We worked together to come up with the colors and the glass. For the water, we chose Spectrum aqua and blue Water Glass and also wispy blue and white, which was a nice complement to it. To provide a realistic effect, the glass colors that we chose for the fish and flower are a mix of opal, streaky, Cathedral, and granite. The window is approximately 33" wide and 24" tall. We sized it to exactly fit in the window.
Here's the process: (Click on any photo to enlarge for a closer look)
Here's my "work" image .. The fabric wall hanging from which I designed the fish and the flower.
To make the glass cutting pattern, I use a 3-layer process. On the bottom are side-by-side file folders taped at the edges, then a layer of carbon paper, then the "cartoon" or paper pattern.
Here I'm tracing the pattern onto the file folders below, using the color computer rendition as my guide for marking the colors.
I organize the pattern pieces by color. They are sorted into recycled junk mail envelopes. Here I'm tracing the patterns onto the glass using a silver Sharpie pen. I generally cut all of one color at a time,
Using a pistol-grip oil filled glass cutter to score the glass along the line.
Tapping the metal end of the cutter onto the score line to "loosen" the glass and have it crack,
Sometimes I'll use these "running pliers" to snap a score.
After each piece of glass is cut, I run it through my electric grinder. The grinding bit is wet to reduce glass dust and keep it from overheating. Notice that I'm wearing rubber fingers, available at any office supply store.
Some cuts can't be done by hand. Here I'm using my Omni Gryphon electric saw to make a few difficult cuts. This is also a wet saw. Tip: Cover the outlines with inexpensive lip balm so that the water does not wash the lines off.
Now all the glass has been cut. After cutting, it is always necessary to spend time trimming glass so that the pieces fit well. They should not be too tight or too loose. Notice that the window is surrounded by a "fence" or metal frame. This prevents the glass from shifting and keeps it "square" for the metal frame which follows later. The fence is "nailed" to the porous work surface below it with push pins.
After the braiding is in place, I "tack solder" the pieces. This means I apply liquid flux to all the copper foil. Flux is a liquid which promotes the even flow of the solder. Once the entire front of the window is fluxed, I go back and add a dot of solder at random intersections all over the piece. This locks the glass in place.
With the fence in place, I soldered the corners of the window. I also added a drop of solder to the end of the lead line, attaching it to the frame on both sides. This stabilizes and strengthens the window. After I've soldered all four corners of the front and attached all the lead lines, I carefully release the fence and turn the window over. Then I do the same on the opposite side. After each soldering session, I clean it all again with Kwik-Clean Spray. The chemicals used in this process are highly toxic. I wear a mask and use a ventilating fan and I wash my hands with a special soap which removes any traces of lead.
After the window is clean and dry, I apply Novacan Black Patina to the solder using a metal acid brush. I take the patina from the bottle cap as shown, so as not to contaminate the bottle. When the front is patina-ed, I turn it over the patina the back. I use the same patina for the zinc frame.
UPDATE: September 12, 2015
This morning, we had the pleasure of installing the koi fish window in Marie's renovated porch. Here are a few photos of my husband Eric at work ... Enjoy!
Here's the koi fish window, wrapped in a beach towel as Eric prepares for the installation.
Here he's applying clear silicone caulk to the side borders of the panel.
And here's the window, installed in the room ..
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!