Monday, 7 December 2015

Sea Cat

Mariscat is a reference to a type of sailing ship.  That makes it an appropriate image for a front door in Mariscat Drive.

This is the progress we have made on the construction of an oval window to replace the existing Georgian wired safety glass.

The glass colours and styles were chosen to compliment the fanlight that remains above the door.

It remains to solder and cement the panel before fitting.  Possibly this will be ready as a Christmas present.

Monday, 26 October 2015


This is the title of a piece that has been a long time in reaching completion.  

The word "Weary" seems to me to encapsulate the feeling toward the end of any pregnancy.  The tipped over stance encapsulates that feeling for me.  

I have now finished the piece and put it on a plinth ready for exhibition.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Work I Get to Do

Finished some repairs to broken glass in this house's front door on Friday.

Front entrance from street level

The repairs completed

The replacement glass has blended very well with the existing glass.  I know which pieces I replaced, but they are not apparent in this photo and only with close inspection are the replacements revealed.  A satisfactory conclusion.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Cupola Installed

We have now installed the cupola!  It was seven and a half hour process for the three of us.

I will give you some of the stages of design and installation to indicate the transformation.

The cupola originally looked like this:

The original appearance with dirt and paint
The design was quickly settled to be of the period of the house, putting it into the Arts Nouveau style.  After some playing around with ideas, I submitted this design to the client.

First pass at a design

I of course, got totally involved with elongated shapes.  Upon presenting this I was reminded of the client's statement that roses were required.  So, a second stage was required.  You can see some penciled rose shapes on the first design paper.

This was the second and approved design:

Second penciled design over laid on the first
At this stage the colour choices were made between the client and me.

Templates were checked again and final measurements made.  The full size cartoons were drawn up and the construction then began of the eight panels. Some indication has been given of this in earlier posts.

The kind of transformation that was to be created was revealed when the old glass was removed.  

Cupola ready for installation of the panels

The amount and quality of light flooding into the hallway was amazing.  This photo shows the difference in the light from the original glazing.

The cleaning of the checks and installation of support bars began.

Just over half way installed.

This view shows that there is still a lot of light being allowed through the seedy clear glass and the textured coloured glass, although the features of the underside of the ceiling is diffused. 

There continued to be a bit of jiggling and adjustment to get the design to flow as intended.  But the installation was completed to the satisfaction of the client (most important) and me.

The completed cupola

This has been an arduous project, but one which has left me happy.  I made the choice to move away from the traditional use of one design in a repetition toward realising an image for the whole cupola.  This makes more sense in modern terms (although not in economic ones).  It is less frequently chosen, as there is more design work - making a single design eight times larger than a single panel.  There is also much more care and effort required to get the flow of the design to meet over the whole opening.  But, I think it has given a much more pleasing result that can provide interest over time as new elements are discovered by the viewers.

A chandelier will hang from the central pendant post, which will reflect the colours at night especially as the spotlights above transfer the light to the glass pendants of the chandelier.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Cupola Progress

I showed some pictures of a design for a cupola the other week.  Progress is being made. The glass is cut and the assembly started.  This post gives some pictures of the first panels to be completed.

These panels have been soldered and are waiting to be cemented.

This panel, the first to be cemented, is the other side of the above panel on the left.

So progress is being made, and the installation date should be met.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Lighting Covers

I have been asked to provide two dozen diffusing light covers for an auditorium.

I've finally got the mould sorted.

This has involved getting an existing cover to take a mould from.  The refactory fibre paper used to make the mould was soaked in hardener and formed around the master.  I left it to dry for a week while I went on holiday, but it was still damp when I came back. I had to remove all the weight packing the fibre to the master and let it air dry for days.  When it could support itself, I put it into the kiln to fully dry and cure.

It came out of the kiln firm, but it needed sanding to final shaping and to smooth the surface.

This is the mould sanded, hardened a second time and now washed with a separator to keep the glass from sticking to the mould.  The advantage to this kind of mould is that it is light weight and reasonably easy to shape and adapt to a number of simple shapes.  Its big disadvantage is that it is pretty fragile. Also it is not cheap. 

The tests have been made for the diameter of the discs and the temperature required for an appropriate slump.

These are the two test pieces together with the original piece.  Now I'm ready to produce two of these a day for the next week.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Studio views

I have been asked to put some photos on the blog of my studio.  These are three general views of the studio today.

This is the East end of the studio.  Today the concentration is mainly on leaded glass.

This shows the North and part of the East of the studio.

This shows the South West portion of the studio during a sunny spell.

Friday, 14 August 2015


A client has recently purchased a house built in the early 1920’s.  It contains a cupola that has become ugly over the years through exposure to nicotine and general dirtiness.

