Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dog Portrait in Stained Glass .. Poodles

Creating pet portraits from photographs ..  It's my latest passion in stained glass. See below the design and creation of a portrait of two Standard Poodles, Fabian and Dante, and an adorable little Poodle mix, Spencer.  These beautiful dogs are owned by dear friends, Georgeann and Bob.

And here they are!  Dante and Fabian are sibling purebreds and little Spencer is a rescue of indeterminate origin.  I shot this photograph for the family Christmas card, and modified it for the panel.

Here is my original computer rendition.  It's 15" square.

Tracing the markings from the original "cartoon" pattern onto the working pattern below.

The pattern "sandwich".  A layer of file folders covered with a layer of carbon paper with the "cartoon" on top.  They are push-pinned onto my work surface to prevent shifting as I trace.  Behind the pattern is the glass I've selected for the project.

Here are the specialized stained glass pattern shears.  They cut a thin channel between each piece to allow room for the adhesive copper foil which will follow later.

After I cut out the pieces, I group them by glass color, and set them aside in recycled junk-mail envelopes.

The patterns are then traced onto the glass.

This design has a lot of intricate pieces which I elected to cut on my electric ring saw, as shown.  Its a wet saw, meaning that water flows onto the glass to prevent the saw from overheating.

For straight cuts such as these, I score the cut with a pistol grip glass cutter, then I snap it with these blue "running pliers."

Here I'm chunking out a small arc using "groziers".

Each piece of glass has to have the edges grinded.  The ring saw will do this in one step.  Here I'm doing a touch-up with my grinder.  I'm wearing leather fingered gloves to guard against cuts.

The glass jigsaw puzzle is coming along .. I generally cut all of one color glass at a time.

Applying lip balm to the markings.  This prevents the ring saw from washing them off as I cut.

I try to make good use of every bit of glass.  Here I fit together five patterns onto a small space.

Now the dogs are cut and I'm about to cut the background.  Notice that the border is trapped in a "jig" or "fence".  This is on to assure that the glass doesn't shift while I work.  Also note the photo in the upper right which I use as my guide.

Etching my name and the date onto the glass.  For pet portraits, I also engrave the pets' names onto the window.

All the glass is now cut, including the background.  Now I'm applying 7/32" adhesive copper foil.  There are three types of foil, regular copper, black back and silver back.  This refers to the inside color of the foil, which can be visible from the outside of the glass, depending on its opacity.
For this panel, I decided to use black foil on the wispy and clear glass background.  I used copper back foil for the amber poodles, and silver back foil for the little white guy. 

Here are the pups' eyes which I will paint later to add realism.  Each one is wrapped in black back copper foil.

A little tip for fast-burnishing small pieces is to pop them into a small container, such as this 35mm film container.  Then just shake them for several seconds.  They will bump up against each other and voila! Burnished dogs' eyes.

The more conventional means of burnishing the copper foil is to use a "fid" or flat plastic wand, as shown.  The copper foil is pressed evenly onto the sides and edges of each piece of glass.

As the foiling process continues, there are invariably some pieces which must be trimmed slightly for a good fit.  Here's a piece of the background which I've marked with a series of small dots where I will grind down for a better fit.

Now all of the glass has been properly fitted and foiled.

Here I'm applying liquid flux to the copper foil, which is a catalyst to help the solder flow evenly.

This process is called "tack soldering".  I'm adding small dots of solder at the intersections of the glass pieces and randomly on longer lines.  This serves to lock the pieces together.

Now that the pieces are bonded, I removed the "jig" and slid out the paper "cartoon" to protect it from the chemicals which follow.

Here the front of the panel is completely soldered.

At this point, I hand the panel over to my husband Eric who custom-cuts a zinc metal frame.  Here he turned the piece over and push-pinned the frame in place.  Then I soldered the back (shown here), being sure to solder all the corners and also all the lead lines to the frame, for stability and strength.
At this point, I took a step back and painted the eyes with black permanent paint to represent the irises.  Then I added a dot of permanent white to bring out that spark of life which makes the glass portrait realistic.

After the frame is in place and both sides are soldered, I clean the entire panel.  Then I apply Novacan Black Patina with a metal acid brush, as shown.

I let the patina set for a few minutes, then I wash the excess off.  After it air dries, I apply Liva Stained Glass Finishing Compound to both sides and the frame.  This is a light wax which buffs to a nice shine and protects the patina.

And here's the finished window!

Here's the trio of images .. The original photograph, my computer rendition, and the finished panel.

