Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not Quite Stained Glass

My shop (Book of Shadows: Supernatural Gifts, 1100 Clarendon SW Canton, OH 44710) is where I spend a lot of my time. It is where I create most of my art. I also use that creative skill, from time to time, to spruce up the place. I am by no means a great decorator. In fact, most of the best decorative ideas I have incorporated into the shop have been stolen from what I have seen other people do. I have no shame about this, as before I started checking out other people's design ideas and appropriating them, my shop looked like a metaphysical hardware store. Besides, someone once said, "Good artists borrow. Great artists steal."

Not that any of these design elements were either borrowed, or stolen. They are actually some of my few original ideas. The picture above is of my hand made "Open" sign. It was made with that paint that looks like stained glass when it dries. The face plate is a piece of Plexiglas that has been set into a wooden frame. I ran a router down the length of a piece of 1x2 to create a groove for the plexi to sit in. The back panel is a piece of white tile board that has been covered with aluminum foil to help reflect the maximum amount of light back towards the front panel for higher visibility during the day. Tucked away on the side edges, sandwiched between the front and back panels, are two small fluorescent lights that light it at night. The design was first drawn on paper in a 1:1 scale in pencil. Then the plexi was laid over top of it, and the paint was applied using the drawing as a template. The colors were much more vibrant of course. The sign is several years old now and has been exposed to a lot of UV rays. You can see where the red is starting to wash out in places.

Years ago, when the shop first opened, I did a similar sign for the front window. It was much larger and depicted the store's name and a large pentagram. It has not weathered time well. It is very badly faded, even after having been recolored at least once, and now has a large piece broken off in the corner. This pic was taken from inside looking out. It looks even crappier now. It has been out of service for years..

I've always loved the look of stained glass. These pictures are of the ceiling lights inside the shop. The store's interior was very bright, and the white light from the florescent light fixtures seemed harsh. I wanted to warm it up a bit with some color, so I decided to transform the lighting fixtures into stained glass "skylights".

These were actually very easy to make. I pulled down the clear plastic covers from the light fixtures. One side of these plastic lenses is bumpy, to refract the light, and the other side is smooth. I made sure that the smooth side was on the side facing the light bulbs. Then I laid out a pattern on the smooth side using black electrical tape. You have to make sure that you don't stretch the tape as you pull it off the roll, or it will shrink up on you over time and distort the design.

Then I took colored cellophane and cut it to size to fill in the panels. I secured these in place around the edges with clear cellophane tape. It's actually a rather rickety affair when you see it up close, but since you never see it up close on that side, unless you are changing the light bulbs, it doesn't matter. The effect is remarkable. Of course these lights are many years old now too, so there has been considerable fading. You can hardly tell that there were green and purple and yellow panels in them at one time. Some of them are really starting to show their age, and badly need redone. I'm just too lazy.

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