Rather than trying to clean it, the client has decided to replace it with something in keeping with the period of construction that will allow light through into the hallway, but also obscure the view of the roof.

After trying out several ideas, I came up with one that I liked and developed it.

In my enthusiasm for the flow of the piece, I overlooked the desire for roses that the client had expressed.  The client gently pointed this out to me when I showed the design.  Oops, time for a re-think.  Everyone agreed that the flow of the green forms, although not rose leaves was desirable.  You can see the beginnings of a re-design on the original.

So I came up with a variation.  I worked on making a simple but clearly rose shape instead of the elongated buds that were the colourful feature of the first design.  I also worked to bring more of the colour lower into the panels.

You can get a better impression with the new design over laid on the old.

This is now at the glass cutting stage and soon to move to the building of the panels.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Float Glass Experiments

I have been conducting some recent experiments with float glass strips.  The intention was to play with devitrification.  

I placed the strips randomly tin or air side down.  In the first they were shingled, and then fused. In the second, they were shaped first then fused.  The first went into a self-made ceramic mould.  

Assembled strips fused and formed

Strips bent and assembled before fusing and forming

The second I decided to make into a large tray.  The mould for this, as I had no suitable mould of the correct size, became cut kiln shelves arranged in a parallogram and covered with thinfire.  

"Free form" mould assembled on sand bed

I fired at 100C per hour and watched periodically from 600C top 720C.  I decided to stop the firing after 10 minutes at 720C.  This was not an entirely successful experiment, as only a little devitrification shows on the first and none on the second tray.  Still, I obtained two interesting vessels, which encourages me to continue the experimentation.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Arts and Crafts House

Today I had the opportunity to view the "in-progress" restoration of a large Arts and Crafts house in central Scotland.  The house has approximately 150 windows I am told by the owner. If accepted, I am to make and install 19 window panels by the time of the visit of the Mackintosh Society on 6th June.

Eastern elevation

South east elevation

Southern elevation

This last image shows the extensive work required to remove later additions to get back to the foot print of the original house.  The windows to be replaced are in these gaps.

Apologies for the rain drops; it was raining very hard on the day of the visit.  I hope to show some of the tremendous work being done on the house to bring it back toward the original decorative state.  My contribution will be preparing windows of this pattern.

Friday, 8 May 2015


A very nice bathroom door panel was in a poor state when I arrived.  It was lose and floppy with many broken joints.  It had been repaired in two ways - broken glass had been replaced with unsympathetic textures in the clear, and a lot of silicone had been spread around to try to hold the whole together. 

The door had been dipped and it is possible the glass remained in place during this treatment.  But however it had occurred, this panel faced the prospect of being replaced with a modern textured glass sheet, or to be restored.  After some discussion the owners agreed that it was a very nice example of late Arts Nouveau stained glass work and should be restored.

A price was agreed.  The panel was removed - almost completely falling apart in the process - and taken to the studio.  Closer examination revealed that all the glass was held in the cames by silicone.  Further it was discovered as we began to take it apart, the glass cutting had been very lose - i.e., poor.  The lead barely covered the edges of much of the glass.  A lot of the clear granite textured glass was broken and a number of pieces had been replaced by both badly fitting and inappropriately textured glass.

After consideration, it was decided to replace all the clear granite with a modern equivalent.  All the coloured glass was retained, as most was in tact, and of course much would not be possible to replicate.  A chemical silicone remover worked really well to enable the silicone to be removed without damage to the glass.  All the lead came was replaced by the same sizes of modern came.  This was more work that I had expected, but was rewarded in part by the comment of an expert on Arts Nouveau that happened by the studio during the re-buliding that it was a 1914 window.  How he could date this so accurately, I do not understand, in spite of his explanations.

This was the window after reconstruction.  New clear glass except the central piece, new leads and new cement as it sat in the studio window before delivery.

This is the appearance of the window in the door from the interior of the bathroom with the natural light from the hallway shining through.

This is the door from the outside.

A close-up of the installed panel.  This shows it is very hansome, even though some of the greens are washed out in the photograph.

I am very pleased with the result we achieved.  The older sister is too.  She says that now her younger sister can't peer through the broken glass while others are in the bathroom.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Restoration Assistance

From time to time glass workers help each other out.  I send things to other people who are better at some aspect of work, or for which I don't have the time to complete in the timescale.  Other people send me things which they need help with whether because of time pressures or because of equipment which I have and am willing for them to use.

Currently, we are in the process of helping with the restoration of some church windows for another worker who does not have the time to complete all the aspects of the work.  We are helping out by doing the re-leading of these 11 windows in 22 panels.

The cartoon ready for leading

Leading in process

One panel soldered