Here are the boys, gracing the dining room window.  It was a real pleasure creating this for you, George and Bob.  Your reaction at seeing it was priceless!
Please contact me if you'd like to see your dog, cat or other pet rendered in stained glass.  Remember, we also work long distance.  These panels can be safely packed and shipped to your door.

I have two more pet dog portraits in the works .. One is in the design stage and another will follow after that.  But first, I'll be getting my knee replaced.  Back soon!

For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Stained Glass Lamp Cap Replacement

This gorgeous Tiffany style rose lamp was pounced on by a curious cat.  The cap bent when it fell.  The lamp also had a non-functioning "on-off" switch. Our challenge was to repair the lamp cap and switch.  With my husband Eric's help, here's how we repaired it.

Here's the dome of the lamp, with the badly bent cap. The damage to the cap was too extensive to hammer out, so I opted to replace it. 

My husband Eric used a Dremel tool to cut and detach the bent cap from the top of the dome. Then I used a hand file to smooth out the edges of the glass, as shown.

In order to use the new brass lap cap, it needed to be "tinned" and then "patina-ed".  Here's the process. The first step is to apply "flux".  This is the substance used as a catalyst for the solder to flow freely onto the metal, or copper foil. In the majority of cases, liquid flux is used for copper foiled stained glass. But this brass cap is considered a "heat sink". This means that it will quickly absorb all of the heat from a soldering iron.  This makes it very difficult to "tin" or coat it with a thin layer of solder.  Therefore, as shown, I'm using "paste flux".  I applied it evenly over the entire top of the cap.

In order to "tin " the brass cap, two soldering irons are recommended. Here I've positioned my 100W soldering iron so that I can insert the cap over the heated tip.  In this way, the paste flux will melt as the heat radiates out from the center to the outer edge. As soon as the paste flux melts, I use a small, lower power second soldering iron to lightly "brush" on a thin coating of solder.  This is called "tinning".

Here, the cap is tinned.  I'm now applying Novacan Black Patina to the cap using a metal acid brush.  The patina reacts instantly with the solder, turning it a dull black. After it sets, I spray-clean it with Kwik-Clean Flux and Patina Cleaner.  Then I wrap a strip of 1/4" wide copper foil around the outer edge and down the sides of the cap.

Next, I go back to the dome and line the opening with 1/4" copper foil as shown.

Here's the view from inside the dome. I've applied liquid flux and a liberal amount of solder to the interior and exterior of the cap, for a very solid bond. For additional security, I added three tabs of braided reinforcement wire which overlap the inside edge of the cap and are bonded to the underside of the dome.

Here the cap is firmly soldered onto the dome with several melting points between the cap and the body of the dome.

Here I'm applying more black patina, this time to all the solder.  After the patina set, I cleaned off the remainder with Kwik-Clean spray.  Then I polished the entire lamp, top and bottom, with Liva Stained Glass Finishing Compound.  It protects the patina and gives the glass a nice shine.  The lamp will only need occasional dusting for maintenance. 

Eric replaced the existing switch with a 3-way model.  The positions are: base on, dome on, whole lamp on (or off).  So now the lamp has been restored to its original beauty and functionality!

Another view of this beautiful rose lamp.  Thank you so much, Janine, for entrusting this lamp to our care.  May you enjoy it for a long, long time.  Happy New Year!

Here is a lovely note from Janine, posted to my BSGS FaceBook page .. Thank you Janine!
"This is my stained glass lamp that I had on a table in front of my window, when my curious cat caught sight of a squirrel and knocked the lamp off the table and bent the cap. I was heartbroken. I found Kathy Boehm of www.BoehmStainedGlass.com in Ridgewood and explained what happened and left her my lamp. Within a week, she called and said the lamp is ready. Take a look at her work. I would highly recommend her for any stained glass needs. A true professional."

For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Stained Glass Victorian Double-Hung Windows

Another fun project, this one for a creative customer who has a large collection of stained glass and has even designed her own windows for construction by artists.  Her request was for double-hung windows in her new addition to be created in a Victorian theme.  Each window measured approximately 19" x 13".  We sat and reviewed several design books I had on hand and three potential designs were considered.  Here is the winner, from Ed Sibbett Jr.'s Victorian Stained Glass Pattern book.
My customer wanted to do a pink and green theme so I presented 17 different combinations of these colors, using glass which I presented at the time of our meeting.
Here is the chosen computer rendition!

And here is the finished window .. See below the steps in creating these pretty windows.

First, here is the window when we last saw it, framed out but not yet ready for installation.  At the time of this post, we have not yet done the installation.  An update will be posted.

After re-sizing the pattern, I generated a new one and traced it onto manila file folders as shown.  I use the color rendition as a guide for marking the colors and textures of glass.

