A Stained Glass Road Trip

What began in June as an I’m-going-to-strip-this-old-trim-off-10-layers-of-paint project has morphed into a whole-new-breakfast-nook effort. Let’s be clear: I could not have done this project without my Spousal Equivalent, the Jazzman.

When I got portions of the trim in the breakfast nook down to bare wood, we realized the bare wood in the living room and dining room—the “public areas” of the house, by 1927 standards—was a much higher quality wood than what was in the “family areas.”

Once that was determined, continuing the brutal task of stripping the wood to stain and varnish it made no sense. So I started looking at kitchen design magazines and Lowe’s paint swatches. I settled on Valspar Ultra White gloss for the woodwork and Bermuda Sand semi-gloss for the walls and inside of the china cabinet. I think the exterior wall, where the window is, will be an accent color. The preliminary choice is Jekyll Club Pulitzer Blue, a Valspar National Trust for Historic Preservation color. But I reserve the right to change my mind before the paint hits the wall. We’ve spent a couple of weekends prepping and priming the room, and are just about ready to go.

Ever since we “inherited” Mother’s counter-height bar stools, we’ve wanted a bar table in that room. We’ve gone back and forth as to size and placement. I want it facing the windows. The Jazzman wants it perpendicular to that wall, with one chair on either side. That way, he says, he can look at me when we’re sitting at the bar with our glasses of wine, solving the world’s problems. When one’s sweetheart says, “I want to look at your pretty face,” …. Well, it’s hard to argue with that!

I searched and searched the Internet for tables of the right size (24″ wide) and height (36″) and could find nothing reasonably priced ($100-150). Then I started thinking about using my artistic knowledge and skilled fingers. I’ve made glass mosaic tabletops before. True, I no longer have the bulk of the tools, but that shouldn’t stand in my way.

I checked out a couple of books from the library and perused my own library, settling on the “Night Moves” project from George W. Shannon and Pat Torlen’s “Marvelous Mosaics for Home & Garden.”

Now to accumulate the supplies. I visited the local Abstract Stained Glass studio and was distinctly unimpressed and disappointed. I was spoiled learning stained glass and mosaics from Genia Parker in Tucson. I knew I wouldn’t find what I needed in Youngstown. So I started exercising my Google abilities. When the Jazzman got called in to work today, I decided it was a good day for a road trip.

I chose two stores, knowing if I found everything in the first, I could skip the second. I started with Rennaisance [sic] and Rainbows in Middlefield, Ohio (“the fourth largest Amish population in the nation”). The studio was in the back of the owner’s home. The lady who helped me was very nice, but the selection of glass that suited my project wasn’t very broad. And there was an older man working in there—apparently the owner or the owner’s spouse—who was just, to put it simply, Very Strange. Unlike my standard of Ochoa Stained Glass in Tucson, this was not a studio I would feel comfortable working in. I bought one piece of iridized glass, but the coating was not consistent across the glass and I will have lots of leftover glass from this piece.

Taking my carefully wrapped sheet of glass, I headed out for stop #2: Leaded Glass Design in Cuyahoga Falls. To be succinct, “Wow!” “Home!” The nice people and the great selection of Tucson’s Ochoa Stained Glass, transplanted to Northeast Ohio!!

Joe, the owner, pointed out the locations of the various types of glass. He has a GREAT backlit rack on top of the storage bins with a 4″x4″ sample of EVERY PIECE OF GLASS IN THE STORE. You can see what you want. You can touch what you want. You can find what you want! GLASS HEAVEN!!!

I got more iridized black to use for this project. I’ll save the piece from Middlefield to teach the grandkids foiling or mosaics or something. I also got a reddish/purplish iridized, and an opaque black and an opaque dark red. And then, just because I could and because I picked up a tank of MAP gas the other day, I got three rods of Moretti, some mandrels, and a jar of bead release. Boston has been asking me for years to learn to make beads. The time has come for some elementary lampworking lessons.

I need to order some unglazed granite mosaic tiles from an online supplier and come up with a cutter and a nipper. I need to determine the exact dimensions of the table and have some plywood cut. And I need to expand the 10″x10″ pattern to fit the approx. 24″ x 40″ table.

Once those tasks are done, I’ll have a few happy days cutting and placing glass and then grouting.

Ah, creativity!

(And because I know you’re dying to know, here’s the answer: 142 miles)

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About Jan

Musician and geek and Juris Doctor; lover of fine art and fine craft; mother and grandmother and significant other and friend. Passionate about sewing.

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