Saturday, 31 December 2011

Christmas Present

As my wife did not like the blank fanlight above our door, I decided to give her and the flat a Christmas present of a scene that I call "The West".

View from inside during the day

View from the outside at night.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Renfrew Town Hall

One more piece of work had to be fitted in before the new year.  

I have been working on various repairs to the leaded glass of the Town Hall since October.  Various work has been required, from simple cleaning of very dirty glass to extensive rebuilding of some small panels.  Protective glazing has been added to the rear entrance, and minor repairs to broken glass have been completed.

As the building neared completion, more glass was broken and needed repairs before handover.  The building company - CBC - needed to hand over the building to Renfrew Town Council before the end of the year.  Unfortunately during the work more glass was broken in the work to finish the entrance area.

So I received an appeal to come to finish the additional repairs before the 31st.

It is now done and I merely have to wait to see if there are snagging issues before I receive my first payment.  The final 5% is to be received a year after completion.  Such is the building trade.

I hope you had a good Christmas and I wish everyone the best for 2012 - I think we are going to need it.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Last Before Christmas?

Yesterday I installed my final piece of work for the year.  This was a pair of windows for a bathroom that looks onto the tenement stair well.

The client picked the image from the gallery section of my site.  We worked on the colours and final design together and produced a result pleasing to both of us.  The design is based on my "Piquant Bouquet" series of autonomous panels.

view from the stair well

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Déjà vue

It is strange how if you keep practicing in one area for a time, you get to see things a second time.  This happened to me with South park Avenue and now it has happened with a door in Scotstoun.

I first saw this door about 15 years ago as a result of pellet damage.  Approximately where the masking tape crosses below the left hand side of the central medallion, there was a hole probably caused by a pellet gun.  I did not have the expertise to fill this hole and so asked Linda Cannon - who is now part of Cannon MacInnes - to see if she could repair this with resin, which she did to great effect.  

Unfortunately during the windy weather we have been having recently, the builders working on the house left the back and front doors open.  The wind did the inevitable and blew the front door shut, breaking the glass.  As this seems to be the last of these doors in the locality, the owners are keen to have a reproduction made.

The whole window has an arts nouveau feel about it although the central image seems to come from an older time.  It is certainly worth reproducing as faithfully as possible.  Linda and are placing bids for the work.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas Show

Parade Artists completed its (now) annual Christmas Show in the Wasps Hanson St studio building last weekend.  We used the same kind of set up as last year since it  worked well then.  
The ceramics section ready for the show

The various media - Ceramics, Glass, Painting and Textiles were each set up in a group.  There were also plinths and display sections throughout the show area where the various forms were in mixed displays.

Glass section at the end of the day
Some of the paintings displayed

We were fortunate to have sponsorship from Kopparberg and also to have Supper in the Suburbs provide a  pop-up cafe

Some of the Kopparberg and some of the baking from Supper in the Suburbs

Some visitors enjoying the drink and baking

Although the weather was bad on some days, people still came to the show.  The numbers of visitors and exhibitors were down on last year, but we were not down hearted as can be seen from the faces of these three artists.

You can follow Parade Artists on Facebook through out the year.  Plans for other shows will be announced there.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Acid etching

A while back I had a referral from Aberdeenshire (Thank you Gordon at Morning Glass Design) for acid etching some red flashed glass for a stair window.  The broken glass was removed by the client and taped together.  It was then sent in the post and arrived in the following state:

I copied the design by cutting into the resist to allow the hydrofluoric acid to etch away the red surface until the clear was revealed.  Because the flash was thick on two of the pieces, they were in the acid bath for a total of 6 hours over two days.

This is a picture of the panels just out of the etching process and having been cleaned, they are drying.

When dry, the remaining resist is removed and the powdered glass cleaned from the glass.  This gives the result shown below.

These have now been packed up in a plywood box with lots of cushioning and sent by courier to the owners in Turriff.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

50 Plus Show

Last Weekend I was involved in the 50+ Show to help promote Craft Scotland.  This was a last minute effort as the promoters only offered the space to Craft Scotland about 6 weeks before the show.  Selection was a hurried affair and with some being selected dropping out before the three people were selected.

When we arrived, I was surprised to find that we did not have a shell stand, just a space.  However we all set up with the materials we had.  This was the set up prior to opening on Friday.

The three crafts represented were paper making (Pulp), jewellery (Lauracet Designs) and glass (Verrier).  We all offered some hands on making of a basic kind.

The first day for me was a blur from about 11:30 when people began taking up my offer of a free basic introduction to stained glass through making copper foiled angels or Christmas trees.  The degree of activity can be noted by the fact that I got to start my lunch after the close of the show at 5:00.  I was better organised on Saturday, but still finished my lunch at 5:00.

I am not sure how much Craft Scotland got out of the show, as we all were busy and not really able to promote the sponsoring organisation as much as we should have.  The staff of Craft Scotland were in Philadelphia at a show promoting Scottish craft and the Board member who was to have come on Saturday was ill.

