July 2019 – I am starting a new art glass project for a local client. I was asked to create a piece that would tell the story of her great grandmother’s (Sara) journey and tie-in related historical facts. A secondary theme is the progress of transportation over the years as Sara’s story began with a covered wagon and ended with jet airplanes.
I was given a lot of leeway on this design, and art glass was suggested, but if you’ve seen my work before, you know I rarely use just one medium. So this project could evolve to include metal or other materials as needed.
To the left is a painted sample I’ve made to show the approach I thought to take on this project. In this scene, president Lincoln is marching in a parade while Sara (as a young child) is held by her mother and watches the people pass by.
The design is painted on glass, with three inset fused to main sheet to add some dimension. I’ve taken text from the client’s writings and surrounded the image to help tell the story.
Taking this concept further, I have used the shape of the state of Illinois and created a new scene showing some of the historical events happening during Sara’s time spent in that state. This theme will continue through with her journey to other states as well.
In this example, we see Lincoln in a parade, John Wilkes Booth trying to escape capture after assassinating the president and broken shackles representing the Emancipation Proclamation. Although these events didn’t happen in Illinois, they occurred while Sara was living there and were world changing events.
Art Glass Techniques
Creating these art glass pieces is long series of various techniques. I start with the clear glass and cut the shape of the state using a diamond saw. Next I layout the design and paint the black outlines on the glass using special glass paint which will fuse to the glass. I will fire this piece in the kiln to cure the black paint and then start adding color.
I have the next state in the journey outlined as well. Indiana is actually earlier in the story, but since I had the sample for Illinois, I made it first.
Indiana’s design shows Lincoln taking the oath of office after being elected the 16th president. I’ve also included a rural farm scene to represent Sara’s early years spent here.
I have 3 insets to design which will represent events of the era, such as the beginning of the Civil War.
This is a new way of painting for me, as the paint itself is different, and I have to be patient (who, me??) and wait for kiln firings in between layers. I’m using a tube with a fine tip instead of brush (in some cases), so although I can apply my acrylic painting skills to some degree, I have to adapt to the new medium.
July 16, 2019: I have the first four states drawn to various degrees. Illinois and Indiana are painted in black and have had their first firing. Iowa is painted, but not fired, and Minnesota is drawn on paper.
July 19, 2019: I needed a bigger light table to work on, so I found a 24×28 ceiling light panel and flipped it upside down. It’s a little bright, but the surface area is great to work on. I’ll find something to either diffuse the light or install a dimmer.
July 21, 2019 – More progress with painting the art glass state of Illinois- it’s almost done and should be ready for the kiln later today!
Illinois and Indiana are ready to go in the kiln tonight! 😀