Stained Glass Part 1

12:42 AM

So construction has begun on our house.
So far being the general contractor hasn't been too stressful...but we've just begun.

We were so excited to have a building permit we planned a ground breaking ceremony to have a reason for Rhett to cut a ribbon (bucket list item I didn't know about before now) and to spray paint a shovel gold while we dance around a barren desert scrap of land...but Rhett ended up having to work and the next day our hole was excavated and, well, it was just too late for the ceremony.
I promised I'd still get a big ribbon for Rhett to cut and get some huge scissors too...maybe when the house is done we can have a finished ceremony.

So with things actually happening, I realized I'd planned to make 2 stained glass exterior windows and the framers will need to install them sometime in the near future.

I worked for a stained glass artist who lived in my neighborhood on his crew the summer after I graduated high school.
That summer his studio was creating the art glass for the Brazil Sao Paulo LDS temple and I mainly cut glass and foiled the pieces. 
Here's my last day in front of the the glass scenes I helped cut:

And the finished windows in Brazil that I'll never see in person.
Stained Glass mural inside the Sao Paulo, Brazil LDS Temple

So for some reason,  when building our house, I thought why,with my summer of experience 11 years ago, I'll make my own stained glass windows to DIY and save money and have"mom-made" art glass for our home.

My mom took stained glass classes when I was a kid and made transoms above bedroom doors in the home I grew up in, so I thought I'll recruit her help and follow in her footsteps and DIY my own stained glass.
And the nightmare didn't get bad until she left.

My mom and I designed the window in inkscape based on the pattern/ proportion of the inspiration window:
Love this - pale shades, geometric pattern, by Buckcreek Glass
{inspiration window from Buckcreek Glass}

So I drove 2 hours to civilization where there is Fedex Kinkos (where the pattern was printed) and a stained glass studio to buy glass and a few supplies we didn't have.  
My plan was to have a random pattern of clear glass with different textures to add interest and variety.
I was picking through the clear textured glass, and was discouraged to find my favorite ones were expensive and probably out of my budget.  When to my joy I realized in the back there was a clearance remnant glass area and I was able to get all the textures I liked for 60 to 75% off, including one piece of my favorite linen!

So feeling like I made a steal with my clearance art glass, my mom and I got to work cutting and constructing the window.  

Once the window was built with lead between all the glass, I soldered for the first time and did an OK job.
I was better by the end.

Then my mom left.  The window was finished, all I had to do was add glazing putty, make the lead black with acid and clean it.
But while I was attempting to lift it, I moved one corner too high, putting too much pressure on a piece of glass and it cracked!
I was numb. Frustrated, sad, mad.  
And of course, the broken piece was my beloved favorite linen glass.
I just walked away and my husband did research on stained glass window repair, presenting me with my options later that day.
And then while trying to help me, broke the piece next to it.

So now I have a 4' x 4' art glass window with 2 broken pieces....and I'm trying to muster up the courage to touch this thing again.

The nightmare of home building and DIY begins!
If you're interested,  I would like your artistic/ decor opinion.
This window is going above the master tub....if we ever get it to the glass shop to insulate it in a frame so we will stop breaking it.
 I designed the window to have a random little rebel piece, a single orange insert.
It was just one small piece, the rest of the colored glass pieces look black flat, but are actually a slate, smoky blue.
Rhett hated my orange rebel piece, the asymmetry didn't make sense to him.  I repeatedly asked if he was sure he hated it, (hoping he'd see my artistic love for the random imperfect piece) and he was sure, but I wondered if I should just keep it my way anyway...after all I am the artist here.  My mom reminded me it was going in a bathroom that is half I took out the orange.

But now the whole window is practically maimed and I'm considering sneaking my orange piece back in. 
 So vote time:

Should I Leave My Random Orange Rebel Piece?
Yes! Makes it unique and adds an element of surprise.
NO! Keep it symmetrical and traditional. The one orange piece looks like a mistake
Poll Maker

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  1. i can't vote!! i'm with you in theory, but i'm just not an orange fan, and especially not blue and orange together. haha. i'd say yes to a different color for sure. :) such a bummer about the broken pieces though!! good luck fixing it.

  2. Gosh, your soldering is so neat. I did stained glass alongside my step-mom who was the glass artist. Since this is your piece, I say keep the orange. It reminds me of the way quilters insert an erroneous block to help remind them of life's imperfections. If it were me, I'd insert a clear light blue one instead of orange, but that's me. I think it'd be pretty to look through. :D

  3. Within the ' seven ages of man' stained glass windows in the Shakespeare Room at the State Library of NSW here in Sydney, there are 2 small pieces of blue glass that look like mistakes or dodgy repairs but were actually put there on purpose because the artist believed nothing could be perfect except for God. Sally

  4. Oh that is so frustrating! I hope you can get it repaired! The pictures look beautiful. I like the orange peice but since it is going in the house where it will not be changed I would feel like i need to compromise. You still get a beautiful glass window and Rhett won't get the orange peice. Unless you can change his mind :)

  5. That is such a cool window! I hope you can get the cracks fixed... that would be a really frustrating thing to have happen after all that work. I like the random piece, and although I would probably use something other than orange for it, you need to find some way to convince your husband that it's awesome. =)

  6. Wow Jess-- what an ambitiously amazing project! Seriously-- tackle it again-- you'll nail it!
    This is Natalie, not Ray, but I'm too lazy to sign out and type it again.

  7. oh my gosh. Wow. this is amazing. Amazing!


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