Expressing Lamp Through Glass

We cannot overemphasize the need for you to take the time to carefully select the right glass for your shade. The selection of the most appropriate glass texture, color, density, and color “flow” becomes the pallet the lamp artist uses to best represent a personal expression of an actual flower or other figurative image. While the repro- duction lamp mold kit provides a Tiffany peony flower pattern, the artist needs to have the peon oring and appearance in mind so the flower can be accu- rately and evocatively represented, The best way to do this is to learn about and study the real thing. The peony is a perennial flowering plant or shrub with several hybrid versions and colors, the principal colors being white, yellow, and varying shades of red. It is a traditional floral symbol of China and the state flower of Indiana. Louis Comfort Tiffany represented the peony in a number of his art-glass shades; it is perhaps his most widely depicted flower. ‘An examination of real peonies shows that the flower-petal color goes from its deepest at the base of the flower to a lighter shade towards the edge of the petal. Peony buds are typically a consistent deep color throughout. Choosing Individual Pieces Selecting the right sheets of art glass for a shade is just the first step, however. A light table is needed to help the lamp artist carefully select specific areas of the sheet that will best represent the flower’s color variations, shadings (where leaves or flower petals overlap), and grain direc- tions. We glue the cut-out pattern pieces to the glass with rubber cement, using the light table to let us see the best position for paper pieces. It might be tempting at this point to squeeze as many pattern pieces as you can onto a glass sheet so as to use as much of the glass as possible. Avoid this temptation. Your guiding principle should be to find the area of glass that best represents what you have in mind for a particular piece. Look closely at the subtle color variations, the grain of the glass, the darkness or brightness and select the por- tion that will work best, even if it means using a relatively small portion of a sheet. (You can, of course, save the un- used portions for other patterns.) Breaking, Grinding, and Foiling After we position and glue the pattern pieces, the art glass is cut out around the pattern and ground to remove the rough edges and carefully match the paper pattern. The paper pattern is removed and the glass tile is soaked in a mild commercial cleaner solution (Simple Green works well for this) to loosen gr then scrub the The best way to plan a color scheme and select gla: 4 floral pattern is to look at live flowers and buds. Here, a variety of peony blossoms reveal the various colors and intensities the lamp artist should strive to reproduce. inset Lamps G Making Tiffany Lamps - foiling. It is then wise to write the pattern piece number on each tile with a waterproof marker for easy identifica- tion, using the intact pattern as a reference. (Note: The Elaborate Peony pattern does not identify buds and bracts separately, so we have identified and marked the buds and bracts, as we are using a different art glass to represent these.) The next step is to dry and foil each piece with 7/s inch copper foil. Careful cleaning of the tile edges will help ensure that the foil adheres properly. We use °/s-inch foil, as it provides a sufficiently thin lead line around the small tiles. The inspired lamp artist might want to create foil strips using the same method Tiffany used. This tech- nique involves waxing the back of a 1 millimeter thick soft copper sheet and slicing it into suitable strips. Some artists still use this labor-intensive technique today. We recommend that you keep the foiled tiles sorted, keeping all the pieces needed to make one repeat sepa- rated from the others. Doing so will make it easier to as- semble the pattern on the mold. You might also want to test-fit individual flowers on the mylar pattern, using the light table, to make certain of a good fit and that you are satisfied with the color selection and grain direction. Once foiled, the individual glass tiles are ready for assembly on the fiberglass mold as described in chapter