Sunday, 12 November 2017

Lead, Solder and Putty (a first go at Stained Glass)

The range of posts which pop up in my Facebook feed is diverse to say the least and I usually skim read most of it rapidly, if I look at it at all.  When a local shop which reupholsters unloved furniture to make it lovely again advertised a stained glass course being held nearby, I read the page fully and signed up on the spot.
That's how I came to be in the picturesque North East village of Collieston yesterday (where we usually go for a dog walk) with four other stained glass students and our inspiring tutor, Anne Ferguson.  In the same venue, preparations were underway for a lino cut course which was also running.  There'd been a social event in the hall the evening before so there was a colourful array of beautifully crafted items for sale made by both tutors.
We got straight down to business as the focus of our day was to leave with a finished object.  Anne started by showing us pieces from previous classes she'd run so we could see what we might manage to achieve in the time we had.  A wonderful selection of stained glass was all laid out for us to choose as we planned our designs.
There's some similarities with mosaic making too which helped me feel more confident.  Glass cutting tools and nippers, and the electric grinder which I'd used before, were demonstrated and we all had a go.  Designing again starts with a pencil sketch...
...then the enjoyable, creative task of choosing and combining colours.
Precision cutting and grinding followed to make all the pieces fit the template.
Then lead is carefully cut and fitted round each piece of glass.
The edges all get a coating of flux to help the solder join the lead together.
I didn't get a photo of me with the soldering iron - which is probably just as well!  
Time to putty all the little windows...
...then clean off the grease from the putty which has adhered to the glass using plaster of Paris.  
Hanging hooks are added then the lead and solder get buffed up with stove blackening to dull the solder and make the colours in the glass sing!  As my fellow students finished their pieces they placed them at the window to enjoy the first sight of the coloured glass in all its glory.
And today I was able to prop my wee piece up against a window at home on this dull, cold and rainy November day to finally see how it looks with daylight behind it.  I love the Northern Lights sky! 


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