Monday, 29 September 2008

Aperture Pour Bowls

I am presenting a few aperture pour bowls that I managed to get done in the big kiln before it once again failed. This time elements in two of the three phases failed. Probably due to element breakage again. The company who did the original work are supposed to arrive tomorrow to fix things. I want them to check all the connections so I can have some trust in the kiln again.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Restoration Work

This is the beginning of what will be a long restoration job. It is from a front door of a large turn of the century (19th) detached house with its gardens. I took on the job, knowing that it was in a poor state with a number of broken joints, tie wires broken, glass pieces broken, etc. I could see it had been repaired before.

When I got it to the workbench and began to investigate it in detail, it became apparent that it had been repaired at least twice. It had a number of additional lead lines to make the repairs of breaks on one side look symmetrical. This had been done enough times to obscure the original design.

I discussed with the client the possibility of a complete re-leading and attempting to bring the window back toward its original state, gluing where no similar glass was available. Now that it is totally apart, the full extent of restoration work becomes apparent. Not all the broken glass can be glued back together, as some of it has been grozed to enable the new lead came to be inserted between the pieces. The window was much heavier than it originally was, as the amount of solder used to fill gaps and compensate for missing pieces of glass was alarming.

This work will continue to appear in my writings for a while. I have to glue what I can after cleaning, try to find matching or compatible glass, and then at last lead up with the appropriate widths of came.

It is a relief to have gotten this far.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Square Platter - Flow 3

Another in the sub-series of "Margins" called "Flow 3".

The edges in this piece are defined largely by the sharp colour changes. The iridescent circle may be the sun, or an eclipse.

Monday, 22 September 2008

More Firsts

I have been back to First Gardens again. This time to complete the installation of the front door and sidelights. The fanlight seems to be original and will be cleaned, but is otherwise sound. The details are taken from other houses in the area and reproduced. It was decided to adapt the replacement front door, to more closely resemble the original door. To save some money, the astragals were not put into the door, but I used 3/4" came to represent them and carry the strong lines of the astragals from the sidelights across the opening.

While there, I took the opportunity to take a photograph from the interior looking outward.

I also took the opportunity to photograph the bathroom door as it has slightly different characteristics from the windows.

I will also be adding my interpretation of the sidelights to the central panel of the outside door. I will present a photo of that when it is completed.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

More Hyndland Work

Repeat business is not a common feature of this business, but referal is. Shortly after compelting the installation of reproduction fanlight windows for a flat, the upstairs neighbour visited and did not like the comparison of the new windows to his old muranese patterned glass. So he asked me to replace his fanlights as I had done for his downstairs neighbour.

By the way, muranese glass has little to do with Murano. The pattern was produced in Glasgow for many years in a factory located in Murano Street, in the Maryhill area of Glasgow. It was popular around the West of Scotland and clearly much further afield than that, as it has come to be reproduced by Wissmach Glass Co in the USA. The modern glass has a smaller pattern and is sharper and deeper in its patterning that the original is.

Back to the glass. You can see from these three photos, that a liveliness is imparted to the hallway by these fanlights.

Now the client has asked me to provide reproductions for the three paneled light above the bath.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Completed Repairs

I have now competed, at the third visit, a series of repairs for a flat in the area where I live. This is a development of about 10 streets done from 1898 to 1912. This particular flat was completed about 1904. All the flats in the older parts of Hyndland have variations of stylised art noveau stained glass. The Wikipedia entry gives a variety of sources. More stained glass survives in some flats than in others.

The image here is of the bathroom entry. The fanlight is approximately 1220mm wide and just over 650mm high. It is stabilised by two vertical tie bars only, but even after a century is still stable. It required the removal of varnish and paint in addition to years of grime.

The door and side light below it was in less good condition. The door panel had to be taken out to the studio to have broken leads replaced and the whole re-cemented. When replacing, a series of blocks had to be added to keep the panel from shaking loose again. The panel is inserted into a slot in one side of the door and then moved back into a shallower slot on the other side. I had to add blocks to the lock side of the door to keep the panel stable. Then add the putty and tie bars to keep the whole stable. In the picture you can see the two bars. There is not a bar crossing the amber flower shape, which makes it a little weaker, but definitely more pleasant to look at.