The pattern making process consists of three layers, the manila folders on the bottom, then a layer of carbon paper, then the paper "cartoon" on top.  These three layers are pinned in place to prevent shifting as I work.

After all of the markings have been transferred, I cut the outer-most border with regular scissors.  Then I cut the pattern pieces with specialized, double-bladed stained glass shears which leave a thin channel between each piece.  This allows room for the copper foil which will be added later.

When all of the pattern pieces are cut, I separate them into recycled envelopes, marked by color and texture.  I tend to prefer cutting all of one type of glass at a time.

Now both of the cartoons are pinned onto my Homasote work surface.  Notice that each cartoon is surrounded by a "jig" or "fence".  These prevent the glass from shifting as they are placed onto the cartoon.  Note:  Homasote is a building material, used for soundproofing.  It absorbs spills, has a spongy texture which is ideal for cutting glass, and it readily accepts push pins.

Here are some of my tools which I use as I trace and cut the glass. The blue "running pliers" to the left are used to snap straight cuts.  The purple oiled-filled pistol grip cutter is used to hand cut all of the glass.  And the black-handled "groziers" snap off smaller bits of glass for precision cuts.  Here I'm in the process of cutting the Pink Champagne Artique glass.

Moving along, some of the glass has been cut and put into place on top of the cartoon.

After each piece of glass is cut, I run the edges through an electric grinder.  The edges must be grinded in order for the copper foil to adhere properly.  It also makes the glass safer to handle.

Here's a demonstration of how to cut a wide curve.  I've scored the glass using the pistol grip cutter and now I'm snapping off a portion of the arc, using the "groziers".  I'll go back and score that other piece and snap it off using the same tool.

In many cases, cuts are simply too deep or too intricate for hand cutting.  Experience in cutting will dictate how far the glass will allow you to go before it will crack. These windows had many pieces which simply cannot be cut by hand, so I use a ring saw.  Here I'm applying lip balm (from my dentist) to cover the Sharpie markings.  The saw is a wet saw .. The lip balm prevents the markings from washing off.

The saw is able to remove even the tiniest pieces of glass without risking the outer corners being cracked.

These pieces, which resemble apostrophes, will also be candidates for the ring saw.  The saw is very precise.  Therefore I'm able to jigsaw the pieces together as shown, make the cuts, and minimize wasted glass.

Now all of the glass has been cut and laid in place onto the cartoons.  The "jigs" are still in place.

After all the glass is cut, the next step is to apply copper foil.  The adhesive foil is applied to the center of the edge of each piece of glass.  Then the sides are pressed down and all the foil is burnished onto the glass for a secure attachment.  Here, all of the glass has been foiled.

Next, I brush on a liquid catalyst for soldering called "flux".  This is a caustic chemical, so I use a metal acid brush.

Here's the lovely breathing mask I wear to protect my lungs against lead fumes and other harmful chemicals while I'm soldering.  I also run a filtered fan to draw fumes away from the work area.

Soldering ...

Since all of the glass is locked together now with the solder, its safe to remove the "jigs". Immediately after the soldering is completed, I spray-wash both windows, both sides, thoroughly, to remove all traces of the flux.

For those on FaceBook who are interested in viewing a variety of stained glass work from dozens of artists at all levels, I recommend "Fans of Chantal's Stained Glass" .. Link here ..There are over 3,200 members.  Chantal Pare is a Canadian artist who generously provides free stained glass patterns.  Many of my earlier works were Chantal's designs. 
Sometimes I share my work to this FaceBook page, as I've done here.  It received over 80 "likes" and many comments.  A very supportive group!

After the windows are released from the "jigs", my husband Eric custom cuts zinc frames for both windows, as shown here.  Then I solder the corners as well as the lead lines to the frames.

 After the windows are soldered, I apply Novacan brand Black Patina as shown.  It reacts instantly with the solder and can be left on for a short time.

Then the patina gets rinsed off as shown .. After both windows are dry, I apply Liva Stained Glass Finishing Compound, front and back and frames, to both windows.  This protects the patina and gives the glass a nice shine.  It is a light carnauba wax, similar to what is used in auto wax.

And here are the finished windows!  This photo is of the windows on a large light box .. The beauty of stained glass is that is looks differently under various lighting conditions.

And here are the windows, taken outdoors in natural light.  The textures of the glass really pop!

Thank you Jane, for the opportunity to add to your beautiful stained glass collection!  I'm proud to be among the artists who created pieces to grace your home!

Update .. December 21, 2015
Here is my husband Eric installing the windows this weekend!

They add a beautiful touch to this newly renovated bath.  Merry Christmas to Jane and family, may you enjoy them for many years to come!

For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.