Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm back!

I had to put my stained glass project on hold for a few weeks - the house needed a serious overhaul and then I had a family emergency that I had to fly home to take care of.  However, today I got back into the swing of things and began moving forward.

I decided that I still wasn't happy with the layout around the yoshi egg - it just seemed off kilter somehow.  So I did a google image search for egg.  I found one that leaned in the correct direction and changed it out for my background.  I then used that image to trace the outline of an egg:

This makes for a final pattern of:

I'm much happier with the way the yoshi egg looks.

Now that I have my final pattern, I have to decide on how big to make the piece.  My first thought was to go roughly 11x14.  However, this made the pattern way too big:

Credit goes to Alex's hand, which was used for scale.

I decided to shrink the pattern down a bit, and I think I'm happier with the result:

Again, credit goes to Alex's hand, which obviously needs a bath.

Now that I have the size of pattern that I want, I need to print out another copy for a total of two copies.  One copy of the pattern will be tacked to the homasote board, and one copy will be cut up, with each individual piece glued to glass to give a precise pattern for cutting.  As you can see in the previous picture, I've already begun numbering each piece on this copy.  This pattern is somewhat ambitious with a total of 77 pieces of glass.  

The pattern I'm attaching to the homasote has more information on it:

Each piece here has three items of information.  The piece number, which matches the piece number in the previous picture, a color designation, and an arrow showing the direction of the glass.  I will be using some glass that has swirls and patterns to it.  When I use glass like that, I need to decide what direction the swirls will be facing, and this is the best time to make that decision.  Of course, if things don't look right, I reserve the right to change my mind at anytime. 

Now that I have filled in both patterns, I need to attach one to the homasote board.  

I'm using specialized metal bars that will not attach to solder - which will be very important later on.

Now, I'm ready to begin the fun part of the process, cutting the glass.  Sadly, I am missing two very important pieces of glass, the light blue and the swirly orange for the fireball.  I am also missing a special saw for cutting some of the more intricate pieces.  I have been informed that the glass and the saw are ready for pickup, but my teacher is out of town.  In the meantime, I can at least show the glass that I do have.  Please note that taking pictures of glass at night without a light box is insanely difficult.  


If you look closely, you can see the swirls of darker green in this glass.  This is why the direction of the glass is important.

Dark Blue:






Of all of the glass, the red and the brown were the hardest to take pictures of.  The red is a much deeper red than the picture appears, and the brown is more like the right hand side, instead of that orangey color where the light is coming through.  

I'm hoping to start cutting some of the glass soon.  Honestly, I really can't wait for this project to begin moving along! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Designing a Piece of Stained Glass

I've been working in a number of crafting mediums for some time now, and I finally decided to share some of my results/artistic process.  If nothing else, a blog will give me one location to send people when I'm asking for help on a project!

My newest crafting medium is stained glass.  After spending almost two years working on my first piece off and on (my teacher has been very sick and has been in and out of the hospital), I finally finished it!  

Of course, I absolutely loved the project, so even before I was done, I began looking for my next piece.  I wanted something more geeky and less traditional.  I lucked across a page on DeviantArt, and found this awesome piece made out of construction and tissue paper:

Mario Stained Glass by artist DL2288.

Now I had a starting point.  However, to create a piece of stained glass, I need a better pattern.  I've been using trial version of Glass Eye, a CAD program that has been absolutely amazing, to create a workable pattern.  First, I opened the picture of the tissue paper version shown above in Glass Eye.  Then I started to draw out the lead lines (i.e., the black lines you see above).  Each of the lead lines have something called knots, which are points that can be used to attach another line or grab part of the picture.  Here, I have made all of the lead lines yellow for better visibility, and you can see how they match up to the original pattern:

Each of those little dots is a knot.

The pattern is easier to see once I remove the original image and switch the lead lines to black:

The pattern gets even more awesome once I add in some tentative glass pieces:

Here's where I need some advice - while this looks AWESOME in theory, there are some places where the shape of the glass will lead to breakages over time.  For example, the area around the pipe.  This has a sharp u-turn that could easily break along any of the red lines shown here:

There are a number of ways to fix this.  Often, many people choose to have lead lines exactly where a break would be most likely to occur.  I tried this in the pattern, but it started to look too heavy - when you get a bunch of small pieces in one place, often times you only see the lead and not the glass.

Instead, I simply extended the pipe upwards:

This eliminates that u-turn without significantly compromising the look of the piece.

Another area in the piece where issues will occur is the Tanooki leaf at the bottom.  The stem of the leaf is just too small, and the weight of the piece will cause it to crack over time.  This problem is easily remedied:

The last issue on the piece is where I am most stuck.  The piranha plant:

This part of the piece has to be one of my absolute favorites!!  However, the large blue background piece is certain to break - there are just too many weak points.  First, cutting it would be difficult - I can't use traditional methods of a glass cutter and tapping to get such a sharp u-turn.  Even if I use a saw, I would probably lose multiple pieces due to vibration on those sharp turns.  Even if I cut the piece perfectly, there is a strong chance that I would have it break with a heat fracture during soldering.  Sadly, this means I must alter the pattern.  I present to you, the following choices.

The circle:

The  arc:

The arc so it kinda looks like the inside of his mouth:

The square:

The weird cross:

None of these really fit artistically with the awesome look of the tissue paper pattern.  Even if I remove two teeth, I still have the cracking problem, so I've only shown ideas with the four teeth, but I'm open to suggestions.  Does anyone have any suggestions?


Alex had an interesting suggestion:

So now, he looks like he's spitting a fireball.  This gives us a final pattern of:

I'm still open for suggestions, but this might be the final pattern.