Flipping the first panel…


Yes! I’ve just finished soldering the first side of the first panel for Trinity Episcopal. Here it is face down on the bench, flipped over ready to solder the back. I always love seeing the reverse of a panel, all shiny and neat, and to glimpse the finished window for the first time. It’s a whole new viewpoint!


…and it’s surprisingly rigid for a half-soldered window..

glazing3Marching onward! Eight more panels to glaze, putty, and install before winter

A great week!

2013 design & glasspainting workshop in Vermont – such a productive and enjoyable week! Thanks to Linda Zochirack for these photos.

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The first two days were spent learning design via Powerpoint presentations and hands-on drawing. Working from reference material they’d chosen or brought with them, each student made a cartoon (full-size black & white shaded drawing), a cutline (a working drawing that looks a bit like a dressmakers pattern), and a thumbnail sized watercolour sketch to help with glass selection.

As I keep on saying, successful stained glass is a marriage between art and structure; between colour, line, imagery, and lead. This first part of the workshop is for creative decision-making, for working all this out on paper first. I showed students how to draw a traceline that is a fresh, creative interpretation of their drawing/photo and how to design a panel from separate pieces of glass with leadlines.

Everyone pretty much accomplished this by the cut-off time, 4pm Tuesday, and the evening was spent furiously cutting glass. Since I’m not teaching fabrication I don’t mind if students cannot cut. Either I’ll do it, or another student will help. I’ve taught this workshop many times and it always seems to work out OK, everyone has a panel ready by the end of the day.

The rest of the week was spent painting glass. On Weds, specific instruction on mixing, slaking, thinning and applying glasspaint with a whole variety of tools and techniques, plus group exercises and demos. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, students worked on their own projects. Scroll through the folder to see what was accomplished. A successful six days’ work all round!

As requested, I have updated my Resources page with info about tools, materials and suppliers. There’s also a link to my Notes for Students. More? Watch glass painting demos in real time on my Vimeo page and the whole process of making a stained glass panel in these two video shorts Menfolk Part 1 (6 mins) and Menfolk Part 2 (8 mins). Enjoy!

Wonderful workshop in session

How to paint stained glass; Stained glass design & painting workshop with Debora Coombs in session

Stained glass design & painting workshop in session, Aug 2013, Readsboro, Vermont

5 brilliant students at my studio this week watching one of 4 glasspainting demonstrations (so far) right on the heels of 3 slide presentations during  2 days of intensive design instruction. The next few days will be spent completing their own panels or special projects.

From left to right:  Nancy Katz stained glass designer for Wilmark Studios in  Shelburne MA; Stained glass artist Nancy Gong from Rochester NY; Canadian stained glass artist and restorer Jody Martin from Calgary, Alberta; artist Sam Myers from Massachusetts and glasspainter Linda Zochirack (behind the camera) from Pennsylvania.

See photos of student work and more…

Glasspainting complete!

Thanks to Rev Sharon Gracen and Sandy Baldwin from Trinity Episcopal for bringing such enthusiasm to my studio on Wednesday as I finalized the glasspainting. Now a new set of skills come into play as I start leading up… each of these 1,200-odd pieces of hand-painted glass need to be fixed together to create a single 10.5ft stained glass window.


No more amateur videos for now, instead watch (or re-watch) Menfolk Part 2 to see how I remove glass from the easel, chip off beeswax, fire the kiln and walk the dog!

Above, I’ve started to assemble the first panel. I’m so happy to be here!


Glasspainting at the easel (videos)

IMG_2609As promised,  here’s a little insight into my wet matting technique. Propylene glycol allows the glasspaint to remain wet (“open”) for much longer than a traditional mix, so I can create graduated shadows while the paint is still wet. I can also leave some areas of the glass completely clear to maintain the sparkle. Watch me apply and manipulate a wet matter in real time in this two minute video  Glass Painting at the Easel Part 1 and brush back the dry matte to remove highlights in Glasspainting at the Easel Part 2 (2.5 mins).

I am painting glass that has been previously painted, fired and fixed onto clear glass easel plates with a mixture of beeswax and rosin (how this is done). Working at the easel with my painted glass up against natural light (not on a light table) allows me to manipulate the transparency/opacity of each piece, add final shadows, and see the window as a whole.