Everything we make begins with a drawing. Dozens of sketches are made and refined through progressive steps of tracing what works and erasing what doesn’t.
Color is added to the design before it’s presented to the client for review.
Once the design is agreed upon, I create the full size production drawing based on the site dimensions and the original concept illustration printed to actual size. I draw the way I was taught in drafting class; with a Mayline straight edge, first with pencil and then in ink.
All fabrication details such as line character and glass type is written on the drawing. Here I explain the layout for the upper wisteria window to Carrie who has been with us since 2007.
Each piece of glass is chosen with the end in mind; color, texture and the movement of the glass must all work toward the original concept. Karen is cutting glass based on a paper template created from the master drawing. She is the most experienced craftsperson here having started working in glass in 1988. She’s been with us since 2001.
Once all the glass has been precisely cut and ground to fit, it’s placed on our light tables for revisions and final approval before we build.
The window is then assembled using lead channel or copper foil. We use copper, lead, zinc and steel in the production of our work depending on the style and location of the window.
The metal is soldered at the joints and then we begin the decorative soldering process on our organic windows. Successive layers of metal are applied and allowed to cool so as not to fracture the glass. The window is then flipped and the other side is soldered to match.
Since I‘m best able to capture the essence of the original drawing, I do all of the decorative soldering.
We then cover the window in an oil-based cement we make here in the studio. It is brushed to fill the gaps between the glass and the metal to make the panel weather tight and stiffen the window.
Thorough brushing with saw dust and careful cleaning ensures that the cement is cleaned off the glass surface prior to the application of the patina. Grant has been here since 2006 and had 8 years prior experience building church windows for a studio in Philadelphia.
The final work is then shipped or delivered to the site. If we do the installation we ensure that everything is fit and set perfectly. If we ship we provide detailed instructions on how to correctly install our leaded glass panels.
The completed windows installed in their new home.