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.

 

Spreading the Word – Worldwide

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This is my class from last week’s workshop in Oregon, and my most recent opportunity to spread the word. It’s been exactly 10 years since I started teaching glasspainting with propylene glycol (read the story here). I’m proud to see my techniques adopted worldwide now, with a huge following in 45 different countries.

It’s especially rewarding to see how many artists have adopted my methods and made them their own. In particular I’d like to thank Williams and Byrne whose generous sharing of my video three years ago brought several new students to study with me. Soon after they published this wonderfully helpful comparison between oil and propylene glycol as part of a multi-layering technique, which I highly recommend.

Coming soon, a dropbox folder of last week’s workshop. In the meantime, check out my January 2015 Williams College student’s work – all phenomenal first time glasspainters, or professional development workshops, this info folder on my website or teaching resources page.

Three Weeks ’til my Oregon Workshop

There’s just one last spot available in my summer glasspainting workshop in Oregon, June 15-19 More information from Fusion Headquarters or contact me directly via my website.  I’m so looking forward to being on the West Coast again and sharing my techniques.

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Above, some of my students’ glasspainting, all done during past workshops. You may also check out my first-time stained glass students at Williams College, find out more by scrolling through this folder which includes a brief history of my technique, or watch a 2min real-time video of me painting glass with propylene glycol on my vimeo page.

June Workshop in Oregon

I’m very happy to be teaching a 5-day glasspainting workshop at Fusion Headquarters in Newburg, Oregon, June 15-19. It’s a long time since I visited the West Coast and I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting some new ones.

Stained glass by Debora Coombs for St Mary's Cathedral, Portland, Oregon 1995-98

“Old Friends” includes 18 Catholic saints and blessed, several of whom have been canonized since I painted their portraits in St Mary’s Cathedral on NW Davis in Portland in 1997. It’ll be curious -and wonderful I hope, to revisit the project that spurred our immigration to the US.

Go to Fusion Headquarters for workshop info or to register.

Watch (a much younger) me painting the saints for St Mary’s Cathedral

More about Stained Glass Tiling

Winter Study 2015 at Williams College: Stained Glass Tiling. Instructor Debora CoombsClasses were held over 19 days during the month of January (that included a field trip and final exhibition) and there were 10 students. I gave presentations and/or specific instruction each morning we held class. Students were required to put in a minimum of fifteen additional hours per week on their own time. Many worked weekends as well, clocking up a lot of hours.

The assignment was to design a stained glass panel using one or two regular convex polygons that fitted together to form a two or three-dimensional tiling pattern plus a border that could be of various shapes. Each piece of glass was to be fired at least twice and the decoration of the prototile/s should repeat.

Aglaia Ho put together a series of slides that logged her process, from early geometry to sculptural soldering. Watch here AglaiaHo

Each student started from scratch with no prior experience. They learned how to cut glass; carve stamps from lino; paint and print on glass with a variety of tools; to copper foil, assemble and solder; and to frame their panels with zinc. Students worked as a team to hang their exhibition, make posters, art cards, and publicize the event.

We took a field trip to MASS MoCA to see Filthy Lucre and All Utopias Fell, then drove up to Vermont to visit my studio and have dinner.