Monday, 5 December 2011

Reworking Designs

Principles of design practice for stained glass, 5

Having created the design, you should consider re-working the designs for a variety of reasons. Some of these are:

- to save time in the later stages of the work. It all too easy in the excitement of creating a new piece to want to get directly on with making, however this often gives construction or design difficulties that have to be solved in the making, leading to compromises. In general far too little time is spent in the design stage. Time spent on the design will be more than saved in the construction and will produce a more satisfactory piece.

- to ensure the structural stability of the piece. Although reinforcement should be considered from the beginning of the design, this is the time to ensure that the piece will stand up to the use it will receive during its – expected – long life.

- Make sure you have investigated every possibility to answer the challenges of your design.

There are a number of activities that can help with these elements.

Reworking will enable you to maintain the essence of the design while simplifying lines and easing the labour of the construction of the panel. Often the design contains a number of lines that are not essential to the whole design.

As you re-work the design, you can make sure every curve, dip and angle are to your liking and so improve the whole. Redrawing also helps understanding of the design and the placing of lines. It will also help in considering the placement of lead came and the widths to be used.

Make sure the design is still structurally sound. The design should avoid long nearly straight lines with few interruptions, especially those that go from edge to edge in any direction. The lines should interlock rather than have many joins onto long lines.

It gives an opportunity to ensure that you can cut all the pieces. This is the time to look at the negative or background pieces to make sure you can cut them as well as the foreground pieces. Usually people are so concentrated on designing the main image that the background becomes too complicated to cut easily.

Make successive tracings with each change, so there is a record, allowing you to step back wards to an earlier version if necessary.

If this re-working stage leads to the realisation of design problems, there are some things that can be tried:
  • Cropping the design can transform it. The focus of the design can be enhanced by removing some of the surrounding “information”. The change of proportions say from landscape to portrait can make significant differences.
  • Enlarging and using only a portion of the original design can be a solution. This is similar to the cropping operation, but has the added advantage of making the pieces larger and easier to cut.
  • Further simplification of background design lines can be considered. This will bring the focus back onto the main part of the image.
  • Changing relative proportions can transform the design, e.g., by enlarging a busy background, it can be made simpler and easier to read the whole panel.
Elements of Design: