Etched window with wood blinds

Project of the month

This months project is a bathroom window. The view looking out was of the neighbors wall and kitchen window. The customer wanted etched glass but did not want to cast a shadow on the bath room window. She did not want to use regular blinds and have it be dark. She wanted the light to shine in. The solution was to build a wooden blind in between the window and the etched glass. This would let the light in without letting anyone see in the bathroom. This type of installation makes the etched glass very soft. The light coming through the window is diffused. The picture makes it seam hard to see, but it is clear in person. We tried both white blinds and black blinds to see which one made the glass look the best. To my surprise it was the white.

veiw out window
wooden blinds
Finished window

The first thing when designing a window is the artwork. The home owner wanted a simple design in the middle with a contemporary border. I met with her to find a starting point for the artwork. She liked my sample so we used that. I designed several possible pieces for her to choose from. The pictures below show the art as I changed and created different designs. This is called vector art. I use a program called Adobe Illustrator. This allows me to create patterns from lines and shapes. They remain the same at any size. Once her artwork was ready it was time for the glass. First I cut a Piece of 1/4″ glass to fit the window. Then I cut a stencil. Apply it to the glass. Start sandblasting.

Sample art1
Sample art 2
art choice

This design is a stage blast. That means that the lines of the design are carved into the glass. Then the stencil is removed from the glass and the rest of the glass is blasted solid. The glass must be safety tempered after blasting. That creates some limitations. The main one being depth. In order for the glass to go through he tempering oven, it can not be carved more than half way through the glass. This is a worse case scenario because I never want to push my luck that far. There is nothing worse than spending six hours blasting something only to have it blow up in the oven. Then you get to start all over again. On a 1/4″ piece of glass I like to go about 1/8″ to 3/32″ deep.

First stage
Depth
Second stage

The next step is the tempering oven. Tempering heats the glass up to as high as 1200 degrees for as much as nine minutes. This all depends on the thickness of the glass. it is then cooled down quickly by blowing cool air over it. This is called the quench. If I have gone to deeply or to close to the edge, This is the point that is becomes a pile of broken glass.

Ready furnace
Tempering furnace
In the Quench

If I have one piece of tempered glass at this point it is ready to install. I built the blinds out of popular wood because it paints very well for a hard wood. The slats are 2 1/2″ by 1/2″ thick. The frame is 5/8″ thick. I then painted the blinds white. The frame is nailed in the window frame. The etched glass is installed smooth side out using 1/4 round trim to hold it in. A little touch up painting and our project is complete.

On the truck
Finished window
Close up

The view from the outside shows the blinds and provides complete privacy. While I was at it we etched the sidelite of her front door. I allow my work to speak for itself. I do not use the names or adresses of my client to protect their privacy.

Outside
Outside close up
Front door

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Artist of the month Alphonse Mucha

Alphonse Mucha is the artist of the month this month. He was born July 24,1860 in southern Moravia {part of the Czech Republic today}. When he was 19 years old he got a job as a painter, painting theatrical scenery in Vienna. He worked there until a fire burned down the theater and put him out of work. He roamed around the country to avoid his family’s concern’s and sketched landscapes and portraits. He also painted drop curtains for local theater’s. He made enough of a reputation to get commissioned to paint murals at Emmahof castle and Gandegg castle.
In 1885 he entered the Munich academy of art where he studied for two years. In 1887 he moved to Paris and entered Academe Julian. He studied there until 1889 when he ran out of money and began making a living illustrating books and catalogs. While working as an illustrator he began to take photographs of his models and catalog them with detailed notes.
It was by chance that he designed a poster for Sarah Bernhardt. The printer didn’t like it but Sarah loved it. This made him famous. He had a flare for designing very ornate and detailed pieces. The posters for Sarah had a huge amount of detail. He was paid well to create poster for Sarah’s plays. While working on the poster’s he was flooded with orders for advertisement illustrations. Most of the commissions he received was for calendars, posters, champagne posters and biscuit boxes.
Art Nouveau became known as the Mucha style. He worked with a printer named Champenois who printed his decorative panels on paper and satin. The panels where sold to people to use as decoration in their homes. He died July 14, 1939. This information was taken from the book Mucha by Arthur Ellridge
The reason Mucha is the artist of the month is because his design style is perfect for glass etching. If you pay attention to the borders around his subjects they are sometimes more intricate than the subject. He also did drapery in most of his advertisements. Most of his work featured women with flowing loose garments. The study of drapery is one of my favorites when it comes to glass etching. The long flowing gowns with all their folds and curves where sometimes very detailed and sometimes very simple. He was a very good illustrator. His imagination was very strong when designing the posters of women and the ornate borders. He would often add flowers in their hair.
Art Nouveau has lost it’s flare when it comes to decorating but I think it is very important to study the work he did when it comes to etching. When you add a design in the middle of the glass, if you study Mucha’s work, you can add a huge amount of flare by adding a very ornate and detailed border. Glass etching has always been about flowers. It is my guess the most etched theme. The old style copper wheel engravings where almost always flowers. Mucha’s style included flowers in the borders and in the flowers in the backgrounds and in his models hair. I think Art Nouveau has a place in glass etching forever. I would like to see the Mucha style live forever.
Mucha was in my opinion one of the great masters when it comes to imagination. His flare for adding a design in the background instead of just the solid color. This idea would work well with etching by way of adding detailed designs in the background by blasting through things like lace or screen or even blasting the background on the other side of the glass.
Mucha is one of my favorite artist and an inspiration in my glass art. Let his work be an inspiration to you as well.

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