Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Making of a Chandelier: Final Reveal

The moment we have all been waiting for ... IT. IS. FINISHED.

Cue the applause and rejoicing.

Special thanks to my amazing husband for all his help and support with my most ambitious project yet. The final weight with all the glass panels was close to 35 pounds so we made sure to use a heavy duty chain and hanger that is screwed directly into the ceiling joists. This thing may be heavy, but it is not going anywhere.

I am so pleased with the final result that I smile every time I turn it on. It adds an intense pop of color to my otherwise mostly white and grey house. Alternating smooth and textured panels create visual contrast and balance while the gentle swirl in the design and curvature of the glass provide movement. It makes me happy.

Now I find myself casually hunting for other discarded vintage light fixtures that I can transform into works of art ...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Making of a Chandelier: Part 3

I bet you thought I was never going to finish this project. To be perfectly honest, I often wondered that myself.

After firing 20 pieces of glass, it was time to prepare them for hanging. My precision engineer of a studio partner (aka my husband) took the calipers to the chandelier frame and determined that a 3/16" hole would be the right size to allow enough wiggle room to not stress the glass.

Off to Amazon to purchase a 3/16" diamond drill bit.

My handy hubby rigged up a little system to keep the glass cool/wet and hold it in place to make the drilling process much easier.

I picked up a little baking pan from the store and we secured a small piece of scrap wood to the bottom to give the drill bit a cushion. He then attached a couple of handy wood-working clamps to the side to help hold the glass firmly in place. Add some cold water to cover completely and start drilling!

True confession: I hold my breath during this process. I don't know why. I always seem to hold my breath when I am doing something that has a high 'cry factor' if it goes wrong. I decided to promote the hubs to studio apprentice and ask him to take over the drilling. Because he is my hero and loves playing with power tools, he happily obliged. I couldn't even watch.

While the process of drilling 20 glass panels was nearing completion, it was time to hang the frame. Of course nothing is straightforward when you are dealing with a 1930s built house, but after tinkering around with the wiring, electrical boxes, and stud finders it is up!

Next up: hanging the glass panels. Stay tuned for the big reveal coming soon.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Making of a Chandelier: Part 2

I need a bigger kiln. Of course I have been saying that for years already ... but this time I meant it. My chandelier design calls for 3.5" x 12" panels. So I went and bought myself an early birthday present. And then my fabulous husband built me a stand. This is true love right here folks:
My new baby! ProFusion 16
In addition to a bigger kiln, I needed to stockpile a lot of glass too. Heaven forbid that gorgeous stand my hubby built have any bare shelves. I filled it. And then some.

I knew I wanted color, texture, and movement in this chandelier. After a couple of prototype panels I finalized the design. Now it was just a matter of building the individual glass panels. All 20 of them.

In order to keep the overall structure lightweight, I went with single layer panels. Glass naturally wants to be 6mm thick, so in order to keep it 3mm I chose to break all the rules: I tack-fused and slumped all in one firing. Cue the shock and horror.

rule breaker! fuse and slump together

panels ready to fire

The result was exactly what I wanted. Check out all that wonderful texture!

color and texture up close

Two down ... 18 to go. Stay tuned for the finishing touches and big reveal to come ...