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Friday, August 7, 2009

The Great Botanical Commission

My client has patiently waited. In 2007 we started talking about this work, to be installed along the end wall along the roof line of his cathedral ceiling salt box addition. It is 87" high, above eye level, with actual vines that grow on the outside of the clear stationary windows. We agreed on a design with vivid colors to depict a garden feeling. The challenge for me was the fact that my customer, Dan, has degrees in Botany so details had to be artistic and accurate as well. I learned, for instance, that a morning glory and most of nature grows in a clock wise direction. So I actually re-fired fused buds on the flip side that were already done, just to correct that detail.

Significant delays were caused by the activities of my former business, Off the Wall Craft Gallery, at the old mill in Allentown, NJ, which closed about a year ago. But all the while a vision was starting in my head. Last December I started using a stained glass CAD program called Glass Eye 2000 with which I can create designs and email them to customers. I also purchased a kiln and started learning fired glass painting, mentored by Stephen Byrne of the UK. In the spring I embarked on learning glass fusing with very specific results in mind for this work.

This winter the carpentry work was completed and the design was approved. Although Dan approved a very nice design, Shasta, my daughter and design mentor, sort of ripped it apart, so I made time consuming but very good changes to the approved draft. Dan was delighted with the improvements, but missed the irises that got cut, so I promised to include them in future sidelight panels. You can see the computer design in color on my blog on

I started cutting glass in late June, and it is getting closer to completion. Interruptions included a major cleaning out of my attic and Carriage House, with a big "Barn Sale". Last week we visited Vermont, and tomorrow we head south to the lovely beaches of Emerald Isle, NC.

A reminder to all who are mesmerized by stained glass and want to learn - classes begin on Aug. 19th. See details at I have room for a few more students.

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