In the process of making stained glass there are two stages where the glass is easeled up against the daylight. First, when selecting glass, then later, when glasspainting. Easeling glass is time-consuming and thus expensive, so why do this?
Here’s my current work for All Saints Chapel at Carroll College in Helena Montana. Note how the opalescent glasses change at night/dusk. This is an effect that can only be estimated, whether on light table or easel, because my north-facing easel does not precisely mimic the light in Montana. The easel does, however, take out a lot of the guesswork.
Yesterday was a spectacular day in the studio, working with my smart and lovely studio assistant, Katie Bullock. I’m working with Oster’s Ancient Winchester silverstain fired face-up in my Hoaf Speedburn kiln to create a marvelous blue-tinged mirrored image that breathes a golden haze around each individual print.
Both the mirroring and areas of carefully chosen opalescent glass will be visible from inside the chapel after dark, when the rest of the stained glass goes black.
Annotating the geometric layout to make it easier to print the repeating motifs onto glass.
Katie printing multiples of the vesica pisces petal motif using the annotated grid as a guide. The petals are overlaid in a very specific fashion that results in a spiraling sunburst.
Placing painted glass on trays ready to be fired. The silverstain looks opaque at this stage.
Above, a tray of fired glass. Below, various reflections.
Thanks again a hundred-fold to Cliff Oster, who formulated this stain for me back in 2005 when I was working on stained glass for St Mary’s Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. I can control the colour density and value via different methods of application; or by altering the viscosity of the paint; or by shifting the proportions of water to propylene glycol in the paint thinning process. This one silverstain, Ancient Winchester, can create beautiful, transparent colour ranging from a ‘barely there’ pale lemon yellow to deep amber brown. I can also control (to some extent) the different levels of bleed and irridescence or mirroring by changing my kiln temperature and firing conditions. On top of all that, the clay carrier washes off easily and never sticks to the glass. In this particular application for Carroll College chapel the reverse of the glass (some of which may be seen closeup when the windows are installed) looks like mirrored copper. We were made for each other, me and Ancient Winchester, and I never use any other silverstains.