“In Memory of Mark; The Drawing!
Several of us Lumberjocks were still kicking around ideas about what would be the best way to create a lasting memorial that could also be ongoing way to raise money to help defray the expenses of the Lumberjocks website.
Concurrently, along with the exchanges and various ideas flowed back and forth between the Lumberjocks, I needed to move forward with building the stained glass piece. The drawing in stained glass work is called “the cartoon”. From the cartoon comes the panel or finished piece. I had to take my final drawing and have it reproduced in order that I could cut patterns, number the pieces, and use as a template and layout guild for the piece.
I neither have, nor could justify the cost of a scanner and plotter of the size required to reproduce the drawing to the size I wanted so I took the final drawing and headed off to Kinko’s.
I always dread this part of any project because of the uncertainty and unpleasant experiences I have had with these “evil machines” that have eaten my drawings in the past. I picture this menacing machine with a smirk and grin that says “about time you got here – I am hungry”.
I hate them. Those machines are predators! They pray on those of us who are electronically challenged.
I know of very few feeling of helplessness like that of a machine munching down on one of your original drawings on which you invested hours and now is lodged in the throat of some roller on a cold lifeless machine with a blinking error light that says, “JAM”!
The thought of this sends shutters up and down my spine.
Have I told you how much I hate these machines?
Moving forward with great confidence I go to make copies of my drawings.
I enter the back door and walk past the machine. I swear that it looked at me with an evil eye and I even heard it burp!
Have I told you how much I hate that machine?
I seek out help from the assistant manager who gives me the confidence to feel a little smug as though I have outsmarted the machine. As I walked by it, I stuck my tongue out at it.
The assistant manager gladly helped me and took my drawing making some very nice comments and small talk. He recognized that this was going to be a stained glass piece and impressed me with his knowledge about the craft.
He even commented that the dove featured in the cartoon looked like it was ascending into the heavens.
I smiled, because that is exactly my intent and hope that others would recognize this theme.
As we waited for the machine to warm up we were engaged in some pleasant small talk. It turns out he was a framing carpenter for several years and we were able to share some of our experiences.
The machine is finally warm and he presses the button confidently. The machine takes my drawing as it disappears behind the rollers.
The machine stops!
So does my heart!
That sick feeling returns. You know what I am referring to. Every one of us have e experienced it at one time or another.
That sick feeling is back again, this time with a vengeance!
I take a deep breath as he fumbles still sporting a smile.
His smile seems fake and forced.
I felt like a deer stuck in the headlights.
None of the thoughts at that moment can be printed here for fear I would be accused of being a verbal terrorist and risk being locked up for a long time.
For a moment I thought, “It just might be worth doing the time”, fearful that my original drawing had been destroyed.
Calm prevailed as he opened covers and began what looked like major surgery on this machine. I secretly hoped the darn thing had finally died its rightful death. However, I wanted my drawing back first.
After all this was the only one I had.
What seemed like an eternity came to a conclusion in short order. Soon he had the machine spitting out copies.
The color returned to my face and I started breathing again.
All seemed to be going well, but knowing that any minute this could change I remained silent and in prayer.
I gathered up my copies and headed for the cashier and paid my fees. I walked right past the machine as I left the back door and gave it a dirty look.
I swear that machine winked and burped!
I headed home to begin the layout of the cartoon and to select the glass.
I looked over my shoulder as I entered on to the freeway, to be sure that the machine wasn’t following me. I am still not sure whether it did or not.
For the record, I take back everything I said about it.
I have to return to use that machine again.
I forgot to reduce the drawing to 18×24 which Karson and I had talked about rather than the 24×24 size. We felt this would be better in the event that whoever won the piece may elect to hang it in a window, in order to allow natural light to shine through.
This had all the makings of not only a long day but an interesting one.
I was determined to win this battle.
I was so happy to be back in my shop and ready move on with the layout and glass choices.
Laying out, along with choosing the glass, is in my opinion, every bit as important if not more; as cutting, soldering, and putting together the final panel. I feel that this step can be and often is the make or break part of the project.
In woodworking, finding interesting grain patterns and wood that complements the project that will be well placed and thoughtfully incorporated in the design of the project, is very important.
Glass is no different in this respect. Glass, like wood also needs to be well thought out regarding its placement in relationship to the project. This step often is the most important thing you can do for that piece.
This is a simple rule of design many woodworkers use in there projects.
In fact, there are many other complicated factors such as density, texture, light reflection and retention, along with multiple other considerations in choosing glass for your project, that also need to be taken in to consideration.
It is not uncommon to take several hours trying different glass combinations, only to start over after you expose the various pieces you choose to various light exposures and color combinations.
Simply stated, this step in the process of creating the stained glass panel can not be rushed. This part of the project must be done with patience and care.
Glass choices are abundant; however few rules apply in helping to guide you when making these choices.
For me, this is also complicated by the fact that I am color blind in several color ranges.
I have to rely on my instincts along with the studying of various hues, textures, densities, and patterns taking into consideration the relationship to the setting they are going to be used in.
This is easier said than done. I find my self second guessing my choices all the time.
Eventually, you have to make decisions and move on.
I selected eight different primary colors along with four possible alternates to choose from.
My preference is to lay these various colors choices using the actual pieces of glass that I plan on cutting out for the panel.
While building the frame and setting up the rest of my board, I layout and move these various pieces of glass in that are of varying colors into several different combinations.
Often this takes time to find the exact combinations that you like and want for the final pieces to be used in the panel.
Glass, like wood, needs to find its place in your heart, as well as a place in your project.
Admittedly, I know what I don’t like or won’t work more often than what works.
More often than not I feel a sense of restlessness with my choices.
The single most important factor in making my final choices is very simple.
That is, I ask my self one question.
Is it interesting to look at?
It is that simple!
After that, it is up to others to decide and answer that one simple question.
Is it interesting?