The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
My first commission turned out beautiful.
Best of all — my client loves it!
In a section of my mosaic windows [Project 11], my client saw a section that resembled a duck’s bill & asked for a similiar panel with blue & yellow glass — with a ‘hidden’ duck.
Since she planned on hanging it in front of French doors that spanned a long wall, we determined it should be fairly large — approx. 18″ x 27″.
Other than that, I had complete freedom in the design — I could just go with the flow of the glass.
Startup of Abstract Animals
[Hmmm, turns out she especially likes the blue bubble glass!]
But I was also stalled with the overall design — I simply wasn’t seeing a nice flow.
I was stalled again.
Should I change direction & start building from the bottom up?
This is an abstract — should I keep such an obvious ‘picture’? Or, is Lady really that obvious?
Of course, I stalled again.
Again, this is an abstract — how obvious do I want this duck to be? I told my client I would ‘hide’ a couple in here, not have a large one popping right out.
By the time I was done the section, I had a well-shaped duck’s head with a long yellow bill, & flapping wings on a slender body.
Too obvious? I certainly hoped not.
Choosing Glass Pieces
When picking glass colours to go next to each other, I had to keep in mind a number of considerations:
- the overall colour scheme was yellow & mid-range blues — no white, clear, or other colour;
- the two yellow sheets I bought were of similar tone but one was opaque while the other was semi-opaque — they would appear different according to the type of light passing through;
- I also bought a lighter & darker blue glass for a bit of contrast, so they were used sporatically — again, the light blue was opaque while the dark blue was semi, creating different looks according to the light;
- one of the mid-blues had raised lines running through it — I mixed the direction among pieces for added texture;
- every few inches, I would analyze digital photos for a balance in the colours — changing them to black & white was extremely helpful for me to check the amount of white space & ensure a balanced variability in grey tones.
Finishing with Unique Touches
I’d discarded a piece of blue opaque earlier because it had a small swirl — a thinness — that was less opaque than the surrounding area, but I thought it would make a perfect eye for the whale.
Opinions from those I asked were definitely against it — I was stalled again.
For me, a highly interesting aspect of stained glass is the bubbles & swirls created in the production process. Sometimes considered flaws, I think these little areas add an interesting uniqueness.
So, I decided to go ahead & use the piece — thus the whale gained an eye.
When my last yellow glass piece broke into two while making my headboards [Project 7], I needed to add a piece of lead calm to connect them.
I soldered a metallic butterfly from a favourite broken pin onto the errant lead & still absolutely love it!
My first name, Vanessa, means butterfly in Greek & butterflies come with the dawn, my second name — thus a beautiful signature for my work.
I had this silver butterfly with glittery wings — perfect.
It certainly didn’t go as easily as the headboard one, but with a few *?&8* & !*?X*, along with quite a bit of solder, I finally got the butterfly to attach at the junction of 5 lead calm.
My client loves it !
She says the butterfly makes the piece.
Overall, I spent about 40 hrs. in constructing the piece — cutting/grinding glass, making patterns, fitting lead calm, soldering, puttying, & cleaning — with another 10 hrs. in admin — discussions with client, cleaning cutting table, & taking photographs.
Incalculable hours were spent in gazing at said photographs, thinking about the design, & choosing the colour & shape of glass pieces. [Not counting the weeks I was ill, the project spanned 2 months.]
My biggest time-waster was second-guessing myself — not listening to my instinct.
I constantly questioned whether my client would like it even though she had given me complete design freedom. Turns out she loves the piece & said “it’s more than I even imagined”. She thought I have “real talent”.
LESSON LEARNED –> TRUST MY INSTINCTS
How do you like it? Do you like abstracts or would you rather see a defined scene?
Don’t you simply love the sparkling beauty when light shines through the glass?
Functional glass & wood art on Vancouver Isle
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