Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chipmunk Stained Glass

My current commission is a small adorable chipmunk panel, a personalized house-warming gift from my customer to his friend.  We worked together to come up with this very unique gift.

His initial idea was to have two chipmunks holding a scroll with the personalization on the scroll.  Since he requested the piece to be small, about 7-1/2" x 6", we had to cut back to one chipmunk ..Two would have made the glass pieces too tiny.  But this one chipmunk has a lot of personality! 

Here's where we started .. This is the original chipmunk pattern as drawn by Canadian artist Chantal Pare, whose designs I've used often.
I then flipped the chipmunk to face the left and added the scroll. It was my customer's request to add the little red beret.  This is what makes my work so much fun! Here's the full-color computer rendition of what the finished piece will look like:
As soon as this design got the "thumbs up", I ordered a wrought iron display stand for the piece.  I had to wait for the stand to arrive so that I could precisely measure the opening and make the panel the correct size. My software enables me to size stained glass panels to within a fraction of an inch.

Here is the pattern after I traced it onto a manila folder.  My software not only generates the pattern in exact dimensions but it numbers each piece as well.  This panel has 41 pieces of glass. I cut out each pattern piece, traced each one onto the glass, cut each piece of glass, and laid them on the paper pattern. 
Some of the pieces are very small .. What could be smaller than a chipmunk's nose?  So, I used some glass from my "shards" drawer, a collection of many kinds, colors, and textures of glass.
Notice that this panel has several curvy cuts .. Here's a quick illustration of how to cut an inside curve of glass.  It has to be scored in arcs, bit by bit, and the glass broken out carefully with grozier pliers. You can see the scores I've made beneath the curve, below.  (Click on any photo to enlarge). 
And here he is, with the glass all cut.  I call this the "ugly duckling" phase.  Without the light shining through, you won't see the true colors of the piece, but I know it will be beautiful when its taken off the work surface. When making stained glass renditions of animals, its always a good idea to use cathedral (clear colored) glass for the eyes, as I've done here.  It will give the chipmunk that spark of life.
The next step will be to add copper foil to the edges of each piece of glass.  Then I'll solder the piece, clean it, and frame it with metal channel.  My husband Eric will prepare a personalized clear decal, in my customer's font of choice, which will fit on the scroll.  Stay tuned for these steps .. This little guy will be completed soon.

To see more of my work, visit Boehm Stained Glass Studio website by clicking here.   Thank you!

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