I recently finished an octagonal piece for a young couple and am awaiting eight narrow strips of pine to finish the back of the frame. So, in the meantime I’ve begun an abstract square panel.
I don’t pre-plan a design – it evolves according to the colors and textures I have chosen. This project incorporates not only coloured glass but also many glass globs to give the piece lots of sparkle.
I began by laying out flowing lines of the globs then cut pieces of carefully chosen coloured glass to balance colour and texture. I just lay these pieces onto the globs.
The next step (which is long and tedious) is to cut and grind the glass to fit around the globs.
Now I have to put copper foil around every glob and piece of glass having made sure each piece is clean and dry. (The solder does not stick to glass.) The copper foil comes in various widths as the glass comes in many thicknesses. The foil must be pressed firmly onto each glob and piece of glass. I use a fid for the glass (having worn through the handles of two pairs of my good Henckle scissors over the years!) The globs are wrapped in 5/32 inch tape and take forever to get the tape firmly on each. I use a piece of acetate laid on cardboard then rub the glob so that the top and underside is smooth. Sometimes I wonder why I use so many globs!
Once every thing is taped it is time to solder. A liquid flux is applied to the copper so that the solder will flow smoothly. After soldering both the front and back of the piece I will cut the zinc came which I use for the frame. After a thorough cleaning using detergent and steel wool and drying completely, the patina is applied to darken the solder. Once again – a thorough cleaning, but no steel wool as the patina is only on the surface of the solder. Thoroughly dried once again, the zinc came gets painted as, after all these years, I still can’t get the zinc patina to look good.
The end is near! A good waxing and the piece will be ready to hang.
(I am only at the soldering stage but eventually this piece will be in the Station Gallery.)
My next shift at the Station Gallery will be June 26th. Maybe I’ll see you there.