Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stained Glass OR Fusion Glass

When planning a decorative glass window for your home you have the choice of techniques -- stained glass, fusion glass, or a mixture of the two.  Which is best for a particular location depends upon many factors. 

BUT FIRST, I'll clarify the techniques:  In a stained glass window (maples leaves below) the pieces of glass are held together with solder applied to copper foil or by lead channels.  Fusion glass is made by layering small pieces of glass on a large sheet of clear glass and fusing it all together in a kiln.  You don't see any lead lines (the birch trees).

1. Will you be viewing this window from one or both sides?  In a front door, where you'll probably want your window to look great from both sides, stained glass is an obvious choice.  Most fusion glass designs have a front and back side, with more intense colour and detail on the front side.  For a bathroom or clerestory window, one-side viewing is probably the norm.

THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS.  A two-sided relief pattern was chosen for this door so it can be enjoyed equally from both sides.

2. Are there complex shapes in your design?  With stained glass you need to add a lead line at each right angle.  The designs in this French door would look very busy if done in stained glass.  Also, by using fusion glass I was able to add detail to the  zebra.

3. What are your budget limitations?  Generally, making fusion glass windows is less labour intensive, so they can cost less.  However I do have to factor in the electrical costs in operating the kiln.

4. What about weight and strength?  Fusion glass is usually 6 mm thick, while stained glass tends to be 3 mm.  The thick fusion glass is heavier, but less likely to be broken. Your location will be a factor in deciding which attributes are pros and which are cons.In my next blog I'll talk about some interesting options achieved by combining both stained and fusion glass.  In the meantime, take a look at some of the windows at http://www.turtlecreekglass.ca/.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Gallery and New Show

I'm pleased that The Edge Gallery at 32 Dunlop St. W. in Barrie is now carrying some of my sculptural pieces, including Red Intertwined.  If you have a chance to drop in, please say hello to Gallery owner Kate Ramos and tell her you read about her gallery on my blog.

Red Intertwined

Last Run

Magnolia Snow Cones

Glass Under Glass opened today at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. This is the sixth annual show featuring glass art in the Mediterranean Garden. With all the wonderful natural light and the contrast between glass and plants this makes a great way to spend a cold afternoon. The show will run until February 25th.   Many of my entries this year focus on winter sports and winter landscapes.  I hope you have a chance to see the show.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Glass Sculptures Outdoors

Surprisingly, glass can be an ideal medium for decorating your home on the outside. Bright colours, illuminated by sunlight, provide a focus of contrast to more neutral siding -- a particularly welcoming sight in northern climates where flowers bloom for only 3 or 4 months. Well-tempered glass thrives in all temperatures, even the harsh winters we have in Collingwood. In one of the pictures below the glass maple leaves fastened to a garage wall had just been hit by flying snow, reminding me of an unexpected November storm. The other sculpture has adorned a home in Collingwood for several years now. The garden sculpture is even older and although it gets buried each winter under a snow drift it is a welcome sight on the first thaw. To see more fusion glass sculptures go to http://www.turtlecreekglass.ca/.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Winter Scenes in Glass

Ski Day at Osler Bluff

Apple Tree in Winter

Sumach in Winter

Living and working, as I do, at the edge of the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario, I'm able to enjoy the magic of a snowfall and the fun of skiing close by.  After a recent snowfall I captured that winter wonderland in some of my new glass sculptures.  These will be featured at a show at Osler Bluffs Ski Club on Saturday, January 14, 2012.  They can also be purchased through my studio.