Friday, 27 June 2014

Historic West Coast House Repairs

Last year I conducted repairs on the windows of an Alexander (Greek) Thomson designed house, and for the last six months or so, I have been involved in repairs and other work on a Lutyens designed house.

The stair windows had some cracks and was producing a lot of condensation.  As the roof was being repaired, the opportunity was taken to have something done about the window.

As you can see the window is awkward to get to so the roofer's scaffolding was essential.  The window panel was bowed with a number of broken lead joints.  The window is also installed directly into the stone, so there were additional breaks in getting them out. The iron work of the opening panel was completely corroded and covered in putty to try to weather proof it.

The decision was taken to re-lead and replace the broken pieces with a very good match of glass made in Poland (locally called Tatra glass). The opening panel was remade to be fixed into the stone.  The weep holes were cleared to disperse the condensation as originally intended.

The resulting finished window appears to be the same as the original.  The repairs are not distinguishable except by close examination.

The house also has a heavy external door that previously was solid.  The owners wanted more light into the hallway behind and proposed opening the wood panels to accept leaded glass.

After looking at some of the leaded window designs around the house a lozenge and diamond design was chosen.  This shows the completed door from the interior.

The door from the exterior still maintains an imposing presence, although softened by the insertion of the four panels.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Auchtertool Church

The refurbished and re-leaded window of Mary will be placed in Auchtertool Church, East Lothian.  It is a church set on a small hill top over looking the valley toward the sea.

The modern approach by road is from the North East.

The original approach was from the south and below the church to approach from the south west.  The entry porches can be seen on the right.

The main stained glass windows are in the East and South windows.  This window of St Andrew and St John is probably the oldest of them.  It is behind the pulpit.

The next window was probably this one, in memory of the Minister's wife and children.

There is a window in memory of several young railway workers funded by their fellow workers.  These young men were killed in an accident while working on the railway that runs near the church.

The final window on the South is a WW1 memorial window.

There seems to be no record of who designed and built these windows, and nothing can be seen on the windows themselves.  They are good examples of late 19th and early 20th century work. Though it is obvious there was less money to spend on the borders of the railway workers window, the clarity of the image is enhanced by the simple border.

As you can see, this new window with Mary as its subject will be a big contrast to the existing windows with their traditional imagery.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Artist Panel Refurbishment

I was asked by an Edinburgh client to restore and repair a three panelled window made by her artist father in the late 1950's.  It had a number of pieces of broken and missing glass, and broken lead joints.

It needed to be completely taken apart, cleaned and re-leaded.  A couple of dozen pieces needed to be glued, and another dozen or so replaced and painted.  The plated pieces needed to be cleaned on their "insides" too, and then copper foiled to keep the cement from getting between the layers.

Dismantling the upper panel.  Rubbing of the panel is in the upper right corner

Placing the unleaded pieces on a second rubbing of the panel. The tape holding broken pieces together can be seen as white strips across the glass.

The glass used was all hand made, and often up to 6mm thick.  Where the colour of the thinner glass was not of sufficient density or a change of tone was required, the artist had double plated the piece with another colour.  

I found it difficult to perceive the whole work, because of its broken and dirty condition, until it was all together.

The panel reset into a wooden frame for installation into the church of the artist's  youth.

The top panel

Middle Panel

Bottom Panel

It is a very strong, modern work in stained glass depicting Mary with her child Christ and surrounded by women.  It does not have the usual manger and dominant or supplicant males most often associated with depictions of the birth. It will be a contrast to the rest of the windows in the East Lothian church, but will compliment the themes already there.

The next post will give information on the Church

Friday, 6 June 2014

Artist Exchange

Recently, received a call from a well-known artist in Scotland to repair her stair landing window after an accident.  A fall had broken the bottom half of the window.  Fortunately, the person is not badly injured.  

The repair required replacement Victorian etched glass as well as three etched border panels.  The border, although traditional, required a lot of fine work with bitumen as well as the usual vinyl resist against the hydrofluoric acid.

The finished window was a success with the new glass fitting in well with the existing glass.

What was even better for me was her agreement that we could exchange my work for a painting of hers.  This is the painting that I chose.  It hangs in the bedroom, giving me pleasure morning and evening, which fits into the mood of the painting, I think.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Glass Bending

As a little taster of what I have been doing after the film work (which continues to come in), this is a task of bending 18 shaped panels for a large lantern outside the Boys Brigade HQ in Edinburgh.

This is two of the panels set up on their steel moulds with Thinfire as a separator

These are the two pieces bent and out of the kiln.

These two have shown that over the length of 430mm there is a stretching of about 5mm, so I will need to cut them a little shorter, so they will fit into the metal frame.

The firing also showed that I can reduce the temperature by about 10ยบ to fully bend and reduce the chances of marking the glass on the mould.