Stained Glass Tiling: the process

Williams College student Elizabeth Jacobsen describes the process of designing and building a stained glass window from a mosaic of transparent colored glass tiles, each handpainted and kiln fired to create a unique work of art.

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2016 workshops

workshop(front)This year, I am offering week-long design and glasspainting workshops in June; 3-hour Saturday Afternoon Intensives; and a 10 week series of evening classes beginning March 10th. All at my studio in Vermont. Here’s the schedule. Application deadlines for American Glass Guild and Stained Glass Associate of America scholarships are Feb 28th and April 13th respectively.

 

In Praise of Morton

Impeccably cut glass tiles. All precisely the same size. Clean, perpendicular edges. No shelling, flares or ragged grozing. Much is handmade antique glass, including Lamberts, Blenko and some ancient English Hartley Wood streakies. Some is almost 1/4″ thick, yet the craftsmanship is exemplary and, believe it or not, cut by complete beginners – mostly without using a grinder. All thanks to the wonderful Morton glass cutting system.

I have been teaching Stained Glass Tiling at Williams College in Massachusetts every day  throughout January. Here’s the glasscutting in progress, plus some of the geometric constructions done during the first week of the course.

Students had to use a straight-edge and compass only (no rulers, protractors or computer printouts) to draw precise, accurate polygons that would nest together to form a tiling without gaps. Along the way, they figured out how to set stops and cutting bars on their Morton surface and cut multiple identical copies of the same shape.

Today, students finished copperfoiling and soldering, and started to frame their panels. Every tiles was painted and fired. More  pictures soon!

Even better, if you’re nearby, do come and see their work for real, on display in the science building at Williams College. We will be holding a reception from 1pm – 2.30pm this coming Thursday, Jan 28th, on the third floor corridor between the Physics building and the Chemistry building, above the Eco Cafe. Enter through the cafe from the Science Quad and look for signs.

 

Lunch of a Lifetime

I was giddy with the delight of meeting Sir Roger Penrose yesterday at a small luncheon for artists and scientists at Yale University. His extraordinary tiling patterns have obsessed and inspired me since I was a student at the Royal College of Art in the 1980’s. Recently I’ve been experimenting with 3D tilings using Baroque decoration to enforce Penrose’s mathematical rules. I took this model with me yesterday and had a wonderful time talking with others who are obsessed with his work.

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I also took the very last panel in my Menfolk series to show Dr. Penrose. It shows him looking down at a student through one of his aperiodic tilings, a string of Superman images, and a copy of Grunbaum and Shepherds textbook, the definitive taxonomy of tilings.

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Thanks to Laura Clarke and Site Projects Inc (who organized the events), to the Physics Dept. at Yale (for lunch), and my friends Lisa Nilsson and Denise Markonish (who tipped serendipity for me).

The Mohawk prisms

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I have a lovely project underway at the moment: new 1930’s style signage for the Mohawk Bar in North Adams, Massachusetts, to tie in with their original windows made from ribbed glass tiles. Designed to bring more daylight into the interior of stores and factories, these pressed/cast tiles were widely produced and very fashionable in the days before electric lighting.

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I adapted the classic typeface Broadway, adding ‘etched’ lines (decorative parallels on the wide strokes) to provide positions for leadlines that wouldn’t interfere with reading the text.

Thanks to colleagues David Guarducci in Great Barrington, and to Scott, Fred and Sue Shea at Stained Glass Resources (sometimes it takes a village!) I managed to get ahold of some French Verierre de Saint Gobain ruby-on-white flashed glass. The ruby surface of this two-coloured sheet glass can be etched away to expose a clear or amber underlayer.

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Sandblasting was done by my good friend and neighbor, sculptor Bill LeQuier, who also carves ocean waves in glass.

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I used black masking tape on top of contact paper to mask out the areas to be sandblasted. Next, each pane is painted and fired. My proprietary glasspainting recipe is great for obtaining solid blacks first time over the ruby background.

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Careful measurement and old-fashioned geometry.

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The existing windows are simple grids of 4″ squares. Washed and polished, they sparkle like new.

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Using a portable band saw to cut the zinc profiles.

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I’m seriously enjoying working with a new material… cutting miters, filing to precise dimensions. The zinc behaves quite differently to lead. The first panel is now assembled, ready to be soldered, puttied, patinated and polished.

More about the Mohawk project and project developers Moresi & Associates

Reception, 12-1 on Thursday, for Stained Glass Tiling

My Winter Study students will be showing their stained glass tilings at Williams College on Thursday January 29th, from 12 – 1pm. Everyone is welcome. The exhibition will be held in the 3rd floor corridor (overlooking the atrium cafe) between the Chemistry and Physics buildings. Enter the cafe from the Science Quad and look for signs. The best place to park is at the far end of the public lot across from Tunnel City Coffee.

Ten students have created unique and personal works of art. Here’s a taster: details of stained glass windows designed, cut, hand-painted, kiln-fired and assembled by Julia Damion and Ivy Ciaburri.

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Winter Study 2015: stained glass tiling at Williams College

Ten wonderful Williams College students are building stained glass tilings with me during their month-long Winter Study course this month.

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Each student has designed a panel made from repeating geometric shapes cut in coloured glass using the Morton PG01B glasscutting system.

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Some of the geometry is fairly straightforward, like a panel inspired by a grandmother’s quilt, and a regular polygon.

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Others tilings were more difficult to draw with compass and straightedge, and complex to set up on the Morton system.

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A couple of students wanted specific imagery – a racing shell, birds, leaves, snowflakes…

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One student is creating a 3D model of a particular type of carbon molecule.

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Every tile will eventually be painted and fired at least twice. This last photo shows four different projects on the light table as students shuffle with colour layout and begin glasspainting.

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Thanks to student Ben Hoyle for the better quality photos above.

More soon!