I designed and built this window for a client who was building a Mid-century, Retro-style bar in their Ohio City home.
Their first bit of direction was to take inspiration from the artist Kandinsky. Knowing this, I visited their home to assess the project and saw their amazing collection of art, the plans for the super-cool bar, and some great wallpaper they planned to use.
Clearly they were not afraid of making a statement. So I forged ahead, designing something we termed “pleasantly janky” and modern for the space. The design incorporates textured and colored translucent and opalescent glass to hold the light and obscure the view.
The panel’s bold presence cannot be denied, but it plays well with the other art in the space and feels right at home.
Zoeller Front Door Transom Window - 66" x 12" 2005
One of my first stained glass commissions was an exuberant floral transom. Like many budding artists, I was still working my day job (building and repairing windows for churches) but yearning to do something different and more expressive - something of my own design. Also like many budding artists, my first real commission was for a member of my family, in this case, my sister, Gwenn. When she said she was interested in having a piece of my work over her front door, I jumped at the opportunity. I would pull out all the stops and make a doozie of a window for her. I was going to pack every technique and skill I could into this exciting commission (a budding artist move if there ever was one).
64 Crayon Box
A small selection of mouthblown German glass from Glashutte Lamberts.
Yesterday, I signed for and received the Lamberts Glass Sample Set that I ordered. Perhaps nothing I have done in the past few months of getting my business ready for the real world has been so satisfying. Even to order it, one has to have gotten an account and to have proven themselves to be a real business. Check and check. And then, it ain’t cheap. Deciding to purchase the set is a commitment to the fact that I’m going to work this sample set hard - that I am going to turn this box of information into serious work and profit. Commitment made.
The wooden box itself is a nice object. 11” x 13”, and about 5” deep, it is dovetailed and has a hinged top. It is built to last. The ones I’ve used in the past have been around for decades. This one is squeaky clean, and the dings and marks it will collect over the years will be mine.
It is the contents, tho, that make me giddy. Hundreds of colors. Shiny, rich, palpable colors. Each sample is only about 2 x 3 inches. From these little, hand-held samples, you order big, beautiful sheets of handmade, mouth-blown glass that measure approximately 2 x 3 feet. And, oh, the color. Sitting in the box, they are just dark and unremarkable, but in the light, they come alive. So many shades of nuanced greens and triumphant blues. Calm greys and exuberant ambers. Regal purples, natural browns, and every imaginable gorgeous shade of red. And they’re not just crayons to mark with or a fixed paint color to cover a surface. They are magic. They change with the amount of light and time of day. The intensity of each color varies by the thickness of the piece of glass. Bubbles and imperfections alter the effect of light as it passes through. It’s kind of a heady thought, but colored glass in light might be the closest we come to handling a physical representation of pure color.
And I get to play with it.
Or, um, work. Yeah. Work.
Subscribe for short stories, updates and event details for stained glass and decorative arts by Bruce Buchanan.
78th Street Studios
1305 West 80th St
Cleveland, OH 44102 USA
Visit us at Studio #108 during OPEN HOUSE every Friday 11 am - 4 pm and THIRD FRIDAYS every third Friday of the month from 5 pm - 9 pm.
**HOURS/EVENTS CURRENTLY SUSPENDED DUE TO COVID-19.**
3 Windows | Residential Restoration Project
Getting Started - ‘Scenic Slides’ Pt. 1 with Bruce Buchanan
Scenic Slide Finished Product