The other repair was to the door. This is a design that is a combination of two. The original is in the three upper lights of the door. The main panel is taken from the design of other flats in the area. The central emblem may be original, as significantly older glass is used there than in the surrounding area. In any case, they were not originally together. But I repaired the main panel and re-inserted it with a laminated sheet in front for security.

I enjoy these "low grade" jobs because it keeps the traditional glass in the buildings for which they were originally designed. They require a high level of patience and considerable skill to keep things as near to the originals as possible, and to keep the client pleased with what they have. Most do not want cracks anywhere, although I often try to talk them into glueing pieces where the character of the broken glass cannot be matched with modern pieces.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Autumn Already?

Still at work with variations on the "Margins". These colours remind me of dawn in the late autumn. Dark when you get up (in Scotland at least) with amber and even brown light merging (sometimes) to bright sunlight.

Then there are also the long evenings of the summer, when the sun has set and only a little pink remains in the sky before, gradually the light goes. The long summer evenings in northern (and I suppose, southern) latitudes is glorious.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

More "Edges"

I am still working with the "Margins" series, and finding the boundary aspect of the concept interesting. Here the image (in my head) is of water flowing into an estuary with obstructions in the way of the flow. The boundary is an arbitrary straight line of the political kind we draw across continents dividing one person from another, lupming diverse peoples together without regard to how they fit.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Autumn in Summer

You may have noticed an autumnal feeling to the colours in the last couple of postings. Well, it has not been a really good summer in Scotland (or the UK either). There is more than just the autumnal leaves on the water about these two. There is a heaviness looming over the pieces, apparently brilliant varigated colour, but concealing the blackness.

Autumn Water

Layered Boundaries

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Reflections on the Day

Reflections on the day, because these two pieces are about different days. In Scotland as in many other areas near the sea, the days are variable both within the day and between days. Some days have dark bounds to them - early mornings and late evenings - but separated by brilliant sunlight and activity.

Other days are stormy. The cloud is low, the light is dim. Leaves, trees, detrius and water are blown by raw strands of wind.

Monday, 8 September 2008


I've just heard that a gallery in London has taken Flow as their name to indicate how things change.

For me in the "At the Margins of the Day" investigations, it has taken on the expression of the evidence of the passing of time. As in an estuary seen from above. The patterns in the flow of the water create layered lines on the shores and within the water. All this happens at the boundary between land and water, solid and fluid.

Flow 2

Blue Flow

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Serious Play

As I work with my theme of "At the Margins of the Day", playful elements keep creeping in. Some are serious, others just play. The flow boundaries that can be seen in estuaries from the air or in marsh lands, are really interesting elements about margins.

"Flow 1"
Others are just playful. This one needed an odd shape to fit with its strong colours.


Thursday, 4 September 2008

More Kilnformed Work

It is such a pleasure to get some work done with a piece of equipment that has been idle or broken for a while. Here are two more pieces from my firings in the renovated kiln.

I have called this one "Pink Dawn"

"Interference" because it just doesn't fit into the series neatly.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Back to the Kiln

After a long pause to have the kiln elements renewed, I have begun further work on my "At the Margins of the Day". The kiln had begun to produce very odd results, so I began testing a variety of possibilities. One of these tests showed the kiln was heating very unevenly, so I began to take the kiln apart to get at the elements.

Of course this means taking off the top, then one layer of very itchy insulation (much like fiber glass insulation for the home) followed by another layer of fiber blanket just above the elements. This showed that the elements that are inside ceramic tubes are wired six to a unit. This is a three phase kiln so each phase took care of six lengths each.

The only way to get at the elements to spread the coils apart was to ease them out of the tubes, then straighten the tails and try to get all six out without breaking them. Guess what! I broke the first one. After some calm reflection (you guess how long this took!) I decided to have all the elments replaced but on the outside of the tubes as is more normal.

The element coils are now on the outside of the tubes, the insulation back in and the top screwed down. These two items are among the first finished in the rewired kiln. Please don't ask how much this has cost.

Water's Edge

Morning Water