Mel Price at work
HOW I WORK
No matter how you make contact with me, face to face at a maker's show, by email or telephone, I always like to have an introductory meeting. This is usually in a client's home so that we can discuss your aspirations. If you have a particular budget, design or colours in mind then this is the time to cover that.
From this point I return to my studio and work up some design sketches. Once these are ready I arrange a further meeting to review them and chat through options for glass colours and textures. At this stage I can give a cost estimate and, once the final design is agreed I can provide a firm cost and likely timescale for the work.
Where new pieces are being created, each panel is individually made to a client’s requirements and the timeframe varies according to the complexity and size of the design, as well as the availability of glass. I ask for a 50% deposit when the client approves the final design to cover initial outlay for materials.
My panels are designed with close attention to detail and structure, influenced by traditional techniques, whilst taking care to avoid the possibility of future sagging or cracking due to poor design.
When choosing glass, the depth of colours and textures are carefully selected after considering the aspect of the panel. Depending on the final design I may use a copper foiling or lead came construction method. Foiling enables more fluid, organic shapes of a smaller scale than the more traditional leaded approach. Using this style of working, each piece of glass is cut and then copper tape is construct the panel using either Every piece of glass is encased within a length of lead ‘came’ and each joint is lead soldered.
Lead putty is used to make the panel rigid and weatherproof. Where necessary copper ties and saddle bars are added to give extra strength. Finally, the lead and glass are both polished and the panel is ready for installation.
Repair and Restoration
Over time glass can crack or become smashed. Mostly this happens because lead and solder joints become brittle with age. Aged lead can often sag, causing glass, and the cement used to hold it, to become loose. Initially this causes glass to crack, but when left unrepaired, minor damage often results in smashed or completely missing pieces.
Often the work in dismantling and cleaning old panels ready for restoration can be similar in cost to making a brand new panel. Some people buy reclaimed stained glass panels in the expectation that they can simply be made to fit a door or window in their home. Although this is a way to end up with some beautiful and unusual glass and designs, it is rarely a cheap option.
Copyright Mel Price 2020
Design rights Mel Price and Armando Magnino 2001-2020
Photographs Mel Price, Armando Magnino