Is what I’ve been doing lately. I have a very cool commission from a local painter that is having a stained glass window put into her studio. It’s being fabricated by yours truly, and it’s turned out to be an interesting project. (That would be interesting in a good way, in case that was unclear.)
A lot of times when someone comes in with a design idea, it needs a lot of tweaking, either because the person is inexperienced at working with glass (which is kind of a weird medium with its own rules to play by) or they are thinking in a very linear fashion about an idea that has potential, but “isn’t quite there yet”. Patricia came in with a fairly polished design, and as she’s an artist herself, it didn’t need a whole lot of fussing with to take it from “wow” to “Wow!”. I made a couple of suggestions on line changes, and added some break lines where there really needed to be some.
I’m a Virgo and a self-employed artist… (reading between the lines that means my anal retentive streak runs a country mile wide, and I got out of liturgical work because I got really tired of drawing windows based on other people’s less-than-aesthetically-pleasing ideas.) This commission could have been a nightmare, but Patricia has been exceedingly wonderful to work with.
As I would defer to a painter were I having something painted, she has deferred to me on some of the finer points of the window design she had laid out, and it has made the window fabrication much easier.
Right now I’m cutting glass. For the forseeable future.
This is good, because glass cutting is one of my favorite things to do in the studio, and I rarely get to work on things of such scope. Glass cutting for hours at a time becomes a very Zen activity with weirdly self-competitive overtones. Like using my hands on a piece of marble, the glass is a fixed piece of form upon which I get to try and extract my piece out of. Sometimes the glass doesn’t react the way I wanted it to amidst my scorings, flexings, and tappings. And then it becomes a challenge of me against myself. Since the person in the mirror in the morning is the one you can’t divorce and have to live with for the rest of your life, challenging yourself is, I think, a good practice to, well, practice. Even if it’s over a simple matter of glass cutting.