the fall of 2015 I was commissioned to make two stained glass windows
with bevels that would match an Italian inlaid marble table in a
residential breakfast nook. The intricate stained glass artwork you see
here is the hardest design I have ever attempted to construct with lead
came in my 40+ years as a stained glass professional. The matching
window, completed first, was the hardest design I had leaded
for a very long time, but the one here tops that list - probably
I began this artwork, I was unsure of my ability to accomplish
this task. Normally, designs this intricate are copper foiled. However,
the symmetry of this design cried out for lead came, and I was
determined to make it happen.
project took seven weeks to complete, far longer than I had
anticipated. By the time I was 80% done with the consturction phase, my
fingertips were so sore I could hardly touch anything.
final result was worth it, as you can see here.
This intricate stained glass artwork is mounted to the interior side of
this door. The wood still needed to be patched and painted at the time
I took this photo, but the light was about as good as it was ever going
to get for photo-taking and I was excited to put it up on my web site,
so for now it's a photo with the wood unpainted.
intricate stained glass panel is made with 4 sizes of lead and zinc
came. The thickest lines you see here are 1/2" came, zinc wherever the
lines are straight (for added strength without unsightly reinforcement
bars) and lead wherever these thickest lines are curved. The background
lines are all 1/4" lead came, the lines that surround all of the
beveled glass pieces are 3/16" came, and the lines that make up the
intricate central designs (and the birds in the border) are all 5/32"
The construction of this artwork required me to figure out some new
techniques. Fortunately, the most critical of those - nailing down wood
stops in the middle of an artwork to ensure that certain internal lines
came out perfectly straight and positioned correctly - was something I
had already worked out with the matching
beveled window I made just prior to
mathematics had been worked out precisely beforehand, the
wood stops you see nailed down in this photo were required so that I
could build the intricate beveled border design into an enclosed space,
allowing me to tighten these many pieces into a fixed area. Although
they were designed to line up correctly, this temporary space closed in
on three sides allowed me to tap the pieces in tightly, trusting that
the precision shaping of the pieces beforehand would ensure that they
ended up in their proper positions.
And here you can see that I used the same technique to ensure that the
center cluster of bevels came out correctly, too.
Although this is the hardest design I have ever leaded together, I
would welcome the challenge to equal or even top it! (Oh my goodness,
what am I saying!)
And self-fulfilling prophecies do come true! Just a few months later in the winter of 2016, I was asked to do this Hearthstone Stained Glass for Blizzard Entertainment, and that one topped this one!
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