It was gratifying to hear some of the workshop participants say to one another that "this was the best part of the show."  I am not sure how many people will be coming to my classes and workshops as a result, but I enjoyed the process, although very busy.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Stair Windows

One of the pieces of work I have been involved with over the past weeks is the painting and staining of four windows for a stair for a glazing company.

The panel at the top (shown below) is approximately 580 mm wide by 700 mm high

The lower panel is 580 mm wide by 1090 mm high.

These required tracing paints for the main lines of the images, and shading green in addition to some shading brown for variation.  This required a number of firings to complete the high temperature phase of the firings.

The stains were of three kinds - dark amber stain, orange #1, and Yellow #3.  A considerable amount of testing was required to find the colours and then the correct intensities, as the lower panel had to be paler than the upper one.

The big kiln was a life saver in terms of time, as two could be put into the kiln at the same time, saving by a half of the firing time and cost.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Art Deco Lamp Shade

A few weeks ago a person who is renovating their 1908 architect designed house brought a lampshade to me.  The architect's daughters kept his last redecoration in the 1920's with minimal change.  This included the electrical wiring as well as the plumbing.  It has been a big project for the current owner.  He has now gotten all the fundamentals done and is able to move toward the finishing touches.  

This hanging lamp had only one side piece and the bottom left intact.  This was enough to provide a pattern for cutting the glass and give a guide for the painting.  The frame for the lamp is made from aluminium painted to appear as a corroded bronze.  Although they loved their aluminium and the crisp designs, the people of the time still wanted the items to look aged.  

In some ways this is an elegant design as the supporting arms are bolted to the base ring - the elements that appear to be feet in these photos are the base of the bolts.  The glass is then laid into the supporting ring and between the arms.  You can just see the supporting lugs at the base of the glass in the second picture. This loose fitting may also be why there were only two pieces of glass left before rescue.

The glass texture was chosen to be similar to the original in conjunction with the client.  It was then painted with an obscuring white, followed by many layers of a Reusche amber enamel to obtain the slightly orange appearance of the original.  It was an interesting project to do, as all the base and supports are not exactly symmetrical.  Each piece of glass fits one place and the base also fits only one way around.  This took a bit of adjustment as the unequal-ness was a surprise to me.  I am satisfied with the result and the client is pleased too.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Stair Window

I was called out to advise on what can be done for this stair window in Dunfirmline made around the beginning of the 20th century.  It is about 1200 mm wide and 1500 mm high.  It appears to be made in a single piece, which is very unusual.  It has 19 mm square glazing bars and you will notice that at the bottom there is an extra one, presumably for safety if anyone fell down the stairs they would not go through the window to the ground.

You can see there is internal secondary glazing up to where the round head of the window springs.  In spite of it being open at the top there is considerable condensation within the gap as you can see from this picture of a broken pane.  This makes the point that ventilation needs to be both at the top and the bottom.

The above image shows the only major break in this whole window.  There are of course small cracks here and there, but nothing obvious or likely to impair the function of the window.  The more major defect is at the bottom of the window where there has been a repair using violet instead of bronze coloured glass.

At the bottom, the window is beginning to develop an accordion style bend which is it major problem.  Had the window been built in three sections as I would expect for this size of window, the bottom section could be removed, taken to the studio to be flattened and repaired.  Trying to take this window out in a single section above a glassed in conservatory will be difficult and is bound to cause some breakage.

The owners have already decided to put a double glazing unit on the outside of this window.  This will have a gap of about 100 mm between the stained glass and the unit.  This will prevent any further ingress of water and drafts.  It will preserve the life of the window by many years without further action, but will not stabilise it.  I have made recommendations to the owners and await their response.

In addition, they have some breaks in this entrance screen.  They are all side by side, which is the most difficult to repair in situ.  So I am recommending that they let me take the panels out (filling the gap with clear glass) and repair them in the studio.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Art Deco Windows

I was called out to a house built in the early 1920's to estimate the refurbishment costs.

Downstairs Lounge

The downstairs lounge and throughout the front of the house the windows show elements of late arts nouveau stained glass made for the housing development market.

Fortunately for the new owners, the glass is in generally good condition. Three windows have breaks that need repairing and two hopper type windows need to have the bowing corrected and glazing bars installed. Most of the windows need to have the tie wires re-attached.

The unusual feature of the windows is one at the back of the house in a dark corner. It is much more in keeping with the artistic developments of the period.

Due to the extension to the house being planned at this point, this window needs to be removed and stored until the extension is complete and can be re-installed in its new location.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Guild of Master Craftsmen (and women)

I have just received a letter to say that I have been elected to membership of the Guild of Master Craftsmen. This is a long established organisation which provides quality assurance for the client and a range of services to ensure the client receives an excellent service and product and has a means to seek redress if anything were to go wrong. To be accepted my premises were inspected, the quality of work in progress was assessed, and a number of recent clients were contacted to provide information on my customer service, and their opinion of my work for them. The application then goes to the Council of the Guild for consideration.

