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Glass Magic

December 23, 2010

We haven’t been posting much lately, not because there isn’t progress. There are all kinds of milestones to report. However, with the coming holidays, a more festive topic seems in order.

Working on the B.A.B., we spend time focused on specific tasks but every once in a while, we are caught by something extraordinary. This time, for me, it was the faceted glass door installed by Jacoby Studios off the front lobby.

One afternoon, I was working in the shop, walking back and forth to the dock. In the middle of the afternoon, on a clear winter day, the sunlight was reflecting through our North facing front lobby. The light spilled through the glass, down the walls, stopping me in my tracks.

A light at the end of the hallway

I was told it was installed for functional reasons. The office was upstairs. Visitors would wander back through the workshop, looking for the office. The door was a practical way to direct folks up the main stair, but also a way for the Jacoby artisans to experiment with an emerging technique.

Glass door catches the afternoon light

According to an article Mr. Opplinger sent to me, featuring the Jacoby Studios, there is a special method to working with this style of stained glass that involves large chunks, or ‘dalles’ of glass in an epoxy matrix.  It creates a particularly surprising effect because it looks rather unremarkable until the light reveals the design. The thickness of the glass, the ‘facets’ or chips on the edges along with the colors combine to give the window texture and sparkle. The blues and greens have an underwater feel.

Until the light flows through, the door has a completely different appearance. It is substantial, large and heavy in look and reality. We don’t often get the light, just right through the lobby, to create that view.

It is hard to imagine that the artist that designed the window could ‘see’ what it would eventually look like, starting with a pile of what some would call broken glass, and a runny matrix. It is different from the traditional leaded glass, where you can see the picture being created in the cartoon. This is much more three-dimensional and abstract.  

Faceted Glass Door as it usually appears

Being involved in a project that many people can’t comprehend, and occasionally wondering what we’ve gotten ourselves into, it is intriguing to see something that is a microcosm of our project. It is especially inspiring to see that it resulted in something beautiful.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Joanne Cooper permalink
    December 23, 2010 7:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing the photos; beautiful door. That is a great design for some of the most difficult glass to design for, what talent!

    • Tom permalink*
      December 27, 2010 10:19 am

      Glad you like it Joanne! When you visit you’ll have to come on a sunny day!

  2. Todd permalink
    December 23, 2010 2:15 pm


    I love the story and the photo. Perhaps the light had to do with this time of the year.
    It reminded me of a poem I read many years back. You both have a great Christmas and thanks for the wonderful posts!

    By a departing light
    We see acuter, quite,
    Than by a wick that stays.
    There’s something in the flight
    That clarifies the sight
    And decks the rays.

    • Tom permalink*
      December 27, 2010 10:18 am

      Thanks Todd for our first “poetry” comment!

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