For every custom window, we collaborate to come up with a design. This was the winner, one of Ed Sibbet's, a well-published pattern designer. Next I create several full color renditions of the design, using the color palette chosen by my customer. Here are a few of the options I presented.
Here's the dining room showing both windows.
The palette of glass to be used on the project.
The pattern making process. The bottom layer is Manila folders, the middle layer is carbon paper, and the top layer is the "cartoon" or printed pattern. I trace all of the numbers and lines onto the folders, as well as the colors.
I use regular scissors to cut the outer border. Then I use specialized double-bladed pattern shears to separate the pieces. These leave a small area which will be taken up later by the copper foil.
As pattern pieces are cut, I separate them by color and organize them into recycled junk mail envelopes.
Here's the cartoon, laying flat on my Homasote work surface. Homasote is a sound-proofing building material which accepts pushpins and has just the right amount of "give" for glass cutting. Notice that there is a "fence" or "jig" around the border. These aluminum strips will stay in place throughout the process. They prevent the glass from shifting as I work.
Each pattern piece gets traced onto a piece of glass, then cut out.
More pieces ready for cutting.
In some cases, the curves are too deep to safely cut by hand. That's when I use my wet ring saw as shown.
Moving onto the clear glass .. Several pieces traced and ready for cutting.
More clear ready. The purple tool is an oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter which is my primary hand cutting implement.
Now I'm cutting the light amber pieces. I'm creating both windows simultaneously, cutting all of one color at one time.
Here's my ring saw next to my grinder with several more amber pieces.
One of the center medium amber pieces half cut. Love the colors in this glass.
Using a circle cutter for the round red pieces.
Here's window "A" with all the glass cut ..
And here's window "B" with all the glass cut.
After all the glass is cut, its always necessary to trim the pieces for a proper fit. Here I'm placing one of the pieces in place after trimming it.
Applying the 7/32" adhesive copper foil to the center edge of each piece of glass.
Using a "fid" or flat plastic wand to burnish the foil onto the glass.
More foiling. You can see in the background that nearly all of the window has now been foiled.
Before I foil the "signature piece", I use an electric engraver to etch my name, month and year into the glass.
The next steps are to apply liquid flux to the foil. Then I "tack solder" the glass together at the junctions and randomly throughout the window. Once the pieces are locked, I remove the aluminum "fence" and slide out the "cartoon". I did this for both windows.
Then I solder the front of each window. Then my husband Eric custom-cuts the zinc frame for each window.
I put the aluminum frame back on, to secure the new frame. Then I solder it in place at the corners and at the lead lines, as shown.
Here's one of the hanging hooks, soldered in place.
Now I'm applying liquid black patina to the solder. After its allowed to set, I wash it off with a neutralizing spray.
Here's one of the two windows which has just been patina-ed. After the patina is dry, I apply stained glass finishing compound which is a light wax.
Here is one of the windows, completed ..
And here is the other one!
And here are both together