The Steps to a Stained Glass Commission

First I meet with the client.  Through conversation and visiting the site important information is collected; color preferences, location of glasswork, lighting conditions, artistic tastes, meaningful imagery/symbols, budget and timeline.  If meeting in person is not possible a Zoom meeting can be arranged.  Below is a photo of a client's site when we first met, including the transom windows over which they desired to have stained glass installed.

 Following our meeting I make a simple sketch of a design idea.  I scan a line drawing that I color in Photoshop and present my sketch idea superimposed on the photograph of their windows.  Though much less detailed and flatter than the finished piece it gives the client a pretty close feel for the idea.  I learn from the client's reaction what elements need to be changed.  


I begin the work of preparing all the glass pieces.  I love to incorporate fused glass into my work as it adds texture and shimmer. The photo below shows a fused glass school of fish as part of the big wave in the far left window.

After fusing is done the painting begins, which is the most exciting step for me. The painting is a many-stepped process requiring several firings of glass enamels to establish the depth of shading that I like.   I use a technique of painting black over everything and then slowly stippling it away.  It leaves a grainy effect that unites the pieces.

Occasionally I continue to paint and fire on colored enamels over the black.


Facetted jewels and beveled glass can focus the light and movement gracefully.  Here is a detail  from another finished piece that show jewels, fusing, bevels and painting.

To add interest and richness to the glass panel when it is not transmitting light, such as at night, gold lusters can be fired on for their reflective quality.

When all the puzzle pieces of the glass panel are cut, fused and painted it is time to put everything together.  To do so I use the traditional materials of channelled lead strips called came that are soldered together where they meet.  Here I am doing just that in my studio, leading up a different piece.

The finished individual panels of the transom window commission.

The installed commission.