Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stained glass bird windows

While I'm waiting for my next commission, I'm working on bird-themed windows for our 9-pane kitchen back door.  Each pane is about 6" x 11".  My inspiration for the theme are the many species of birds which visit our feeders all year, and of course, our little parakeet, BeeBee.

For this project, I've again chosen the patterns of Canadian stained glass artist Chantal Pare.  Click here to see/purchase her "Backyard Birds" patterns.  Here is one of the patterns, a Cardinal, before I modified the design.

With any stained glass window, you always have to consider the complexity of the design versus the size.  This design was far too busy for a small window.  I reduced the design from 58 pieces down to 28 while still maintaining the integrity of the subject. I removed the background, redesigned it into an oblong, and re-sized it to fit one of the 9 panels of the window.

Below is the design after I modified it, with the manila pattern underneath.  The pattern has been marked with numbers and colors and is ready to be cut.
As for cutting the manila folder pattern, we use double-bladed shears which provide some "breathing space" between the pieces which allows room for the copper foil which will be wrapped around the glass later.  Here's an illustration of the scissors with the strip that's removed when the pattern is being cut.  (Click on photo to enlarge and look for the shadow of the strip and the space it created).

Here is the Cardinal in the jig with some of the glass cut, and a few of Chantal Pare's other bird patterns which I modified and custom-sized ... a Goldfinch, Nuthatch, Chickadee and Blue Jay.  I will decide their final placement in the window panes later, based on the direction they are facing, their colors, and the overall esthetics.
I found an amazing clear glass which has leaves etched into it.  It will make the perfect background for each of these birds.  Stay tuned to see the glass and watch these birds transform our plain back door into a colorful entryway.

Click here for Boehm Stained Glass Studio website.

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