How to Commission Stained Glass

A lot of the work I do is commissioned by people so in this post I talk about the process and types of work people have requested in the past.

Glass work in particular is very labour intensive and the materials – glass, solder, lead etc. are expensive. A 30 x 20 sheet of glass can cost anything from £6 to £100s. So it makes sense people want something personalised. I really like working on commissions and bringing someone’s ideas to life.

Often I work from photographs but sometimes it is a process of working with the person to create from an idea. For example, a lady asked me to make a large window that would remind her of the sea. I asked her to send me some pictures of glass she liked and used that as an inspiration to design something that fit the space. I sent sketches to her and we discussed colours. When the glass came in, I sent her some photos and, I sent photos as the piece progressed.

In another case the customer wanted a hare and moon but she had a very specific idea on what the hare should look like – I drew a lot of hares that week!

I also made a dancing chicken for a lady whose son loves chickens.

For Stained Glass I will often ask lots of questions about where the window will be placed as certain factors impact the way I need to build the window. It really helps to get some photos of the space it is going into as well.

Commissioned work is priced based on materials and the complexity of the design but it can be as little as £10. For larger pieces I will ask for a 50% deposit, particularly if I am ordering in materials for the work.

Delivery of larger pieces can be expensive so it’s best we discuss upfront – I’m not sure anyone would trust a cheap courier with fragile glass!

Finally, unless we discuss otherwise, I retain the copyright on all design work. In practice what this means is that I may use the design to make another piece.

If you are interested in commissioning work, please get in touch.

Creating Dimension with Paul Messink

Last week I had the great pleasure of spending a week with Paul Messink ( learning about his technique for creating depth in fused glass pieces using multiple layers of glass and enamel paints.

A field of sunflowers made from 6 layers of fused glass and enamel paint. The final firing takes 36 hours in the kiln.

Paul specialises in foggy landscapes, often featuring trees. He said he loves the paint graveyards but finds people don’t want to hang them in their living rooms!

Pre-final firing of a deep fused landscape. Made with 6 layers of fused glass and enamel paints.

The process involves using photographs and breaking them into layers. The elements from each layer are painted onto fusing glass. So, for example a fence might be layer one, trees layer two, hills layer three and so on. The layers are then stacked and fired for about 36 hours in the kiln. The resulting piece can be freestanding, wall mounted or put in a stand.

Pre-final firing of a deep fused landscape. Made with 6 layers of fused glass and enamel paints.

The biggest challenge is getting the layers right so when stacked they overlap and look 3D. Starting with the right image and chosing the right colours is incredibly important.

I have worked with deep fusing before, there’s an example in my fused glass gallery, but that was mostly with frit (powdered glass). This technique uses only enamel paints so gives a very different feel allowing a lot of variety in the way you blend the colours.