Artisans United Gallery and Shop
4022 Hummer Road
Annandale, VA 22003
Monday - Saturday 10 am to 4 pm
(Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)
The photographs above are a very small sampling of Designer Baby Accessories by Peggy Taves. Peggy's work and that of other artisans can be seen and purchased at the Artisans United Gallery in Annandale.
MEET THE ARTIST: Diane Cairns
Stained Glass Artist
Stained Glass has been around and admired for centuries. The first stained glass panel dates back to the 600’s and was quite simple. It was first used as a teaching tool in churches where stained glass panels were created to depict stories from the Bible. Since many people could not read, the beautiful colored glass scenes explained the different verses. Over time when creation of this art became more affordable, it was incorporated into the décor of residential dwellings. In the 1800’s New York City became a mecca for glass construction. The colors were superb, colored all the way through and executed by artisans that rivaled the best in Europe.
The various vibrant colors were made from distinct minerals and silica and sand to achieve the perfect color, like chromium, silver, gold and cobalt. Creation followed basic steps starting with blowing the glass into cylinders, allowing it to dry, (think a big balloon) then flattening and cutting for the project. Most hand-blown glass has thick and thin depths. Being ballooned and flattened causes these inconsistencies.
It is often thought that this fascinating glass can fade with time; it does not.
At times stained glass windows may appear to be melting with the sun. This material does not melt. Afterall, it is fired in a kiln reaching over 1500 degrees. The sun cannot melt it. If there are bends in the windows it sometimes comes from the lead channels stretching over time. Panels made by the lead channel method need to be re-leaded about every 100 years.
The process of making stained glass leaded windows has about 8 steps, First you would fashion the design with attention to all details. The second step is to make the full size cartoon proportionate to the size of the window. You use special 3 bladed scissors to cut the cartoon. Then your pattern stays true to size and does not grow allowing for the thickness of the lead channel. Next is the fun part, glass cutting. A glue stick is used to attach the paper pattern to the glass. Then, using a glass cutter you score the glass and break it with pliers with some colors easier to cut than others. Beware of white glass as it is very brittle.
If you are painting the glass with enamels you would then fire in a kiln to make the paint permanent. Next, grind or groze the edges of the glass to make it smooth and to help pieces fit better. Next, assemble the panel using a H lead came so that the glass can fit on both sides of the lead. After soldering the joints the panel would be framed in zinc. You would then putty or cement the entire panel , cleaning it and also making it weatherproof. The last step would be to install the panel on the inside in front of an existing window. This helps protect the window from the weather, and makes your window last a long time. Knowing the number of steps and skill described, you can better appreciate the skill and experience a glass artist must develop.
There is also an alternate way to create stained glass that was invented by Tiffany and La Farge. Copper foil was attached to the edges of the glass using wax. Then the each piece of glass was soldered together. Today most lamps and contemporary smaller windows are made using this technique.
My stained glass journey started as a hobby in high school. Over the years I continued to make lamps, panels boxes and suncatchers. I earned a Bachelor of Fine arts at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland before working in retail for over 11 years. I was then ready for a change, managing a stained glass store for 3 years. Two other women (employees) and myself bought the store. I owned the store for 26 years and finally decided to retire in August 2020. During my career, I have done everything that can be done with glass. Mosaics, lamp work beads, fusing, lead work and copper foil. I have also taught hundreds of people passing this artisan knowledge onto them.
I especially enjoy combining glass fusing and copper foil as can be seen in much of my work. I cut the glass pieces and glue to glass, then fire in a kiln. After firing I cut a glass border to surround the fused center piece. I also do repairs, custom pieces and several craft shows each year, and exhibit year-round at Artisans United Gallery at the Packard Center in Annandale where like-minded artists can meet members of the community. The Gallery displays and sells a variety of pieces, including jewelry, pottery, stained glass, wooden toys and wooden jewelry boxes, photographs, needle crafts, and more. Stop by and see the light!
The Craft Gallery of Artisans United is a cooperative endeavor, staffed and run by the independent members of Artisans United, Inc. as well as those individuals belonging to the member Guilds. On a daily basis, visitors will find the Gallery artisans happy to explain crafting techniques and to share their knowledge of where craft materials may be obtained. And, too, visitors will often discover impromptu demos in progress as the artists complete their creations. We are always looking for new craftspeople to join our organization. If you are interested in joining us as a member artist, please ask at the front desk for a membership packet which explains what is expected of you as a member of Artisans United.
If you are looking for gifts, please visit the Gallery where you will find an exceptional range of items appropriate for baby, wedding, mother’s day, father’s day, graduation and housewarmings.
THE CRAFT GALLERY OF ARTISANS UNITED
4022 Hummer Road
Annandale, VA 22003
703.941.0202 . www.augallery.org
10-4 pm Tuesday through Saturday and 1-4 on Sunday
Reproduction of this article or photographs requires the written permission of the author and The ENDEAVOR News Magazine. Photographs are courtesy of the author with all right of use reserved. (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)