I’ve been a bit preoccupied with stained glass projects over the past year especially, and haven’t really done much in the way of bottle cutting during this time. I’ve made amends for that today, cutting and finishing four bottles that I’ve recovered from several trips walking in The Lake District, which is my other major time-consuming hobby. These will be particularly pleasing to do, as finding litter in such a beautiful area, clearing it and then making it into something really nice is a very satisfying process, as I have outlined in a previous post – idealistic upcyling.
Here are some of the other glass items I’ve been making:
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.
I’m really enjoying combining the copper-foil stained glass techniques with some aspect of bottle cutting to make something a bit more unusual. I wanted to make something a little bit smaller, but liked the look of the larger protruding wine bottle centres, so the next thing I wanted to use as a centre was a mini wine bottle end. I had a lightly blue tinted clear mini wine bottle, so decided to use that one to see how a clearer centre would look in a coloured square.
I cut the mini wine bottle at a height of about 20mm, to give the centre a bit of depth. It separated well, and was flatted to allow for a good gluing surface onto a tightly cut circle of 3mm clear glass. I had a square of turquoise/blue/white bullseye glass which looked good and suitable for the centre, so I cut it to the cross template I’ve made for suncatchers. Sadly, one piece broke off along a seam of white, which is always a potential problem with streaky glass of several colours. Working around the problem, I cut two new squares of a complimentary blue and white streaky glass, and set them as opposites, like in a harlequin style. I soldered the suncatcher very carefully and neatly with K-grade solder, and cleaned it up leaving a nicely shiny end result. It looks great in the light, and is going to a friend in Norway, where it should look great in the long summer evening light.
I had prepared a brown beer bottle bottom a month or two back, having bonded it to a clear circle and copper-foiled it ready for use, but never got round to using it. The copper-foil was starting to show the first signs of darkening and oxidizing, so I decided i had better get used up.
I had an off-cut of amber water glass big enough for a 150mm square, so set about making a regular square surround on the cruciform template around the brown bottle end centre. I cut all the pieces, but the first one ran off as I tapped it out, leaving a gap too large to solder. The “organic design” principle suggested to work around mistakes was applied, so I cut the break out and matched it on the opposite side, leaving what looked like what I can oly describe as the armour plate of a stegosaurus. It looked promising, so I cut all the others out using that as a template. I was a bit worried the end result would be a bit weak hanging, having no continuous join all around the bottle surround, but with a good strong bead on both sides, it feels very strong, and hangs fine. I finished the solder and tinned edges in copper patina, and am pleased with the result, pictured above. The colours compliment each other well, and the soft ripples catch the light really nicely, even at night.
Following on from the first attempt at combining bottle cutting with copper-foil glass making, I’d earlier prepared a few more bottle ends, using the same technique of UV bonding a cut and finished beer bottle end onto a circular piece of 3mm clear glass. The 3mm clear was then quite straightforward to copper-foil, and would sit flat to aid soldering when combined with the other glass which is mostly 3mm also.
I had two brown beer bottles, and some green ones, but the brown ones are the better looking of the two colours, as the green ones have an off-centre circle imprint on them, which doesn’t look so great. The brown tones would dictate the overall look. After a long time deliberating what to do, I finally took an idea from two of my favourite design styles I’ve seen while browsing the net. I like abstract flowers and trees that are a pure circle on a stalk, but by far my favourite stained glass designs are the Prairie style stained glass designs of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The amber tones and wheat grain heads are glorious. Thought I’d read that these geometric designs are best suited to lead rather than copper foil, I thought a simple one wouldn’t be too difficult to do. I had a perfect piece of speckled amber glass to form the wheat grains, and cutting them neatly wasn’t difficult with the use of a small cutting square. The look was quite pleasing, so I opted for clear 3mm glass above and below the amber chevrons, to emphasise them, and not to be overwhelmingly coloured, and I think this decision turned out really well. I’m very pleased. Though the cutting on the edges of the circles could be a little bit closer, as they always run off when going to a point, but I’m pleased with the circles and the chevrons in particular. It’s given me more chance to practise my soldering technique, which does have a lot of room for improvement still. It’s also another hanger loop made from copper wire, which given how bad my first attempt was in the evening class, I’m pleased with the progress there too on what is a fiddle of a process where you need four pair of hands. A copper patina was added to the final solder when complete, which was ideal for the prairie influenced style and colours. Overall, It took about 3.5 hours in total to do.
I’ve finally got around to begining a first attempt at incorporating my bottle cutting hobby with the copper-foil stained glass I begun to learn earlier this year. It’s something I’ve been meaning to get round to for a while, and had two initial plans of making a window hanging design, and using a bottle bottom as a ’roundel’ style centre.
The first thing was to cut a bottle bottom, so I chose a brown beer bottle, and cut it as low as could be successfully done, just above the dots and numbers line at the bottom. This gave the bottle bottom a rise of about 6mm from the main design. I then cut a circle of 3mm thick clear glass at a diameter 6mm larger than the cut bottle bottom, which I edged in copper-foil. The plan here was to allow comfortable room fro the copper-foil and soldering, and also to leave a thin clear halo of glass around the bottle for effect. The bottle edge was flatted with diamond pads, and then bonded to the clear circle of glass using a UV curing glass glue. Care was taken to make the glue bond complete all around the circle as I didn’t want liquids seeping in there during cleaning later on. This completed the centre piece, so next up was to decide what to do with it, so I pulled out all the sheets of coloured glass I had and held them together to see what complimented the brown glass of the bottle bottom. A textured streaky yellow glass looked good, and could be complimented with a copper patina when finished.
I drew around the circle centrepiece, and then measured off a square design off it. The squares were cut, ground and foiled, before being assembled together for soldering on a square edged board. I tacked the pieces together, and then tinned the edges, before completing the main solder joints around the circle and the four joints, which was easier than I had expected. Next up I made a loop out of copper wire, tinned it and then bent it to suit the top corner as I wanted it to hand diagonally. When this was strong and all the soldering was tidied up, I cleaned the glass with a little bicarbonate of soda, and then added the copper patina to the solder. I added a suction hanger to the loop, and tried it out in the window. The end result is very pleasing in look, and I can see further improvement in my finishing, which is quite satisfying.