I begin with an assessment of your current situation and what you would like to accomplish with the use of stained glass. Are you trying to obscure an un-pretty view? Or create privacy? Do you want to add color to your view? Or sparkling highlights that are the gift of textured clear glass? What are your color preferences? Do you like naturalistic, organic designs or more abstract or linear patterns? Do you have photos of items that you might like to include in the composition? What style fits with your space? How large should the piece be? What budgetary and timing considerations are there?
Initial to Final Design
From this information, I create an initial design or designs which I can email to you or print out and deliver. Using your input on this preliminary design, we work together to create something that matches your vision. The sample below shows 2 variations of a design.
The software I use not only produces printouts that I can use as mockups of projects and hang in place before cutting any glass, it also allows me to easily change glass colors, project sizes, and create the full size patterns that I use in fabrication. Prior to final design agreement, I can overlay photos of your installation site with my design, creating a visual of the planned project that can be emailed or posted on the web. I also like to hang a full-sized printout in the actual space. This allows us to see the project in its proposed location and validate scale, sizes, colors, etc.
The cost of a panel depends on a variety of factors: panel size and complexity are key, but material costs also have an impact. Because of the size of my studio, I am rarely able to acquire glass and other supplies at wholesale prices, though I actively try. Glass I have used in my projects ranges from about $12 per square foot to over $30 (and we needed a LOT of that expensive stuff!). Glass waste is always a factor -- it is exceedingly rare to use up all the glass purchased for a project because of the nature of cutting. Panels with large pieces of glass will cost more because there is more glass waste when big chunks are required. Lots of little pieces can often be squeezed out of a piece of glass with less waste. Straight sections can also result in less glass waste. Using bevels or a bevel cluster can save time but can also add considerable cost to a design.
The primary cost factor is the time I estimate it will take to make a panel. Completion time depends largely on the number of pieces and their shapes -- straight shapes are normally faster than intricately curved ones. Bevels, because they are precut, save time. Larger panels are more cost effective in some ways: It takes just as long to cut the frame for a small panel as a large one. A large panel of 100 pieces takes less than twice the time to construct as the same panel in half the size, though there should be less glass waste in the small panel. The prices on the sale panels will give you a sense of the potential cost for a custom project.
I request a down payment of about 1/3 the estimated total project cost, with the remainder payable upon delivery.
Once the design, price, and time frame for fabrication are agreed to, we can select the glass and begin the work. Although the glass samples in my software are a reasonable approximation of reality, there is a lot of variability in some glass. To complicate matters, several glass manufacturers have left the business, reducing the choices. Substitutions may need to be made based on what glass is actually available from local shops in a reasonable time frame and what looks good together and achieves the proper degree of transparency.
Transparency is difficult to assess with a computer, due to the difficulty of photographing clear glass and rendering it accurately on a computer screen. Additionally, the appearance of a glass sample can change greatly depending on whether it is lit from the front or back.
A small panel might be ready in a few days. Larger projects take longer. Some activities, especially cutting the glass, are fairly intense and may need to be spread over several days for best results. I can provide a reasonable estimate of a completion date based on your project, my other commitments, and my previous experience with various types of panels.
Delivery and Installation
I have never shipped a panel. The cost is prohibitive and I have little confidence it would arrive intact. You may pick your panel up at my studio or I can deliver for a fee. Larger panels are backed with plywood for transportation safety.
Installation of a panel is normally the responsibility of the purchaser. We have installed all the panels in our home and can advise you based on our experiences. We transported the Arlington Christian Church panels to Riverside and completely handled the installation as part of the agreement with the church.
When the panel will be hung, installation is a bit simpler and I can add chain to facilitate the process. We can discuss your situation and come to an agreement about what is most appropriate and cost effective for you.