Mask and Quill stained glass, a Shakespeare Society icon

One of the very best things I got to do while a student at Wellesley College was to be a member of the Wellesley College Shakespeare Society. This is a small troupe of all women which produces and performs one of Shakespeare’s plays each semester. We play all the parts, in a delightful contradiction to Shakespeare’s day when men did the same. The bond we form as members is a lifetime thing, carried along and made stronger still by all who have come before and after.

Wellesley College Shakespeare Society Mask and QuillOur sort of de facto logo for the Society is a mask and quill. After making a more general Wellesley stained glass piece, I’ve been wanting to make one what would also represent Shakespeare Society. As you can see in this photo of a wooden plaque version of the icon, there’s some ornamental decoration along the outside edge that was giving me pause. After talking with some Shakers at a recent event at the House on campus, it was collectively agreed that the mask and quill itself was sufficient for a glass piece.

That’s all it takes to give me a new shiny thing, and I didn’t waste any time in starting to work on a pattern. In the end, it turned out to be a relatively uncomplicated pattern to make. The quill tip is in grey glass, and the feather of the quill is a perfect use for baroque glass. I polled a few Shakers for color, and both burgundy and a sort of gold were suggested. Since glass doesn’t really come in gold, and yellow felt too far ‘off’ to me, I also did a sample in light wispy amber glass. Seems a very good fit. The open eye and mouth are done in this samples with Clear Satin glass. Provides just a touch of texture to be more than ‘plain’ clear glass, but also still easily suggests the voids that are in all representations I have seen of the Mask and Quill.

Two representations of the Shakespeare Society icon of a mask and quill.

While this mask and quill stained glass piece was designed and made with a very specific group of people in mind, it could certainly appeal to any fans of the Bard, and of theater in general perhaps. Let me know what you think! They are $30 each plus shipping.

Addendum, June 19, 2013.
Had some requests for a couple of other colors in the masks, so made more. Am attaching a photo here to show more of the variety in which masks can be done. I am pleased that they are proving to be fairly popular!


Rainbow Stained Glass

Inspiration comes from the darndest places, sometimes. I was looking at a page of rainbow, equality, and tolerance bumper stickers recently, when one of them really caught my eye. Decided to use it as a starting point to design a rainbow stained glass piece, using the rainbow to be the equality bars in the piece. That, in turn, led to an alternate rainbow stained glass piece also for equality, but in reverse, with the rainbow colors surrounding two clear glass bars to represent equality.

Rainbow equality stained glassI did a little tweaking on the first pattern. My initial effort was a little too small to be practical, and didn’t look as balanced as I had hoped it could be. Things look a lot different on paper than when they are rendered in glass! I have a tendency to start small and then wind up having to make it bigger. Same thing happened when I made my pattern for the rainbow peace sign, also inspired by something similar I saw on line. I am happy with the second run on this pattern, with borders of equal width, also matching the clear bar in the center. I went with clear glass rather than any color, including white, because I really wanted the rainbow colors to stand on their own. I did use a textured clear glass to give it a touch more depth. The final piece measures 5″ by 7″. Because the red pieces on the ends get sort of short shrift in real estate compared to the others, future constructions of this could easily have a ‘color shift’, where red is one of the main stripes and some other color winds up a little smaller in the shifting of the rainbow.

Rainbow equality stained glassAfter getting some feedback on the first test piece (not the one pictured above), there was a suggestion to reverse the equality effect, so that led to this second pattern, which I call reverse equality (I know, not terribly clever, but it’s descriptive). I did this one two very slightly different ways. In one, the right and left full length pieces are all one piece. In the other, I broke those up in to three. Was a little unsure about stability the first way, and I also sort of liked how the break lines looked on paper in the second one. I am satisfied with both and would make both again. I think I like the one with the end pieces cut in three slightly better than the other, but that’s definitely just a personal preference more than anything else. Measuring 5 1/4″ by 6 1/4″, both versions are solid and stable.


Equality rainbow stained glassSo, what do you think?

Dancing Star Suncatchers/Ornaments

Who doesn’t enjoy colorful, joyful little suncatchers in their window?

I save a lot of the scrap glass that is left over from most stained glass projects. Some pieces are much to small for any additional use and so are discarded (into recycling, not trash). But then there are the bigger bits… Those are ideal for making into these little dancing stars. I keep a small oaktag pattern piece at my cutting table so I can check right on the spot to see if a leftover bit of glass is big enough. And then those pieces of scrap are stashed to be reused for making these dancing stars. The finished suncatchers are about 2″ by 2″, and can be made with any glass, with any (complementary) color center. I’ll be making lots of red stars soon, from scrap leftover from making a big pile of cardinals last December. What other color combinations would you like to see? Most are all one color glass, but I also make rainbow versions. At $10 each, these are terrific gifts, lovely handmade Christmas tree ornaments (I can put ribbons on those for easy hanging), or just a little colorful suncatcher to hang in your window.

