How Do I Follow That … ?

With sandpaper, oil and silver stain - that's how

OK, so last time it was Brigitte Bardot, Bill Haley, a broken-nosed bodyguard with two missing fingers, Henry Miller and – a pussy cat … and all this in a stained glass studio?

So how do I follow that?

I see that David – my fellow director and master glass painter – has left me with one Hell of a cliff-hanger.

Which gives me an idea for your next video demonstration …

One Hell of a cliff-hanger

Yes, speaking of Hell, if you had visited the studio this week, you’d have witnessed the birth of eight ferocious stained glass beasts.

All born to meet the tycoon’s contract.

Remember our commission is to design and make 16 ancient-looking stained glass skylights by September. (Or else, we suspect, a “deadline” will mean exactly that.)

Initial sketch showing Gothic inscription panels and Bestiary panels (no Seasons)

Initial sketch showing Gothic inscription panels and Bestiary panels (no Seasons)

And, to be specific, four of them contain dark inscriptions in the Gothic style, and four of them commemorate the Seasons.

Which leaves eight of them to represent the tycoon’s bestiary.

Each skylight must be made to look original, time-worn and – original.

Nothing new,” said the tycoon.

Or else!” growled his bodyguard.

So thank goodness for the medium-grade sandpaper with which, after tack-firing, David then distressed the traced lines:

"I hope it was the best quality medium-grade sandpaper you used ..."

“I hope it was the best quality medium-grade sandpaper you used …”

And thank goodness for the many joys of oil …

"Steady on, you glass painters - remember: I can bite!"

“Steady on, you glass painters – remember: I can bite!”

Lastly, thank goodness for the subtlety of oil-based silver stain:

"Subtle? SUBTLE? You call this 'subtle'?"

“Subtle? SUBTLE? You call this ‘subtle’?”

Which leaves the tantalising question: did the silver stain succeed? You know how unpredictable stain is.

The eighth beast

Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow glass painters: get out your popcorn, settle back in your comfortable seats, turn on your speakers, and – hit the Play button.

With eight beasts prowling around the studio this week, you can see why we weren’t answering the phone

Five days. Eight beasts from start to finish. A long, hard week. And now it’s done.


Stephen Byrne of Williams & Byrne the glass painters

P.S. Does a many-headed beast “beat” Brigitte Bardot? I’ll not be so divisive as to ask you to vote on it. I’ll just pass the “unseen mystery” of the publisher’s sitting room windows back into David’s trusty hands for next time. Or whenever (because we do so like to keep you guessing).

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11 thoughts on “How Do I Follow That … ?

  1. Hello there!

    What oils did you use for staining? And how do you apply them smoothly?


    Best wishes,

    P.S. Nice clip!

    • Hello Bill,

      With silver stain, we make a thick paste using Sandalwood Amyris and a little bit of Lavender. When time comes to use the stain, we dilute it to a working consistency with more Lavender.

      As for making it smooth: you apply it as smoothly as you can, then use a round-headed badger to blend, and finally use a Q-tip / cotton bud to tidy up. All very quick and simple.

      I hope this helps.

      All the best,

  2. WONDERFUL! Yes, the beast beats Brigitte! That series of skylights should be fantastic in the true sense of the word. Thanks for letting all of us see it/them!

  3. Dear Stephen & David,

    Amazing & lovely & scary!!!

    Thank you so much for all your wonderful adventures.

    Are these Welsh dragons? I’ve heard about the Welsh goldmines, and I wonder what creatures will come out of them to your studio now that they know you do this so well … :o)


    • Hello Saskia,

      I believe this particular beast is actually Flemish because I found his original in a book of the so-called “Flemish Apolcalypse” – a rare re-print of which I own (it’s gorgeous … one of only 750 copies ever printed: with gold leaf throughout).

      And yes we’ll continue with studio adventures and instructional events here on this website, while we will mainly deal with glass painting tips and techniques through the regular e-mail newsletter.

      All the best,

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