Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Developing a Prayer Room III: Faux Stained Glass Windows
Today's post focuses on the construction of the windows for the prayer room. I wanted to create a feeling of sacredness in the room, while eliminating the outside distractions, and so I turned to the idea of stained glass windows. Real stained glass was obviously out of the question, so I began looking for a way to create a stained glass appearance on the windows in the room. My initial plan was to use cellophane behind cutouts in posterboard. I talked to one art major student from Wheaton who suggested the use of tissue paper or vellum paper over the cellophane for cost effectiveness. She informed me that the JPUSA use windows like these ate their worship space. So I headed down to the craft shop and found a massive stack of tissue paper. I designed and made the first two windows by myself, and then turned to two other people at camp for help, when I became afraid that all my designs would be too similar. Krista Pancone, a fellow GPA at HoneyRock, designed the Cross/sunrise window. Kimmy Tolbert, a recent graduate of Wheaton's Art program, designed most of the three piece window, that seeks to illustrate Christ at work in the scenery of HoneyRock.
Step 1: Designing the Windows
I needed a piece of posterboard at least 28x40 to fill the space of the window, and larger to be able to fasten them to the window frame. The largest posterboard I could find was 22x28 so I had to resort to gluing to pieces together. This meant I had to have a 2-3" section in the middle of each window that could not be cut out. This meant that some of my designs had to be altered to fit the new panes. I sketched a few designs in a sketchbook, and settled on two final designs to begin work on. Later Krista designed hers, and Kimmy and I put a few hours into designing the three piece window. All designs were then transferred to the posterboard. It is important in the design process to look at how Stained Glass widows are constructed, and how your piece will work structurally. Large sections of tissue paper will have little structural integrity, and may rip before even hung. If in doubt, add more lines.
Step 2: Cutting the Design Out
For this step I would suggest using an X-acto knife for cutting out the pieces. I did not have one, and used a utility knife. Be very careful, and approach this task slowly, as more can always be cut away, but you can never add more material back once its been cut. During this process I often added more lines in areas where there were large pieces of tissue paper. Its also wise to either have a reversible design, or draw a mirrored design on the back of the posterboard, so you can just flip it over after your done. Both designs I made with letters, were made on the front of the posterboard and later the lines had to be erased.
Step 3: Attaching the Tissue Paper
The method I found to work the best was to put the paper in the hole it was to fill, and lightly trace the outline. I would then cut around this leaving a quarter to half inch to glue. Then I would use Mod Podge to glue the paper to the posterboard. Designs with straight lines made this step much easier. Keep this in consideration when designing.