Kevin Carpenter, a friend from Saint John, brought me his idea for a 4.5′ x 1′ window transom to fit a space above his patio doors and illuminate his beautiful antique upright piano and dining room. Secrecy was paramount as it would be a surprise for his partner, Karla Baxter, a good friend and colleague of mine with whom I had worked at NBCC.
A quick visit to Kevin’s house to measure the space and discuss color options to compliment the decor and then it was off to Downey Stained Glass in Maugerville to consult with Brenda Downey on glass options. The result was this concept drawing for Kevin’s approval.
- Outer border of 4″ x 1.5″ clear green bevels, with clear/glue-chip corner bevels
- Then a 2″ strip of clear glue-chip,
- then a .75″ purple border
- surrounding a central field of clear glue-chip.
- Across the center field would lay three large beveled diamond clusters separated by single diamonds, all clear with glue-chip centers.
- As a special request, Kevin asked if I could incorporate his and Karla’s initials, K&K somewhere into the panel. Challenge accepted!
Kevin was very patient throughout the spring of 2016 while Monica and I gallivanced across Europe for a month (such a great time we had). But, I was right back into the studio as soon as we returned home.
Pattern creation was a breeze in laying out the geometric design. The trick was to calculate to within 1/8″ the dimensions of the glass blocks in the design. That meant turning on the old math circuits in my brain…ouch! When finished, the entire thing including the zinc frame around it had to fit exactly inside a window frame up against the existing glass in the window. Three measurements for confirmation: 54.5″ x 13″.
Glass cutting took a morning (happily – I love cutting glass). Grinding took a day (wrist was sore after that – broken wrist healing slowly, 3 months now). Washing took one hour clean. Foiling took a lazy day in front of the TV (wrist was good during that). Soldering was an entire day (6 hours) because once you start, you can’t stop until finished.
Then a morning and part of an afternoon for framing, washing, drying, polishing and packaging for transportation in preparation for installation. Total hours to finish not including installation, 30 hours.
My lovely assistant and business manager, Monica, along with Kevin’s hired carpenter, Mike Rouse, helped me install this panel while Kevin and Karla were out of the house, in secret and without Karla’s knowledge, all orchestrated by Kevin (what a surprise planner he is). Installation went very smoothly… first we washed the existing window over the patio doors, then we set the panel in place and secured it with peel ‘n stick caulking (Home Depot) all around the perimiter. Total installation time was 15 minutes. What a relief that 1) it actually fit as planned and 2) we didn’t drop it by mistake…whew!