Sunday, April 25, 2010

Calvert Window

We were recently commissioned by a client in Canada to create a window based on an etching by the 19th Century artist Edward Calvert. The client requested that the completed window have the line work of the etching, but have color added. This was a project that Bill Campbell had to work on by himself, since all the painting on the window could only be done by one person to ensure an evenness of style.

For the cartoon the image was broken down to into many pieces. Each piece of glass was cut, then hand painted and fired in a kiln several times to achieve the desired look. The completed window (shown below) has an "early stained glass" feel to it, which is appropriate for the image and method of working.

To the left is a photo showing Bill Painting on the female figure.

The photo to the right shows how the window progressed as pieces were painted and fired.

This photo shows the completed window.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Edward Gorey House

Edward Gorey was an author and illustrator of more than 100 books. He also illustrated many works by other authors, designed the sets and costumes for the Broadway production of Dracula (he won a Tony Award for his costume designs), and created the animated sequences used for Mystery! on PBS. His home in Yarmouth Port, MA was converted into a museum after his death in 2000 ( To the left is a photo of Bill Campbell and Irwin Terry outside the museum in 2007.

Each year, the House mounts an exhibition of Edward Gorey's works. The 2010 exhibition opened last week with the theme of Edward Gorey-illustrated works by other authors. Included are books, ephemera, and original artwork by Mr. Gorey. As usual, this year's exhibition promises to showcase many unusual and unique items.

Included in the exhibition is the dust jacket artwork which Mr. Gorey created for The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost by author John Bellairs. As collectors of Edward Gorey's works and fans of the museum, Bill Campbell and I have donated a stained glass window hanging inspired by the design from the back cover of this book. The window hanging will be on display throughout the exhibition and will be auctioned to benefit the Edward Gorey House.

Referencing Mr. Gorey's illustration, we began by hand drawing a full sized pattern or "cartoon" for the window. Using hand rolled art glass, we cut and fit the glass pieces to match the cartoon.

Details for the window were then hand painted by Bill on the surface of each piece of glass using a powdered mineral oxide. Bill referenced an image of the artwork while hand painting details onto each piece of glass. The glass was then fired in a kiln to 1275 degrees to fuse the painting to the surface of the glass (this is where stained glass gets its name from...Silver Oxide will turn yellow when fired, staining the surface of the glass).

After much painting and firing, the edges of each piece of glass were hand wrapped in a copper foil tape. The use of the copper foil allows us to solder the pieces together - metal solder sticks to metal tape - and transform the individual glass pieces into a single window panel. Finally, the piece was cleaned and the lead lines were chemically darkened.

The completed piece of Edward Gorey-inspired stained glass is shown to the left. For more information on how to bid on this piece, please contact the Edward Gorey House at 508-362-3909.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

16" Tulip Field

Century Studios is pleased to announce a new reproduction Tiffany shade pattern to our offerings. The 16" Tulip Field is an elaborate variation on the 16" Tulip which we have currently been offering. The new design is populated with many more blooming tulips than the previous example and was possibly an earlier version of the shade.

Contrary to common thought, earlier shades created by Tiffany Studios were more elaborate than shades designed at a later date. As time went on, some designs, like the 16" Tulip, were streamlined for faster production. In letters to her family, chief Tiffany designer Clara Driscoll stated that when the cutting patterns wore out for a particular shade, she would personally remake the patterns, often redesigning the shade based on input from her staff, co-workers, and Mr. Tiffany himself. This usually meant that the pattern was simplified to eliminate pieces.

The 16" Tulip Field shade was created in "Easter colors" with flowers in lavenders and purples, this shade has a light tone which is perfect for the coming of spring. The shade is pictured above on the Library base. The photo to the right shows a section of the lamp laid out flat on our light table to check the colors before finishing the shade.

CENTURY STUDIOS WILL BE CLOSED Wednesday April 7 through Saturday April 10. We will resume regular business hours on Tuesday April 13.