Thursday, 30 August 2012

Radiating Lines

In leaded glass designs it is important to avoid lines radiating from a single point.

Good design will avoid multiple radiating pieces from a single point of origin.

Among the reasons for avoiding radiating lines are:
  • It is important to reduce the number of lines that meet in any design to avoid the big bright solder place in a panel.
  • It makes for large solder blobs, especially on leaded glass panels, and therefore provides a focus where one may not be wanted or required.
  • It also is a point of weakness as the multiple thin or tapering pieces of glass are liable to fracture. 
  • Also the difference between the harder solder and softer lead came leads - over time - to cracks in the lead at the edge of the thick solder blob.

There is a difficulty in adapting single radiating points in a drawing to the practicalities of the medium of glass. Examination of older panels (in either copper foil or leaded technique) will show up some of the problems of thin tapering pieces, especially in the Victorian era where tapered pieces where in their glory. Almost always, there will be broken tips. They seemed to compensate for tip stress by making the pieces with narrow tapers smaller than some of the other wider pieces. Even then, there are a lot of broken ones seen. It is the nature of glass, and goes back to knowing how the glass will react to the conditions you create.

Methods of avoiding tapering pieces lie in the design.

You can't use long tapered pieces in larger panels, without modification for the structural reasons outlined above.

Also you can't make a neat termination by joining half a dozen tapers at one point. Your piece will not look exactly what it looks like when you drew it out with a pencil. You can pencil in a termination with six points, ending at one point and it may look good, but try drawing it in with a felt tip pen almost 6mm wide, which shows for what the solder has to  cover, and see what that point looks like then. For copper foil a 2-3mm wide line will demonstrate what will be seen after soldering. You may not be pleased with the large blob at the termination.

No one can teach one easy fix for everything you will encounter, so the answer starts with the design, before you cut and foil, or fit the came to the glass. Art is not about the physical placement of what you see in your mind, as much as it is about the "illusion" you are creating that you want others to see. That starts with the design, and avoiding incorporating something that you know is going to give you a problem.