Friday, April 25, 2014

Stained Glass Backyard Wild Birds #1

For the past several weeks, I've been designing and creating a variety of wild bird panels for my customer in Omaha, Nebraska.  She is a fellow bird lover who saw my bird panels on my website and asked me to create 15 panels for her newly renovated kitchen.  This post will cover the first eight of the 15 birds.

Using photographs of birds, I custom designed all but 4 of the 15 panels.  Canadian designer Chantal Pare designed the Blue Jay, Baltimore Oriole, Nuthatch, and the Chickadee.  (I modified each of her designs, particularly her Nuthatch design). She is what we call an "angel designer" in that she offers her work online for stained glass artists to create limited copies.  I've recreated many of her designs through the years.  Please check out her work .. She maintains over 40 websites!

Here are some notes and photos regarding the creation of some of the bird-themed panels.

Below, I've designed a Downy Woodpecker and have traced it onto a piece of manila folder.  I then numbered and added the color for each piece.  The backgrounds of each bird panel are done with clear Artique glass.

The outer border of the manila pattern was cut with standard scissors.  The inner pieces, however, are cut with stained glass cutting shears which leave a small channel of space which will be taken up later by the copper foil.

Here, I've used my oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter to run a straight score on the Artique glass.  I'm tapping the score line repeatedly until the glass "loosens" enough to split.  This technique can be used for any cuts which are reasonably straight.  Once the straight cut is done, I go back in with a special stained glass tool called a "grozier" which chunks out the glass.

Next, I grind the edges of the glass with a Glastar grinder.  The purple sponge wicks up water from the reservoir below to keep the drill bit wet.  I'm wearing "rubber fingers" to protect my fingers from cuts and to keep a good grip on the glass.

These bird panels required several piece of glass to be cut with my Gryphon Omni saw.  They were too detailed to cut by hand.  This saw is very loud and a bit intimidating for beginners, but it does a fantastic job.

Back to hand-cutting, I'm leaning the cutting edge of the pistol grip cutters along a flat plastic ruler.  This assures a straight line.

Below, I've used a blue pair of "running pliers" to snap the glass where I just scored it.

 Below, the glass has been cut for the Cardinal pair.  Below that is the Chickadee, ready for glass to be laid on top of the "cartoon" or pattern.  Note that I work with my full-color renditions which I generate on the computer, for color and glass matching for each bird.
Here is one of the four birds designed by Chantal Pare, a Baltimore Oriole. You may purchase a set of her "Backyard Bird" stained glass patterns by clicking here.  With the exception of Chantal's designs as noted, all the other patterns are my originals, created from photographs.  All are ©Copyright Boehm Stained Glass Studios, not to be used without express permission of the artist.

And here is my computer rendition of her design.

And here is my completed panel.

Here is Chantal's Chickadee.

Here is my modified computer rendition.

And here is my completed panel.

When designing birds, or any animals, I work with a photograph of the bird or animal, to make it more lifelike. 

I have created a total of twelve stained glass birds to date for my customer.  A few of the panels have two birds depicted.  The birds represented are the Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Chickadee, Titmouse, Baltimore Oriole, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Evening Grosbeak, Dark Eyed Junco, Cardinal pair, and House Finch pair.
Below, I'm soldering the Dark Eyed Junco while wearing a lead-protectant mask.  I also have a carbon filter fan running against hazardous fumes.

After soldering each bird, I spray each panel with a specialized cleaner called "Kwik-Clean".

Here, I've washed the panel with Kwik-Clean and I'm giving it a rinse under water.  Shown is the Evening Grosbeak and the Ruby Throated Hummingbird panel.

Below, I'm applying black patina to the Oriole.

The patina also must be cleaned off.  After it is fully dry, I apply Livia brand stained glass polish to the panels, front and back.
 I've been shipping the birds as I complete them, four at a time, to Omaha.  I'm at the half way point with four more birds due to arrive in Omaha tomorrow.  I've started making the patterns for the next group of birds, the Towhee, Nuthatch, Lazuli Bunting and a pair of Goldfinches.  Stay tuned .. More birds on the way!

See a short video of all the birds .. Click here.   All images are copyright © Boehm Stained Glass Studio or Chantal Pare and may not be used without permission. 

Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

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