At Christmas I was given a gift of a day’s work at Abinger Stained Glass, and today was the day. I set of with some trepidation, in that the nascently repaired car had not had a full run since the crank TV damper (also known as the pulley) had been replaced. And then the heater disconnected due to the damage done to that by the garage. Huh! So it was a rather cold I who arrived, and was glad to stand in front of the heater for a few minutes.

At the workshop, there was Amanda in the teacher role, and the two others on this one day trial, Lisa and Kathy. First job was to decide what to do. I liked many of the numbers but there was no obvious number that would mean something to me. I half joked about a symbol, such as the “@” symbol, but that might make me too much of a geek. Oh no, Amanda said, so we were up and running.

The initial idea drawn out.

While Lisa and Kathy were doing rectangular pieces, I was on a roundal, which did involve some different techniques. Common to all was to draw the object. Amanda managed to produce a large scale “@” symbol, which was put into the centre of a circle. A red outer line, a black mid line and a pencil line defined the shape of the of lead around the perimeter. As I was doing a circle, the red and black lines were separate, but for rectangular work, these two lines were close together.

After the outer circle and the shape itself, there then came the defining of the “arbitaries” – the small lead pieces that split the glass up. In my case, it was to graduate the colours, spiraling inwards around the tail of the symbol, and a deep red centre.

The chosen glass

Again, in my case, the symbol was defined by 1/2″ H lead, and then much smaller 1/4″ H for the arbitaries and the outer circle. The rectangulars had a C shaped lead for the perimeter.

Cutting the glass turned out to be fairly straight forward, but I would sometimes have “feathering” or other non-expected splitting along the curves – something obviously for practice. I was also guilty of cutting the glass slightly too big. By lunch time all the glass was cut to shape and laid out on the original drawing.

After lunch the lead – and by the way, we were making leaded glass samplers, not stained glass, as we were not processing the glass with metals and other items to “paint” on the glass.

Amanda had to help a fair bit on my sampler – the lead around the red centre was done by her while I was wrestling with the two other parts of the 1/2″ H, and there was more than one occasion when the work had to be almost taken apart so as to add the next of the 11 pieces of glass.

Putting the lead in.

Lisa kindly let me take a photo of her job before it was soldered, to show the detail of how a rectangular piece is put together – note how the thin H parts go underneath the edging pieces.

Lisa's cupcake - showing different techniques

Once the piece was complete, tallow was added to all the joints to be soldered (as a flux). Then the soldering with a gas soldering iron. Here my electronics training came in, as I was used to how solder flows, and on the whole I was able to do this job quite quickly. True I put a hole in the lead at one point, but also was able to cover it up, that even Amanda claimed she was not sure.

Ready for soldering.

After soldering on the under side, voila! Can be viewed up to the light.

Not yet finished - but can be moved.

And, to complete, the gallery of all three. Lisa’s cupcake was a good idea will executed, and Kathy’s colour co-ordination made a delightful collection in blue.

Our three samplers.

The samplers are not yet finished. They need to be cemented, dried, cleaned, then blackened; all of which Amanda does because of the time they take to set/finish between operations.

While I was aware that something would be made in the day, it was a still a surprise that from idea to “finished” – something that could be moved around – could be done in a day.