Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Parakeet Stained Glass

My next project is a commission for a gift which features an adorable chipmunk.  I'll be back soon with the beginnings of the chipmunk's design and pattern making process.  But in the meantime, I'll post a small project I completed in January, a 10-1/2" x 13" stained glass rendition of our little parakeet, BeeBee.  Here he is. (Click on any photo to enlarge).
BeeBee came to us a year ago April after the passing of my dear Uncle Arthur at age 95. BeeBee has had a chronic respiratory ailment for nearly a full year, despite us bringing him to 2 vets, 2 visits each, and subjecting him to 3 different medications.  He's beaten all the odds and we love the little guy dearly.
Here is the original pattern by my favorite pattern maker, Chantal Pare, a Canadian stained glass artist.
I wanted to focus on one bird, so I modified the pattern as shown below.  I also wanted to "lighten" up the feet, so I modified them as well.
Here is the pattern making process, showing simple carbon paper pinned to the homasote work surface, and then traced onto a manila folder which is then cut into pattern pieces to mark and number the glass for cutting.
Below is the glass, all cut and ready for foiling.  The blue glass chosen for the bird's breast and the earthy tan for the branch and beak were given to me by a friend who has not done stained glass for 30 years.  I love the idea of using old glass mixed in with new.
I also love the glass for the wing, a wispy white and blue which I cut to show a pattern similar to his real feathers.  When doing pet portraits in glass, its all about realism, particularly with textures and colors.
Notice that the glass is held in place by a metal fence, or "jig".
And below is the piece after copper foil has been wrapped around the edges of each piece of glass.  I used two different widths of foil on this piece since many of the pieces were small.  Its a better idea to use thinner foil on small pieces so that the solder does not overwhelm the design.
The piece was soldered .. and then lightly scrubbed with Comet and a brush, and rinsed off, as seen below.
Below, see the patina process which is simply brushing the chemical onto the clean and dry solder lines.  Black is traditional and my preference for this panel, but silver, copper and brass patinas are also available.
And here is the finished tribute to our little feathered buddy, BeeBee.  I etched his name in the upper left .. and my name and the date at the bottom.  It now hangs in our kitchen where BeeBee spends his day watching the outdoor flock who come to feed outside the window. He also has a squirrel visitor who comes up to sit on the window sill near his cage.
Pet portraits make unique, lovely gifts and are available in any size.  With virtually unlimited colors and textures of glass, I can make your pet look realistic and one-of-a-kind, even from an existing pattern such as I used here.  I can also work with photographs of pets .. Call us to discuss pricing and options, 201-600-1616 and click here to visit my website to see other animal and bird-themed windows.  Thank you!