|Fresh off the form and in need of a bath.|
By the time I get done writing this post, it will be April 1. Oh, boy. April is one of those months that absolutely speeds by for me. We have snow on the ground yet, oodles of it. In eight weeks I should be planting my annual flowers in the ground. Oh boy, yet again! I am getting a bit nervous, and I think this week we will have to get a tractor out and plow a trail through the 4' deep drifts to the shed where the greenhouse is stored. I really should have some of my seeds started by now.
|The snow is melting, but it's rather drab out there. |
|March 30. Yep, lots of snow and NO I didn't get the Christmas deer put away yet, either.|
And since we still have so much snow, there are definitely no daffodils in sight, either, though there are a few popping up next to the house foundation on the south side.
So, since there's no daffodils outside to talk about yet we'll have to be satisfied with indoor daffodils, as in the Tiffany reproduction 'Daffodil' lampshade we just finished this weekend.
|Carl labeling the repeats in early February. We use old house windows to hold the copies.|
The Daffodil shade has six repeats, meaning there is one pattern which is cut out of glass six times to go all the way around the 20" shade. Joel had six copies made of Mylar at a blueprint shop and I used a hot knife to cut the lines around each of the 684 pieces. With six repeats, it is important to keep each individual one labelled so we can tell them all apart after the glass is cut and ground and the patterns are removed. For this lamp we used dots dashes and finally, numbers (I'm not sure why we didn't use numbers in the first place) to keep all the pieces straight.
|Window pattern for petals|
As usual, I used the 'window system' and made paper copies of the pattern, cutting out each of the flowers making a template to lay over the stained glass so I could locate the best shading for each part of the design. I lay the pattern on the glass and after I find the area I want to use, I take the Mylar pattern piece, and glue it to the glass for cutting. Then I move on to the next piece. The idea is to make the flowers look as real as possible. (If I'm lucky.)
|Petals, we have petals, we have lots and lots of petals.|
I had precious little glass to work with for this shade and was worried it wouldn't all come out of this one sheet of glass, but I was lucky. This is gorgeous mottled Uroboros glass in two shades of yellow and white.
|Paper template of the leaves and stems.|
I dawdle around for what seems like days before I decide on what colors to use for a new lamp. We don't have an unlimited glass supply, so in the end, I have to work with what we have. For those of you who sew, I'm sure you can relate to the feeling.......I have a few pieces of fabric I just adore in my stash, but I'm afraid to make anything out of it for fear the pattern won't be worthy of the fabric, so the fabric sits on the shelf, waiting for the Right Project.
Our stained glass stash is far dearer to me than any of my fabric so this makes glass selection even more fraught with anxiety. Good stained glass is hard for us to get and very expensive, not to mention the time involved in the labor of actually making the shade. If my color choices aren't good, the end result is an ugly lamp. And, not to cast blame, but it would be All My Fault. No pressure.
The section I colored is one repeat. I always do this with every pattern and use it like a road map and to help envision the look we're trying for.
I hunt and peck around on the glass, looking for nice green stems in varying shades of green mottles. There are a lot of leaves in this design.
|Uroboros glass in two shades of green with yellow.|
I have to remember to leave enough room to cut the glass shapes out, too. Sometimes I'm very guilty of putting pieces too close together which makes for nerve-wracking glass cutting. Luckily, Joel is very good at what he does.
|Nothing left to lay out here but background and borders.|
As the glass is laid out with the Mylar pieces, the pattern templates get emptier and emptier.
|Uroboros blue and green mottle for background.|
Here I've got the window template for the background laid out on the glass as I try to figure out where I want the colors to be in the finished shade. I wanted the green areas in the background glass to 'color bleed' into the stem and leaf areas and then turn to the darker cobalt blue nearest to the daffodil flowers and the border. The idea was to give the impression of more foliage and sky in the distance.
The daffodil flower centers were a fun challenge. I wanted to make each daffodil appear to have a cup in the middle instead of just an orange blob. Luckily I had a wonderful piece of Oceana glass which was heavily mottled and just enough to get some very nice centers.
One center down, twenty-three more to find.
|Cutting table. |
We all take turns cutting; but on this lamp Joel was able to handle almost all of it as he had the time. I did cut a few pieces, though. (Like five or so.)
