teacher. No literary review accepted it but it was published on the family refrigerator.

Karin has since gone on to many adventures. She blogs at WolfWeyr which she describes as a den of wolves, a place where writers and other outlaws gather, a place where rules are questioned. Karin writes insightful, literary poetry and science fiction. Recently she has published a chapbook of science fiction poetry, A Meeting of Minds: Poems from the Two Cultures. When she went looking for an illustrator to provide the art for her book, she had to look no farther than our writer’s group and Jan S. Gephardt.

Photo of Jan S Gephardt, Artdog ObservationsJan is an artist, writer, and educator. She has been involved in fine arts, education, marketing, and many other adventures during the time that I’ve known her. Jan participates in multiple blogs, but her blog home is Artdog Observations and Artdog Educator. As an artist, I believe her finest work to be her paper sculptures. You can see one (imperfectly, photos don’t do it justice) here and at her shop on DeviantArt. Her pen and ink drawings are wonderfully detailed (I have one hanging in my office!) and reflect Karin’s words with a different kind of poetry.

Jan was quicker than I to post a blog review of Karin’s delightful chapbook. So here is a portion of Jan’s blog and a little peak into the the blending of poetry, art, science, and  fiction:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Meeting of Minds . . . and Media

Image of cover of Meeting of the Minds by Karin L Frank
Karin L. Frank’s chapbook, A Meeting of Minds, is full of beautiful, intellectual poetry . . . and
also my artwork!

Last winter I had a pleasant opportunity to create a series of ink drawings to illustrate a poetry chapbook by a friend of mine, Karin L. Frank.

My first thought, when my friend approached me, was, “a poetry chapbook? Seriously?”

Ah, but then I read the poems.

Several had already been published in other—as in, “mainstream”—print media, such as the Kansas City Star or Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction.

I’d already known that my friend wrote interesting science fiction (prose), but the marriage of sophisticated science concepts with the poetry art form produced something rich and extraordinary indeed.

Karin titled her chapbook A Meeting of Minds: Poems from the Two Cultures, a reference to C. P. Snow’s concept of the sciences and the humanities as being two different “cultures” in “the intellectual life of the whole of Western Society.”

My holistic view of the world sees the two as integrally linked as the sides of a coin—not a strange thought to science fiction readers and writers. But the rest of Western society appears to see more of a chasm between the two . . . .    READ MORE

Jan S Gephardt's Echological NicheThe strokes of the pen, of ink into words, of dots and lines into images is a transmutation that results in more than a bar of gold, it’s a fascinating Meeting of Minds.

What meeting of minds, or mix of cultures,

have fascinated you?

Thank you, Jan and Karin, for allowing me the privilege of sharing your work.  And thank you, readers, for following this blog, for commenting when you have time.  I cherish your words and the opportunity for us to have . . . a meeting of minds.

Photos and illustrations are the property of Jan S. Gephardt and Karin L. Frank. You may not use or reproduce the images in this post without permission from the owners of the copyrights.