The “Romance” and “Excitement” of a Stained Glass Painter’s Life

I am given a task

I should have know what was coming: David approached me this morning with a spring in his step, a twinkle in his eyes, and a piece of paper in his hand.

Here, he said, this is for you.

His enthusiastic tone implied even the Rosetta Stone was significantly less important than this paper which he gave me.

Hard work

On the paper: instructions.

And the reason I tell you this tale so you get some insight into the so-called romance and excitement of the glass painter’s daily life.

Romance and excitement – if only.

In David’s tidy hand-writing, the paper said:

  1. Apply a light tone in umber brown sepia
  2. Trace the detailed lines in umber brown sepia
  3. Strengthen them in violet of iron
  4. Flood the borders and dragons
  5. Take out highlights; spottle; soften and distress
  6. Apply a light tone to the reverse, then spottle, soften and scrub out highlights for staining later on
  7. 1st firing @ 625 celsius
  8. Apply a light tone of enamel etch to the front, then spottle and soften it
  9. Stain the back (use Reusche 1384)
  10. 2nd firing @ 565 or 570 celsius (depending on which kiln you use)
  11. Apply a graphite patina and then seal it with fixative
  12. Cut and glue the blue fluting. Leave to dry for 24 hours, then test for strength

David pointed to my light-box.

The prototype which I must copy

There I saw the prototype:

The tycoon's fluted column

The prototype

Plus the measurements: 320 mm by 185 mm.

Plus the terrifying words:

We need 120 of these.

By Friday.

Romance and excitement: you see what I mean? 120 copies of the prototype. And believe me: David demands perfection.Stephen Byrne

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13 thoughts on “The “Romance” and “Excitement” of a Stained Glass Painter’s Life

  1. What is it that you use for the fluting that you cut and bond? I love your website, and appreciate your generosity to share your techniques and secrets with the next generation of hopeful budding painters like myself. If it weren’t for artists like you making this knowledge so widely available, stained glass could be another dying art. Thank you, and I will be looking forward to supporting your cause by purchasing your wonderful e-books! Regards, Rhyce

    • Hello Rhyce,

      First thing is, these are skylights which will only be seen from one side, namely, looking up from beneath. So we will cut small pieces of various antique blues, then bond them to the reverse (which is the side that will never be seen); we’ll do this after leading, cementing and polishing.

      All the best,
      Stephen

      P.S. We’re glad you enjoy the website. for our part, we enjoy meeting you and others like you who have a focussed interest in glass painting techniques.

  2. This brought up a question in my mind. I am looking in to the purchase of a kiln. In you free time (if you have any) would you be so kind as to give me some guidelines about size and features. Money is a slight object, but I always look for quality since it pays in the long run.

    Thanks for your help. Looking forward to June!

    Cheers,
    Don

    • Hi Don,

      I’ve got a lot of notes about kilns and their features, and yes it is something we will write up for you and others because of course it is something that interests every glass painter at least once in their life. It’s high on the list. But if beforehand you have any specific questions, please write and say. See you soon!

      Best,
      Stephen

  3. Hello every one, as usual I enjoed reading your post. I hope we can get all these inside information from you and David when we join your studio on June 🙂

    All the best from Kuwait
    Hassan

  4. I am re-reading your older posts, and I realized two questions. I’ve not heard of a “graphite patina” before, is that something done with powdered graphite or something like black graphite polish? Also, what type of glue do you use to bond the fluting?

    Thank you as always,
    CJ

    • So I grind down a thick stick of graphite into powder, then collect some on a cloth, then I rub this lightly wherever I want to give an impression of dirt and age. And then I seal it so a well-intentioned cleaner doesn’t make everything look new and clean.

      As for the glue, we often use Araldite 6060.