Tuesday, March 3

Purple Iris Stained Glass Window Commission

I recently finished this large purple iris window for a lovely couple who travelled all the way from Hertfordshire to commission.  They were so nice they even bought me a beautiful bouquet of irises when they came to collect it.  

The design was quite challenging, especially in a window of this size (approximately 10 square feet) to make it stable and strong.  Although the panel was to be fitted on the inside of an existing window, which would provide support and stop the panel from bowing over time, it was still important that the design allowed me to handle and manoeuvre it during the making, without being too unwieldy.

The glass used for the iris petals is a machine-made streaky, but it was perfect to recreate the delicate, tissue-paper quality of them.  I also added a little bit of silver stain to suggest the yellow area at the centre.  The background glass is an ultra-pale blue tinted Polish mouth blown glass, which has beautiful meandering striations, tiny air-bubbles and superb clarity, allowing the sunlight to sparkle as it comes through.  You can see on the top picture the reflection cast on the adjacent wall.

Here are some work-in-progress images...

The panel was so large I had to design it on the floor over 3 days.  In order to make it, I had to get a new workbench built (I needed one anyway, but it was good to have the impetus).  Pictured is the old, scruffy one I've been working on the for the last 10 years.  Working on the new one is like driving around in a Rolls Royce.

Often my favourite stage of making a window... seeing it take form in front of your eyes is quite magical.

Ready to solder:
Because of the sword-shaped leaves, a lot of the lead joints were at quite an acute angle, and have to be cut well so that they can be soldered neatly.  I can get quite OCD about my leading...

Never the nicest job, but I had just cleaned out and reorganised my cementing shed, so it was nicer than it had been for a long time in there.


  1. Our home has a lot of stained glass - the previous owner was an award winning artist with it, and R's wonderfully done but not really to our taste. It's so personal isn't it - like living with someone else's choice of art on your walls!
    We're going to replace some of the windows this summer & I'm not sure what to do with the glass we take out. It seems such a terrible crime to throw it away when it is so skilled and beautiful, but I have no idea how to find it a happy new home. What do you think?

    1. Hi Sara! I totally know what you mean - I often compare commissioning stained glass to having a tattoo, but for your house. I love it when people make the design very personal to them, and incorporate secret symbols or words... but that can be problematic if you move house!

      I think Ebay or similar would be a good way to re-house them. Even if they don't sell for very much, at least somebody will take them away for you, and you'll know they're going to a good home :)