Monday, February 23, 2009

WitchgerProjects Make-a-Day Lent 2009

Lent is time for reflection and repentance. It is wasteful to be lazy and bored when we have so many resources, time, youth and creativity at hand. We are taking this opportunity to recenter our approach to daily life as one which is mindful and creative and hopefully to inspire ourselves for the future.

With this project each of us will take the time to make something start to finish each day and reflect on the process of making, how to make things what is good about making things. We will share our photos and reflections here and use this forum to support and encourage each other for the next 40 days.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy Windows

If we suddenly hit the Powerball jackpot my first act (well, after helping my kids erase their student loans) would be to hire a tribe of artisans to work on every aspect of my house. I’d want everything stain-glassed, wood-worked and ceramitized. But since we do not have the wherewithal to become patrons of the arts, we must make do.
The celestory windows over the closet in our bedroom have been a source of irritation for a long time. We’d gotten into the terrible habit of parking junk up there (suitcases, the big bowls from Bob and Steph’s wedding we didn’t know what to do with, Bob’s hatboxes, a Rubbermaid tub or two of off-season clothes). It looked junky from the inside, and even worse, you could see it from outside when our lights were on.
I decided to do a faux stained glass treatment.

Bob cut me four pieces of Plexi-glass the exact size of the panes of glass (or as we like to say in the Witchger household “more-or-less” the size of the panes).

I drew up a pattern–an homage to Frank Lloyd Wright–and marked each section as to whether I wanted it clear, textured or milky-white.

Leaving the plexi-glass on the pattern I first cut away the protective plastic in the areas I wanted frosted and peeled it off, using the remaining plastic as a masque and spray painted those with aerosol stained-glass paint. When that had dried I pulled off the rest of the protective plastic and “drew” on the fake leading which I’d purchased in plastic squeeze bottles and let that dry overnight.

The next day I filled in each secton according to the opacity I’d assigned it and let it dry for 48 hours.

Bob then installed the panes right over the old glass using glazing points. When we get tired of them we can just take them down. But right now I like how they look, especially when the sun streams in late in the afternoon. I think this will be the motivation we need to keep the junk from gathering up there again. Now the only question is where do we put it all if Kate needs to use her old room again?

Lessons learned:
This can’t be rushed--a fan pushes the stained glass paint to one side so that you get a leeward effect.
The paint needs to dry absolutely flat-it has a high viscosity, but after hours it will run and if you don’t catch it in time it will overrun the “leading”.

Thin Plexi-glass
Fake “leading” for stained glass from the craft store
Stained glass “paint” in clear and frosted
Elmer’s glue (the cheaper the better, I used three bottles that were 25¢ each during the back-to-school sales) for the white milky sections.
Glazing points
A screwdriver for pushing the glazing points into the molding