Right from the start of mixing bottle bottoms with copper-foil designs, I’ve used a 3mm UV-bonded clear circle blank as a backing piece for the bottle ends, as I’ve always felt it adds strength though a fully soldered joint and overall appearance improvement. Occasionally though, despite very careful bonding, and neat soldering, a few drops of water have sneaked through into the enclosed bottle bottom cavity when washing away the patina. I’ve managed to dry them out using natural sunlight, open fires and even industrial desiccant, but it’s not without some water streaks left inside to drive me mad! No-one notices them, but I do. I still think it’s by far the best way to make them though, but out of curiosity for the alternative, I thought I would try one without backing as an experiment.
I begun by foiling the cut edge of the bottle bottom, which , with care, wasn’t as untidy as I thought it could be. I lifted the bottle end up towards the front surface using some 3mm glass, ensuring the front solder was as substantial and visually neat as the backed centres method. This ensures a good looking front face, which is the most important thing in a window hung design. This leaves a step between the two rear foiled surfaces, for solder to form a sloped join. The result is ok, but does need the sort of working that puts a lot of heat in during smoothing. It’s pretty strong, but what I don’t like about this method is that it leaves a tinned edge on the upper edge of the round, which is a little bit vulnerable to careless cleaning. From the front, you wouldn’t really tell the difference between the two methods, and it looks good hanging on a window surface. I guess time wise, it probably saves a good half-hour or so from by cutting out the need for a 3mm circle and the UV bonding, but I still prefer the end results from the backed method I’ve been developing over the last year or two. It’s been useful to try it out, and I would use this method again on a design that is very one-sided in viewing orientation.
I had a punted olive wine bottle, which had a nicely textured dotted pattern on the surface of the punt itself, as well as a faultless ribbed edge. I though this would make a great bottle centre for another suncatcher, so prepared it for a 35 mm deep cut that would clear the hump of the punt when adhered to a flat circle. When cut, I saw that the end was actually really light in weight, which was a bonus, so I finished it, and bonded it to a tightly cut circle of 3 mm clear as before.
The end result was probably one of the best bottle centres I’ve ever made, so I proceeded to chose the accompanying glass carefully to make something really nice. A previous deep punted bottle bottom that I had used looked great with antique amber spectrum glass, with the seeds and lines glistening in direct sunlight.Though tricky to cut, I liked the narrow banding that 10mm coloured borders of previous hangers has given, so I looked to a range of colours to compliment the green and amber. Greens lacked enough permiter definition, and a red was too contrasting. A rough rolled spectrum violet looked good with the other colours, and was selected, cutting neatly into 10 mm strips. K grade soldering was completed neatly to the closely cut pieces, and finished with black patina followed by graphite grate polish to good effect. The end result is very pleasing, and looks particularly good on a bright sunny day like today.
The two green and white baroque glass suncatchers I made in December for Christmas presents looked so good, I decided to get some stock of the other colours and make some more.
When the two colours came, the cinnamon baroque one looked a little light in a window compared to a brown bottle centre, so I chose to use the blue one first, which has strong banding that I thought would compliment a Blue Nun bottle bottom beautifully. I cut the bottle bottom off, and bonded it to a clear circle as previously. However, as is the risk in this method, a bit of water sneaked inside the bottle end when cleaning, which went on to dry slightly streaky. The square of blue baroque I cut up was so nice, I decided not to risk it on a less than perfect bottle bottom.
At work there were a couple of old sample dichroic bevel squares, with a textured raised centre that changes between clear/pink/gold/blue depending on the light refraction, so I used one of those to save this lovely bit of baroque glass, with it’s striking rings. I finished the solder in black patina and polish, and although the photo is on a dark day, the end result is quite striking with the dramatic rings and the chromatic texture changing colours. I might try a few more alternative centres now and again, as the bottle ones do take a lot of preparation sometimes. I’ve got a couple more of these bevels, and some stained glass roundels to try out.
I bought a small square of bullseye reeded glass about a year ago, intending to use it in a prairie style copperfoil design at sometime, but when I came to make one recently, it didn’t really work in with the other colours I picked, so I set it aside for another use. I also had a grey cathedral glass, again for another idea initially, but the two together looked good, giving a sort of black and white look, so that’s the way I decided to go.
A clear mini wine bottle bottom, rescued from a street nearby a month or two back, was picked out of the pile, and cut and prepared for foiling. Clear was the only choice to avoid any colour in the design. I centred the bottle end on the cross template, and cut a 100x100mm square of grey cathedral glass, cutting it into four, then shaping the arc around the outline of the bottle end. I then cut the reeded glass into 20x120mm strips to be able to form a border around the grey square, offsetting the corners for strength. I ground the edges a little in parts to level off to ensure a tight and neat fit when foiled, and used silver backed copper foil tape to allow a silver finish in the end to compliment the monochrome look. Soldering was completed using K grade solder, and cleaned up to give a shiny finish.
When hung in the light, the two directions of the reeded glass catches the light differently, giving an effect of four different tones across the whole design, which works very well in a monochrome way. I’m really pleased with the end result.