Copper Foil Work…
Is stained glass expensive?
Costing a Piece of Stained Glass Art
The simple answer is that producing a beautiful piece of stained glass art takes quality materials, lots of time and plenty of skill. Oh, and a little blood, sweat and tears along the way!
What's involved in making a unique piece of stained glass art?
People are often surprised by the cost of stained glass art so I find it helpful to use this example to explain how it’s made and then I can let you draw your own conclusions! This was a recent project which was a collaboration with a local artist. My part in the project was to replicate her beautiful watercolour into a stained glass art panel. The stages are the same for most of my work.
Stage 1 - Planning
we will call the artist the customer, her name is Gill Pearsons by the way! Gill sent me the watercolour so that I could first of all draw up the pattern. We had a couple of follow up conversations around the size, the colour of glass, whether the piece would be framed or not and when we needed to have it finished by.
Stage 2 - Creating the Pattern
I create all of my own patterns either freehand or from photographs using my ipad and a design package. In this case the watercolour informed the pattern. The pattern was then cut and the individual pieces stuck onto the relevant coloured glass.
Stage 3 - Glass Cutting
This is the fun part! A glass cutter is used to score the glass around the pattern pieces and then a pair of special plyers are used to break the glass along the score line. Many plasters can be used during this stage!
Stage 4 - Grinding
It is important that each piece of glass fits well within the pattern so a grinding machine is used to grind down any sharp edges, ensure pieces fit the puzzle and provide a good clean surface to help the copper foil adhere well.
Stage 5 - Copper Foiling
A special copper foil with a sticky side is then cut to the size of each individual piece and carefully wrapped around it and then burnished to make sure the surface is flat and the tape flush to the glass.
Stage 6 - Soldering
Once all the pieces are pinned to a board to stop them moving flux is applied which will help the solder flow smoothly where the copper lines are. Just like learning to cut glass, soldering to get a nice round bead takes lots of practice and patience!
Stage 7 - Finishing
Now that the artwork has been created it is time to thoroughly clean off the flux and dry the piece ready to take patina if this is being used. I often used black patina as this makes the colours of the glass really pop. Once the patina has changed the colour of the solder lines then the piece is ready to be cleaned and buffed to a shine with a polish.
Stage 8 - Framing
Not all pieces are frames but in this case I cut a zinc frame which I incorporated loops for hanging and added black patina and a final polish.
Browse the Gallery
Looking for inspiration? Take a look at what I've created so far on my gallery pages then if you see anything you like or you have your own ideas, just contact me to order or discuss further.
Want to know more? If you have a request or enquiry? I'm all ears!
I hope that we have the opportunity to meet in person at a show, workshop or event and perhaps sit down with a cuppa together to discuss your requirements!
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