Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Hoard: Stained Glass Primer Volumes 1 and 2

While teaching "Glass Cutting - All Levels" with Molly at Pennsic, she mentioned two books she recommends for new glass artists, different from the one I usually recommend. I grabbed them this week to look over.

Stained Glass Primer (Vol 1): The Basic Skills
Peter Mollica
All around an excellent book, in my opinion. As Molly had told our students, it IS dated. He described, at depth, the creation of leaded panels, and gives an overview of copper foil technique. His glossary is worth a read in it's own right. The dated portions are the tools and chemistry (well, and the typewritten text); he uses tools that are very traditional, and I think most people learning today use newer versions (lead cutting pliers instead of a lead knife, for example). He also references oleic acid as a flux, which works fine but is greasy and hard to clean up. More modern chemistry provides fluxes that are much easier to clean. The technique was all good, however! I appreciate the fact that he prefaces the book with "There are many alternatives, but this is what works for me" in essence. A skinny but packed book, I read it in under an hour.

Stained Glass Primer (Vol. 2): Advanced Skills and Annotated Bibliography
Peter Mollica
Also an excellent book. This one covers painting and staining heavily (Me being me, I noticed his date for the discovery of silver stain was 100+ years late. Research is a LOT easier for me today than it was for him in the 70s though!). He covers actually installing your window, which I've never seen before and, frankly, has always been a mystery for me. I've never tried to fit an existing embrasure because I had no idea how to do it and no one seems to cover it. He also discusses reinforcing, saddlebars, etc that is of definite interest to a SCAdian glassworker. He gives a recipe for easel wax but I'm not going anywhere near it...

He has some interesting books in his bibliography. I look forward to ordering some of them, too! Have to make Amazon Prime worth it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Texture...texture... the word even feels funny

I am a heavily color-focused person.

I love cathedral glass. It's what I work with 99% of the time. Opalescents lack something to me... it's almost like they are trying to deny their translucent, glassy nature. Don't get me wrong, they are beautiful, and I've spent considerable time drooling over Tiffany-era panels and lamps. But it isn't what inspires me and I rarely feel called to work with those glasses. Though, when I do, Youghiogheny cuts SO well for me. I really CAN appreciate them.

I recently made a small panel for my office, the first time in 8 years I've made a glass object for myself and actually kept it. I was focused, as I often am, on the colors. After staring at it for a few weeks I discovered some beautiful contrasts in the textures that I wish I could tell you were a conscious effort.

This is one vertical quarter of the Flag of the City of Chicago. The blue and red are two colors in the same texture. I'm not sure who makes it, but I intend to find out because it has a beautiful hammered effect in the sunlight.

I had originally chosen a Baroque clear/white glass for the white portions of the flag, because I was focused on the white content without wanting to use a truly opaque glass. I ended up not having enough and switched to a sheet of glue chip I had handy. After staring at it I'm finding that from almost any angle the dense glue chipping has an excellent "white" appearance that I discounted. The contrast between the glue chipping and the "hammered" blue and red gives a beautiful layered effect I hadn't intentionally designed into the panel.

I am trying to take this as a lesson for my modern work, to start giving texture the attention it is due, and not just the colors.

Quick Update (Post-Pennsic)

Had a great time teaching at Pennsic. I'm still trying to clean up class notes before I send them out. I don't want to wait too much longer, however, before something happens and the list of e-mails is destroyed.

Between my own classes and co-teaching with Lady Moll I had seven classes (six glass), and two demo days. It was a busy war!

I've posted an update to my "A&S 50 challenge accepted" post, showing two items that have since been completed and an update to my master page for my A&S 50 challenge listing the projects so far.

I have a couple new books to review, but I will wait until tomorrow after I finish the one.

I'm signed up to teach at Fall Rum and Rendezvous at the Bridge. I'm also hoping to do an A&S 50 display for the first time, at Fall Crown. That's assuming my duties as autocrat let me slip away for 5 minutes to set up my display!