After the pieces are cut, they are taken to the glass grinder and each one has the rough edges removed. I ground every one of them on this job.
I got a kick out of stacking them all up like cookies. (Yeah, I'm a bit obsessed with cookies yet, can you tell?)
After each piece is ground, the Mylar pattern piece is peeled off and the glue is washed off. Then I dry them and label with a permanent marker by pattern piece and repeat number.
|All labeled and ready for foiling.|
|Look it's a crude daffodil! Can you see the dots on each piece denoting the repeat number?|
|Applying copper foil to each piece.|
I love to foil, and this lamp was a joy. The pieces were so much bigger than the last two shades we've built; the Laburnum had 1,986 teensy pieces and the Pony Wisteria had almost 900, some no bigger than my pinkie fingernail, so this job with it's big, beefy leaves and petals was a hoot.
Once I had the foiling done it was time to lay out each piece of glass on the light table and see if what I'd selected worked or not. I always foil first which is not the way most stained glass artists prefer to do it. Most artists prefer to check their color selections first, then place the glass on the lamp form for fit and then take each one back off the form one at a time and foil. I admit to doing things Bass Ackwards, but hey, to each his own. By foiling whenever I have the time, I have been known to take it with me to doctor's appointments and when I go visiting friends and we're chatting, like knitting. I love to watch TV and foil, it's very relaxing. I'll usually lay out glass for a few hours, then cut and when I get tired of that, grind for awhile. I do most of my foiling at night while watching TV.
|A big glass jigsaw puzzle. Find the right repeat.|
We bought a glass-top table at Goodwill for $12 and it works great for laying out the finished repeats.
The design keeps filling in as I get more foiling done.
|Just a few left to do.|| || |
Then comes the moment of truth. Let's turn on the lights and take the paper pattern off the back of the glass table.
|Whoa, this is one LOUD lamp.|
We stare at it from all angles. and decided we had a few pieces to recut, but only a few.
The center mottles on the daffodils worked out pretty well.
|Time to transfer the pattern to the form.|
I didn't take any photos of the lamp on the form before soldering. Carl handles that job by himself, and my hat is off to him, he's good at it. Keeping the borders nice and straight and everything even would drive me batty. By the time he was soldering this shade, I was hard at work on the Big Wisteria which we started in mid-March. Carl had to wait until the snow melted enough so he could get his shop door open since he once again opted to solder out there, in the cold. He said it wasn't so bad this time as it was in January when he soldered the Pony Wisteria, but he still came in shivering uncontrollably after three or four hours of sitting on an upside down five gallon pail despite having a heater running.
|Please Release Me, Let Me Go|
After hours of soldering, Carl was finally done with the outside of the shade this past week. Joel was home and helped with taking the glass off the form. Carl was using a heat gun and spinning the lamp around rapidly, trying to heat the glass enough to melt the beeswax securing it to the form. Joel was mopping up the wax as it started to melt and the five gallon pail was there to catch the lamp in case it released from the mold without anyone catching it.
Around and around we go, and when it releases, nobody knows. These lamps are built using the 'Odyssey' system; the forms are fiberglass and can stand up to the heat of a soldering iron with no damage. But you have to be careful not to overheat the glass, which can crack. Sometimes you have to take a mental health break, turn off the heat gun and just breathe during this process.
After about ten minutes, the wax melted and there you have it, a brand new, gooey and sticky shade, which now has to have reinforcing wires applied and be completely soldered on the inside. Carl will have to adjourn to his solitary shop a few more times for at least another twelve hours total.
But first we have to take some preliminary photos of the not-clean lamp:
Don't worry, the numbers will wash off.
|Carl, surveying where the reinforcing wires will go on the inside.|
Carl finished soldering the shade on Saturday night. It's still in need of a complete cleaning, which entails dental picks and scrubbing and more scrubbing and finally a patina will be applied to the solder to darken it.
I will admit, my color choices are a bit bright, maybe way too bright for some folk's tastes, but Joel says he likes this one the most so far. That's good, because they are heirlooms.
|Good thing we have long winters. Both of these were built in 2012-13.|
Our temperatures are predicted to be a bit below normal for the coming week, but the snow is melting gradually. Mother Nature is taking her good, sweet time delivering daffodils this year, but that's fine with me. We can wait.
They'll be here real soon.