Saturday, 22 August 2015

Frameless Glass Showers

"Frameless" glass showers have become the new standard in elegant glass installations. I recently familiarized myself with some of the the techniques and options available for several installations that I was contracted to do.

With a variety of engineered "glass clamps", hinges, stabilizing hardware and tempered glass, a wide variety of designs can be realized. These installations allow the tile, stone and etched glass to be enjoyed from inside and outside the shower area.

I recently installed glass in three showers (two with no etching on the glass), using these techniques. One is a "neo-angle" design (a corner installation with the door set at a 45 degree angle to the walls) with a steam option that required floor to ceiling glass.

The second installation used a newly designed post system that stabilizes the glass panels where one edge doesn't reach the ceiling or wall. A frameless shower door can then be hinged off a stabilized panel, making a visually clean and structurally sound installation.

Here's a detail photo of the stabilizing posts:

While those two installations did not have any etching on the glass, I did exercise my affection for Great Blue Herons once again, in the third installation.

The pebbled stone floor works well with the heron, reeds and water design, the etching contrasting well with the dark tiles on the walls.

The reeds and feathers were delicately etched on the surface of the tempered glass using the sandblast etching process, creating a layerd effect. A soft surface texture was achieved by using a fine abrasive, resulting in a permanent image that is easy to keep clean.

The new hardware available for frameless glass showers allows me more options to offer clients, expanding on the techniques I have learned over twenty-five years of creating glass designs.


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Lost at Sea

This is another in my 'Garden Sculpture' series, created with cast pumice and cement, with glass and metal components. Some pieces, like this one, are not suited for year round exposure to the elements, but could be outside, if sheltered from direct rain or snow. This one is serving as a 'side table' in our foyer presently, adding some ambient light with its internal lighting. See more pieces on my website!

As a lament for lost ideals, 'Lost at Sea' includes images from past civilizations and a representation of our own culture's slide into the abyss of lost direction.

The white glass pieces with engraved 'runes' (from a forgotten Scandanavian culture) and the pyramid forms (from the long past Egyptian civilization) represent past times and lost ideals. Carved into these pyramidal forms are three concepts that have been abandoned by our grasping and gasping post-post-industrial culture:

-Eros: (represented by a mermaid) The loss of appreciation for the mythical, mystical, exotic and erotic, debasing these human drives in xenophobic and pornographic distortions.

-Justice: The 'balance' of right action, right thought and right emotion has been lost in economics, ecology and the social connection of all humanity.

-Chaos: (represented by a cumulonimbus cloud of life giving rain (and sometimes life threatening force). The loss of the humble appreciation that we cannot know and control all things from the limited knowledge of our materially based cultural constructs.

The damaged boat form represents our own 'lost' culture. sunken to the depths with its hubristic adherence to the concept that through technology we can re-shape the natural world into a better one. Embedded in this form is the 'ladder to success' intertwined with the 'snakes of unknowing' that slither among those aspirations, with unanticipated consequences that ultimately lead to our own destruction. All this set on a bed of sand: our own culture's unstable foundation of inequality and voraciousness.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

New bathroom doors and Open House/Studio Tour at Nimbus Glass Studio!

I finally etched the bathroom doors at our home this past spring. Fortunately, my wife tolerated having clear glass in the bathroom doors the last few years!

To allow as much light as possible (other than being completely clear) I lightly frosted the main part of the glass, leaving a grid of clear lines (which echo the floor tile grout lines). The kiln-fired stained glass transmits a lot of light as well, while the wavy texture of the of the colours distorts the view to provide an acceptable degree of privacy.

This detail image shows the fine clear lines (the 'grid'), the kiln-fired stained glass and some of the 1" X 1" beveled glass bits that add 'sparkle' and a kinetic effect of changing light and shadow when approaching or passing the doors.

Made with tempered safety glass panels, these doors are as durable as they are beautiful. While my wife is happy to have more privacy, she really likes the over-all effect of the brightly coloured glasses (we call it her 'inner four-year-old').     ;-)

To show off these doors, along with some newer sculptural pieces and my new (four years) studio, I am having an open house and garden sculpture/studio tour on Sunday, July 28th (2013) from 10 am to 8 pm. If you are in the area of Shuswap Lake, we are on the north side, at 3019 Hopwood Road in Lee Creek (50 minutes from Kamloops, 40 minutes from Salmon Arm).

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Sun, Moon and Stars

This hanging sculptural piece started with some sketches by the client, with ideas of a sun/moon theme. As the installation included some natural light and also hangs in front of a section of wall, the glass needed to function with exterior transmitted light as well as reflected interior lighting.