I’ve got several small bins getting full with scrap glass so I think I will making a lot of these little dancing stars as I go. They are nice, quick little projects to do in between bigger ones.

Dancing Star ornaments and suncatchers

Stained Glass Ornaments: Red Birds

When I started making cardinals in stained glass in late 2011, my friend, Tracey, asked about stained glass ornaments of red birds. I did not have any at the time and was not able to work on any new patterns before Christmas. Wasting little time, I wanted to get started early on them for this year.

I based these also on the same cardinal photo I used to create the pattern for the cardinals in stained glass. My intention was to make a fairly simple pattern, just a few pieces of glass, so they could made fairly quickly and easily. I am very curious if people like them.

Stained glass ornaments - red birdsIn the end, I wound up with three  sizes, which you can see illustrated in the gallery. The largest seems too large to function as an ornament but would make a lovely suncatcher in a smaller window. I used a different glass on this one than the other two, a brighter red that’s more translucent than transparent. The other two samples were done in red waterglass, which looks lovely in a window with light coming behind, but probably would be too dark to hang on a tree. So, ornaments would likely get made in the brighter red going forward. I also did each in a different patina for variety, with black on the largest, copper for the middle sized, and silver on the smallest. I need to get matching chain and ribbon for copper patina, a finish I actually hadn’t done on anything for a while. Time to stock up! I’d also used a darker brown glass for the beaks on these, and would use the solid black glass going forward.

Thanks for looking, check out more photos in the gallery, enjoy, and please do let me know what you think!

Stained Glass Single Tulip Suncatchers

Switching from fauna to flora for this one. My friend, Jen, is an amazing woman with a remarkable new local business called the Elf Shelf. She makes custom gift basket arrangements, and delivers them with her son, Nick, a terrific young man with numerous disabilities and also the most amazing ability to make anyone smile. Jen loves tulips, and she’s just inspiring with how she brings so much energy to everything she does, so I decided to make her a stained glass tulip.

Single red tulip bulb in stained glassI just wanted to do something very simple since I wasn’t sure what sort of window space she would have for a piece. I found a pattern on line with several tulips, and I downloaded that, making some edits and adjustments to create a single tulip bulb with a couple of leaves. Used red waterglass for the tulip itself, black patina on the seams, and it turned out nicely. Luckily, Jen loved it!

Large tulip, using all wispy glass.The more I looked at the tulip, though, the more I realized that, to me,  a tulip has a longer, more tapered body. So off I went to find a good photo of a single tulip bulb, and then work that into a pattern. I still wanted to keep the finished pieces fairly simple and wound up doing two sizes, to see what would work best. And because I don’t do anything without going whole hog, I made three samples in each size, with red, yellow and purple glass for the flowers, and various greens for the leaves. There’s a gallery of stained glass flowers works in progress now, as well, if you would like to see what I made.

What do you think? Different colors, different sizes? I think I am partial to the one with purple waterglass. What flowers should I try next?

Large tulip, using a purple swirl waterglass for the bulb.

Stained Glass Hummingbirds, January 2013

Late last fall, I was asked to make a stained glass cardinal. There are scads of free, and very good, cardinal patterns on line and I downloaded several of them. And then I thought, I have a few pretty good cardinal photos. Let’s see if I can make my own pattern. I did, then made a tweak, and wound up making many which were bought for Christmas/holiday gifts. I’ll cover cardinals again soon in relation to ornament versions  I am also working on.

This all leads up to today’s post. Inspired by the successful cardinal pattern, I decided to go through other bird photos to see what other patterns of my own I could make. I started with hummingbirds. I’ve seen many stained glass hummingbirds on line, in a very impressive array of settings. I am leaning towards the more simple here. I think simple can be equally beautiful. I also had a fair bit of black/grey baroque glass left from making a raven, and thought it would work well to imply the fast beating wings.

As you will see in the album that goes along with this post, I picked two images, and created three patterns. I can already see tweaks I want to make in the patterns. I’ll make the belly part one piece going forward, to avoid a random seam in the middle of the body. On the side view hummers, I’ll do a better curve at the bottom of the belly. I have included the original photos on which the patterns were based, in case anyone is curious. I could do a female version of the front facing hummer, as well. Might have to play with that idea a little. For the beak, because these are not large pieces overall, I have opted for 14 gauge wire. All of the pieces here are finished in black patina. The chain is just a 3 inch length so that the bird does not sit right on top of a suction cup or hook.

I’m hopeful that people will like these as I know hummingbirds are very popular. They have such an interesting variety of colors, too, equaling a wide array of glass options. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!


Thanks for visiting my stained glass website. I’ll use this page to post about works in progress, new pieces, things like that. Please make sure to visit the gallery page to see an array of pieces I have made since the fall of 2005. And let me know if there is a piece you would like for yourself!

Currently, I am working on a couple of different patterns for hummingbirds, and also ornament size cardinals/red birds. I had a request for the latter during the past holiday season but just did not have time to do it then. Now, I am already trying to be ready for the next holiday season!

More will be coming soon! Please check back.