best stained glass artist

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best stained glass
Am I the best stained glass artist? One of my close friends would often introduce me as one of the ten best stained glass artists in the world, and I would counter that if I was truly among the best, I probably would have gotten rich making stained glass.

But maybe I am one of the best stained glass artists. Very often, I get to the middle of a project and think, "It's a good thing these clients chose me because I don't know of any stained glass artist who could do this project this well." The residential office doors you see above are a good example of this. Very few stained glass artists have the right attitude or go to the trouble I do to make leaded stained glass look this good.

Precision work has always been the main focus of my stained glass work. Although I never make a perfect artwork, I try to improve my skills with every project I undertake no matter how large or how small it is. That is also why I have produced a 43-hour set of DVDs to teach what I know to other stained glass enthusiasts.

These doors include bevels made by one of the best bevel makers I have ever found (actionbevel.com). Still, bevels are hard to work with. First because bevels, like all geometric designs, should be leaded, not copper foiled, and working with lead came is harder than copper foil, which is why 99% of beginners are taught copper foil and many are not even exposed to working with lead came. (There is nothing I think is uglier in the field of stained glass than copper foiled bevels!) And second, because bevels are made by someone other than me, working them into a project requires significant extra effort. In my work, this means laying out the bevels on the full size drawing, one bevel at a time. By starting with the center bevels and working outward, and by grinding the edges of each bevel until the fit is perfect, I am able to get the proper precision fit. Then, I trace around the bevels so that the stained glass background pieces that surround the bevels will also be as precise as possible. Even still... even including all this extra effort, leading together a beveled project usually requires some changes to make it come out right. In this project, for example, I had to grind a few of the blue glass pieces that separate the beveled pieces, making them just slightly thinner so that the last few beveled pieces would fit into place.

So while these beveled and stained glass panels are not perfect, maybe they are as good as it gets and maybe that makes me one of the very best stained glass artists.

The photo above, taken by the clients, is a very good photo (st gl is incredibly hard to photograph well). But the pink glasses I used in the flowers and in the thin inner border look a bit washed out, so I am including the photo below that a friend took just after I had finished one of the panels (and prior to darkening the lead and solder with a special patina).

best stained glass artistThere is one more noteworthy aspect to this project. I don't have repeat clients very often, but this was one of the more interesting times that I did. Years ago, I made a stained glass panel to be mounted in this couple's pantry door. They liked it so much that they took it with them when they moved into a new home they had just built. They asked me to enlarge their existing stained glass so it would fit into a larger opening in their new pantry door. That meant they would have to ship the panel to me, and the plan was that I would ship all three panels back to them. There is some risk in shipping although it comes out fine most of the time. There is also a significant cost to wood-crating and insured shipping for large panels such as these. So we came up with the plan that after I had completed the two office door panels, they would drive the pantry door panel to me (from Tennessee!) and I would enlarge it while they visited family about an hour from Denver. Then they would drive all three panels back home. The plan went smoothly, and they even came with a wood crate they had made that would hold all three artworks.

At one point, a friend of theirs asked why they would drive all the way from Tennessee to Colorado to do this... wasn't there someone closer to home that they could commission to do this? After the panels were installed, that same person commented that they now understood why, that these panels were clearly worth going all that way.

When I finish a project, I post it on my facebook page. The most common response to this particular project has been "Wow! Amazing stained glass!"
The positive feedback I get from being good at stained glass never gets old. I may not have gotten rich in life making the "best" stained glass, but I like my life a lot just the way it is.

Once I begin a project, I email progress photos to the clients while I am making their artwork. Clients love this, and it's not hard to do. Below are some of the process photos I sent this couple while making these door panels. They show the precision craftsmanship that goes into every great stained glass artwork I make.

great stained glass

great stained glass artist

amazing stained glassTo give this artwork enough internal strength (allowing me to avoid unsightly steel reinforcement bars soldered to the backside of these panels), I replaced the lead came with zinc came for all of the leadlines in the border. These long vertical lines of uncut zinc avoid the tendency for stained glass panels to bow out of the vertical plane along horizontal lines in the design.















amazing stained glass artist

                 


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