With a rare gap in my work schedule, I finally had time to create a special gift for a friend for whom the Cardinal has great meaning.
I rendered the design from a photograph as shown below ..
Here's my color rendition.
Tracing the pattern onto a Manila folder, using carbon paper as shown.
Pattern pieces are cut using specialized stained glass pattern shears. They leave a thin strip between each piece which allows room for the copper foil which will follow later.
Tracing the patterns onto the glass ..
Using an oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter to cut the pieces.
Mid-project .. A bunch of pattern pieces and cut glass ready to be made into a beautiful bird.
A few of the cuts were too intricate to cut by hand, so I used my wet band saw.
All of the glass has been cut and laid on the pattern or "cartoon".
Applying adhesive 7/32" black back copper foil to the edges of each piece of glass. Here I'm burnishing the edges with a "fid" or flat plastic wand.
Etching my name, month and date onto the back of the tail piece. Since the front is textured glass, the engraving won't be visible.
In order to prepare for soldering, I've locked each piece in place by pressing pushpins into my Homasote work surface.
Applying liquid flux to the copper foil. This is a catalyst which enables the solder to flow freely.
I've "tack soldered" the pieces together so that I can remove the push pins and slide out the "cartoon" or paper pattern.
Now the Cardinal is fully soldered, front and back and edges.
To improve the stability and strength of the sun catcher, I soldered a single length of thin copper wire completely around the border as shown.
Next I'm creating a hanging hook using 20 gauge copper wire which I wrap around a metal brush as shown.
I placed the "legs" of the hook onto one of the solder lines and extended the loop over the edge. After all the soldering was completed, I gave the entire piece a good cleaning with a flux neutralizing spray.
Applying black patina to the solder. It works instantly, After it set for a bit, I washed off the excess. No chemicals will remain by the end of the process.
And here is the finished Cardinal! When I render any animal or bird in glass, I always make a transparent eye. It gives the piece that spark of life when the light shines through.
Another view with his shadow.
This view shows the textures of the glass.
And here he is, proudly adorning the front window of my friend's home. Thanks so much Marty, for your kind words when I surprised you with the Cardinal. May you and your family enjoy him for years to come!
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