This 12″ x 16″ panel was commissioned by Monica’s brother and his wife, Harry and Esther Taylor from Intervale. Harry wanted a pheasant theme as he see lots of them on his farm along the North River. Harry mentioned a rooster, hen and maybe some chicks. The details were left to me and I found great joy in the creative license as I searched for free patterns online. I envisioned a rooster sitting on an old pole fence looking down at a hen and chicks passing by. Therefore, it would be spring by default because of the chicks… that would mean freshly ploughed fields as opposed to mature corn stalks. In addition, the hen and chicks would need camaflauge cover along the edge of the field. So, the right glass selection to accomplish the effects would be important.
There weren’t many patterns available for what I had in mind but I did find a free rooster pattern which I adapted from Chantal’s Stained Glass Patterns. He is in a pose with his tail up behind him as he is looking down. I sized it accordingly and drew the rest of my pattern around him. I took the draft to show Harry and Esther for their approval. The only other thing we added was the “LIC #23” sign. That’s Harry’s property license # for pheasants.
For the glass, I tapped into my inventory at home as well as purchasing some new glass from three different suppliers (Downey in Maugerville plus Cranberry and Atlantic in Halifax/Dartmouth). My happiest discovery was in a shoe box of scraps in my studio at home – the irridescent blue for the rooster’s neck and crest. I also found in the same box a nice purple for his breast and legs. Incidently, there are 22 different types of glass in this panel. That surpasses the Coral Reef lamp for that much variety. Also, at 280 pieces of glass in this size panel, it’s one of the most intricate patterns I have done so far.
Because of the intricate pattern, I cut and ground different sections as I went along to keep everything organized and in place. It also helped to keep the various section paper pattern pieces in separate envelopes for quicker searching. It was slow going but luckily I had three or four uninterrupted days in the studio so progress was steady.
Once all pieces were ground to fit and washed, I assembled the panel on a glass sheet so I could set it on the light box and get a look at it illuminated. Not bad, except there was more orange than I intended especially in the green mottled background (which turns very orange under light). I consulted with Esther and she agreed there wasn’t enough contrast between the background and the ploughed fields when the panel was lit. So, I replaced the mottled background with an opalescent whispy green. That gave the desired contrast.
I continued to fine-tune the grinding as I foiled my way down through the panel from top to bottom. As I expected, the pattern grew with each piece foiled so I was continuously downsizing pieces to fit. This meant I had to abandon my comfy chair in front of the TV and relocate to my studio in the basement to be near the grinder. I didnt mind a bit. Through many hours of standing in this project, my feet and legs held up very well.
Soldering and framing was completed over 2 days. It was slower going than usual because, I suppose, of the intricate pattern. One exciting challenge was a new way of cutting the frame at the top to accommodate new brass hangers. This is the first time using them and I like their strength and security better than ring hangers. The frames are cut square at the tops and 45 degrees at the bottoms. After everything was soldered, washed and polished, I painted the frame with black lacquer and used water based tole paints for the sign and the rooster and chicks’ eyes.
From start to finish, I estimate 50 hours of work over two weeks (probably more). It was an interesting and challenging project which really pushed my fine finger work in grinding and foiling. I was pleased with the results and proud to present the finished panel to Harry and Esther at their home.