It of course provides access to insurances and other business backup for the craftsperson.

Mostly, for me it provides an assurance for the potential client that my work is up to standard even though I not have the best website or advertisement.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Acid Etched Panel

In Glasgow and throughout Scotland - and possibly many other areas - etched glass front doors and stair windows were very popular in the mid nineteenth century. These were made on plate glass of around 8 mm thick which have proved to be pretty strong, as many of them still exist. However accidents occur, or as in this case someone threw an object which hit the glass with enough force to break it.

When it came into my hands - because I use traditional techniques rather than sandblasting - it had already been removed by a firm of glaziers who did more damage to it in getting it out. They were not aware initially of the screws that held the mouldings to the door and so damaged the moulding and more of the glass. Such is life.

This image shows the front door with the glass installed. If you wish to find out about the process you can go to this section of the blog.

The smooth reflective nature of the glass from the outside is shown in this picture. It also shows the privacy generated, as it is not possible to see what is happening inside, even at this close an approach. The apparently clear portions are subtly textured by the acid process that you can only see colours through those areas.

From the inside you notice the amount of light that is transmitted. You can see how the glass reacts to the colours outside with the view against the sky at the top having little contrast, the centre against the houses opposite having strong contrast, and at the bottom showing the green of the grass outside. The etched parts become the dark positive on the grey/white of the ground glass.

The following two images show the detail of the centre and bottom of the door panel.

central detail

bottom detail

This has been prepared on laminated glass which is a security glass. If in the future there is an accident, the interlayer will hold the glass together and prevent any entry through the glass or injury to anyone from falling or protruding glass.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Porch Door

Having previously completed the complete rebuild of a window for a sagging frame, I was asked to provide a reproduction front door. This involved removing the dark timber cladding of the door to reveal the original opening in the door.

This is the completed panel installed.

General view, outside

Inside view

Detail of the painting

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Stair Window

Monday I was called out to give an estimate on repairing windows. This stair window is characteristic of stair windows created in the latter half of the 19th century.

In this general view of the window you can see the quality of the fittings of the house, for example, the newel post in the lower right of the photo, and the hanging plaster work in the upper right.

The window is interesting not only in its subject - literature and the arts - but in its technical aspects.

The glass has been ground before the painting has been done. The firings must have been quite low and few to retain the ground surface. It is so fine that it feels similar to touching velvet. I will need to do a number of tests to achieve the same result.

At the bottom left is the panel that has been shattered and needs replacement. The need to reproduce the panel with the paint loss that the rest of the window has had, will be another challenge. Assuming I get the work.

I should also look up the meaning of the Latin motto at the bottom of the window to help my interpretation of the window.

Possibly it means "Fortune [luck] has no divine power"

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Castleton House

Through an oversight when starting this blog, I left out the developments at a large house in the west of Scotland, Castleton House. The new owner who extensively restored the house engaged an interior designer, Claire Craig to assist with the development.

The owner had purchased a number of medallions at auction and wanted them reset into a large skylight over the stair landing. After discussion it was decided to set them into a traditional glazing pattern.

A number of the pieces were of birds.

And one was of roses

There also were two medallions of women in classical dress that both needed repair and restoration.


Discussions led to the decision to make a series of four medallions - one for each side of the skylight - representing areas of endeavour as would be in keeping with the period of the house.

Art as Purchased at Auction

The areas decided upon were, Art, Music, Literature and Science. As these were to form a series and as the face for Music needed to be completely repainted, it was decided to paint all the faces and any replacement backgrounds to give a unity to the whole installation.

Brian Waugh was chosen to do the painting and his success can be seen in the following photos.




These were installed at Castleton House by the joinery company Elmwood in this skylight. As you can see, part of the problem was to ensure the quarry glazing pattern matched all the way around the skylight.

In addition to his purchase of the medallions, the owner also obtained the two panels below at a very reasonable price. The job was to make use of the glass as best as possible in a new setting beside the front door.

There was extensive damage to the glass at the borders. It was not possible to determine what the partial figures might have been depicted as doing. After consultation, it was decided to make use of the central Justice and Prudence sections in one decorative panel set into a quarry glazing pattern for the window.

The extensive damage and inappropriate insertions can be seen from the photos below.

You can also see the amount of fine leading that was required. The whole of the two panels were taken apart. New pieces were painted where required, and the whole re-leaded.

A further requirement was that the window needed to be able to be installed in a curved window opening to fit with the whole of the curved entrance hall to house. Curved glazing bars were provided to assist with the installation.

This photograph shows part of the entrance with the cloakroom door at the bottom of the stair. The setting of the two panels without their borders can be seen in their quarry glazing at the foot of the stair.