I slumped the orange streaky sun/moon centre piece glass for a more dramatic '3-D' effect and delicately etched the crescent moon image on one side.

The blue glass extending from both sides of the centre includes some surface etched 'wave forms', ending in a row of metal stars with a faceted lead crystal ball. Extra arcs of copper hold more lead crystals, adding to the star motif.

Hanging from the ceiling on small chains, I added a small stainless steel wire at the bottom centre to angle the piece slightly from the vertical and to present a better viewing angle to the living room below.

The combination of surface etching on the deeply coloured glasses and the copper edges with the lead crystals allow this piece to make good use of both reflected and transmitted light. With an added accent light that 'bounces' light of the wall behind, the glass colours come out strongly for enhanced evening enjoyment.

-Private residence, Shuswap Lake, B.C., Canada.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Art deco glass windows

These two small 35cm X 91cm (14" X 36") glass panels are installed in a private library in Kamloops, B.C., Canada.

The initial design idea was an 'art deco' reference, with an asymmetrical design being preferred by the clients. Several clear textured glasses and some 'mottled' etching were used to admit light into a second interior room. Delicately textured and kiln-fired stained glass pieces make up the remainder of the glasses in this traditionally leaded work.

The many textured surfaces refract, reflect and highlight the variety of lighting from diffused daylight to illumination by interior light at night. 

Installed in a wall between the library and a home office space, these panels can be enjoyed from either side, both day and night.

Monday, 10 December 2012

'Music Maker'

Monday, Dec. 10, 2012

'Music Maker'

Here's a commissioned glass panel that incorporates a variety of glass forming methods: kiln-fired stained glass, laminated (UV glue) glass pieces, carved and painted details and sandblast etching/frosting along with the traditional leaded technique.

'Music Maker' (C. St. John 2012)

Created for a music making client and friend, we started with the idea of a 'musical theme' and developed the ideas from there. Beginning with the carved and painted musical notes (from the lower left to the upper right, mostly) I then worked in a more abstract idea of musical notation with 'dots and dashes' of kiln-fired stained glass (from the upper left to the lower right, mostly).

The clear/white 'background' areas are a clear glue-chipped glass with a mottled sandblast etching on the back surface. Representing the 'background' harmonics of multiple musical notes played or sung simultaneously, it also obscures the view beyond during the day with transmitted light and reflects surface light from the frosted areas at night.

'Music Maker' (night detail) (C. St. John 2012)

This night view detail shows the gold painted musical notes, the surface glued kiln-fired stained glass pieces on the streaky yellow glass and the mottled etching on the clear 'background' glass.

The bold bright colours are a departure from my usual pallet, but fit the client's desire for a strong visual impact in both colour and design.

Working with clients on commissioned pieces often stretches my design ideas, challenging me to find appropriate solutions to a particular site and client desires. The real challenge then, is to create a unique piece that fits the requirements and also reflects my own ideas of good design.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Glass Table (and new site is up!)

The new web site is up! Look for some 'adjustments' and editing in the next few months, but I am happy to have many new images of glass projects over the last ten years.

On the home page is a table I made last year for Traditional Log Homes (Salmon Arm, B.C.) that we installed in a beautiful log home they built on the shores of Shuswap Lake in Sorrento, B.C.

This was a bit of a challenge, as other work I have done with 19mm (3/4") thick glass were smaller and easier to handle. Due to the size of this piece 150cm square (60") and weighing  113 kilograms (250 pounds) I decided to work on it without turning it over, as I do with smaller pieces. This required me to do the edge chipping from the bottom up. As the way the 'faceted' edge breaks off while chipping with a hammer leaves an 'undercut', I usually chip this type of work with the finished face down. This makes it easy to 'flake' the edge down and away from my face.  As this is a substantially larger piece, I chose to chip it with the finished face up. This required me to chip it up into my face with shards landing on my arms and scattering around the studio. After the initial chips, I realized I needed more arm protection in addition to the safety glasses and face shield!

Other than the involuntary  blinking as shards of glass hit my face shield, this technique worked well and allowed me to work on it without having to turn it over twice (once for chipping, and another for the finishing work).

The edge finishing was done with a hand held 1 1/8" wide wet belt sander, with a variety of belt grits, finishing with a cork belt.

We installed the piece on a four hundred year old upturned stump that came from a tree from the house site. The sandblasted edge frosting accentuated the tint of the glass (due to the iron content) and gave the piece a 'melting ice' look.