While working on a small stand-alone shelving cabinet many years ago, I had the idea of using stained glass rather than wood as a floating panel in the sides of the cabinet I was building. Well, didn’t that open a whole new world.
After a quick visit to Fantasy in Glass, Canada’s biggest and best stained glass store, I found a beautiful piece of Chicago art glass in swirling browns and blues. All I had to do was cut it into rectangles. Easier said than done.
It turns out that stained glass does not cut as cleanly as window glass, and your Home Depot glass cutter just won’t cut it (pun intended). After a quick return to the store to buy another $40 of glass, I had the owner Mike cut the glass for me.
I commented on how easy he made it look, and Mike suggested that I take a weekend stained glass course that he offers.
Ten years later I am still fanatic about stained glass.
My stained glass pieces are based on my interpretations of three design genres: the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the British Arts and Crafts designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the Canadian Impressionist painters of the Group of Seven.
I create most of these pieces on spec when a particular design or idea jumps into my mind. Rather than build one-offs, I build a limited number of versions of a single design, each with slight pattern or construction tweaks.
Sometimes I put too many pieces in an area where I can reduce the number of pieces and rely on the character of the glass itself to create the look I want.
Sometimes my paper designs do not translate well into glass. I had one panel that included a single piece of glass was was devilishly tough to cut because part of it was very narrow; after breaking four almost-completed pieces of glass, I re-designed the pattern to make that piece of glass wider so that it did not break while cutting.
Stained glass is the ultimate expression of the Arts and Crafts movement: combining quality materials, hand assembly and good old fashioned craftsmanship to create beautiful yet simple and functional decorative items.
I do not have a lot of items in inventory, but feel free to check out my stained glass items. If anything catches your eye let me know and I might be able to build what you want on a semi-custom basis for my next project.