Saint Brigid’s Cross is as much a symbol of Ireland as the Shamrock and the Harp. Celebrated every year on the 1st of February St Brigid’s Day is a major event in the Irish calendar. Over the years the cross has become a prominent feature of Irish art, design and culture. Born in Dundalk in 450AD St Brigid was the founder of the first monastery in County Kildare, Ireland. She died in 525AD aged 75 and was buried within the church she created. Her remains were exhumed years later and brought to Downpatrick to rest alongside Saints Patrick and Columcille. In the year 2023 Saint Brigid’s Day is set to become a national holiday in Ireland.
This is my own design of the cross, surrounded by Snowdrops to welcome the arrival of Spring. The panel is 17 inches in diameter, made using the copper foil method and edged in lead came.
A brief history
The presence of Brigid’s cross in Ireland is likely far older than Christianity. The Celtic Goddess Brigid was one of the Tuatha Dé Danann and her day was the feast of Imbolc. Imbolc is an ancient Celtic festival now also known as St Brigid’s Day, marking the beginning of spring. This was celebrated at the start of February, halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox.
There are many stories and legends surrounding the creation of the cross. The cross made of rushes today is very likely the descendant of the pagan sunwheel. This symbol invoked the great cosmic powers to bless the Earth with fertility, life, prosperity, and peace. The cross divides the circle into four parts, which represent the solar calendar. These symbolize the four annual seasons which have a very significant influence on the agricultural cycles.
Saint Brigid’s Crosses are made and displayed across Ireland today to ward off evil, fire and hunger.
Cherry Blossom Transom pattern 33.5 x 18 inches. This size would fit above a doorway and could also hang at the top of a window frame. Instructions for adjusting the pattern size before printing are supplied in the PDF download. Custom sizes are available on request.
It’s April and everywhere across the northern hemisphere, Cherry Blossom trees are blooming. Here in Ireland Herbert Park in Dublin has the largest number of trees in the capital. They are also visible in St Stephens Green, Trinity College and the Botanic Gardens. The country most famous for these beautiful trees would have to be Japan. Here every spring “Hanami” is celebrated with outdoor festivals, picnics and parties. These take place during both day and night time under the blooming trees. This tradition dates back as far as the 8th century and is very much the highlight of the Japanese calendar.
Stained Glass PDF Pattern Information
Downloadable PDF pattern prints actual size 33.5 inches x 18 inches, ( 853 mm x 458 mm ) across nine pages. Instructions are included for enlarging the pattern to your required size when printing. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to print this pattern.
This is my Queen Bee PDF Pattern. Bees are a fascinating subject so I am going to share a few facts I discovered whilst researching them with you.
Although there are 98 different species of bees in Ireland there is only one native honey bee. It is a subspecies called Apis mellifera mellifera or the Northern dark bee. There are three rare bumblebees in Ireland all threatened with extinction. The Great yellow bumblebee, the Shrill carder bee and the Red-shanked carder bee. Bumblebees would have between 50-200 workers in a nest whereas in honey bee hives it would be 50,000. In Spring a queen Bumblebee would visit up to 6,000 flowers a day to generate the heat and energy to hatch her first eggs. Bees can see primary colors blue, green and ultraviolet. They can identify orange, yellow, blue/green violet and purple but they can’t see red. To bees, the ultraviolet radiation patterns on flowers are as important as the colors. One last thing only female bees can sting. Click the link to view more Stained Glass Patterns
Stained glass PDF Pattern Information
Downloadable PDF pattern prints actual size 15 3/4 inches x 15 3/4 inches, ( 400 mm x 400 mm ) across six pages. Instructions are included for enlarging the pattern to your required size when printing. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to print this pattern.
Saint Patrick’s Day will soon be upon us once again. Last year, marked the beginning of the pandemic and the cancellation of all the parades. While there will be some virtual celebrations this year we can still only hold out hope for the future. So to try and mark the day this year I have designed this Triquetra Claddagh Pattern. The hands of friendship are holding the heart, which shows love to form the central part of the design. The crown for loyalty sits above the heart and a circle intertwined with shamrock and Triquetra knots frames the picture. Click the link to view more Stained Glass Patterns
Claddagh A Brief History
The Claddagh is one of Ireland’s most recognized international symbols. Originating from the small County Galway fishing village of the same name in Ireland. Countless myths and legends surrounding the origins of the first ring dating as far back as 1700. Credit for the design generally goes to Richard Joyce, a local silversmith. Sometimes used for friendship, “Claddagh” rings are more popular as engagement and wedding rings. Generally, these are the modern meanings of how to wear the ring.
Right-handed with the point of the heart toward the fingertips shows the wearer is “single”. If the heart is pointing to the wrist of the right-hand the meaning is “in a relationship”.
Left-handed with the point of the heart toward the fingertips shows the wearer to be “engaged”. If the heart is pointing to the wrist of the left hand the meaning is “marriage”.
Stained glass Pattern Information
A 540 mm ( approx 21.25 inches) square pattern with a circular option and border pieces if required. Downloadable PDF pattern prints actual size 21.25 inches x 21.25 inches, ( 540 mm x 540 mm ) across six pages. Instructions supplied for enlarging the pattern to your required size when printing. You will need “Adobe Acrobat Reader” to print this pattern.
The Apple Blossom with its beautiful pink and white flowers is in fact a member of the rose family. Appearing from early May apple blossoms are larger and more robust than similar cherry blossoms. They produce a sweet scent that attracts bees and other insects. Flowering between 3 to 10 days when pollination occurs, after which time they lose their petals. They are also said to represent good fortune, hope and preference which make them a perfect subject for stained glass.
I have decided to stay with the ” Tiny Tiffany ” format of a 12-inch round panel for this Apple Blossom design. The background glass is a Uroboros fracture glass code 10-55 Cobalt Blue, White and Green. Gold pink and white, plus gold pink and purple make up the flowers and the leaves are light green with spring green highlights. This is a great project if you have lots of scrap art glass and makes a beautiful Mothers Day gift. You can display the panel in a window or placed it on a stand as shown here. The original panel size is 12 inches, ( 305 mm ) in diameter.
Downloadable PDF pattern prints actual size 12-inch diameter, ( 305 mm x 305 mm ) across four pages. Instructions provided for enlarging the pattern to your required size when printing. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to print this pattern.
Round Clematis Tutorial 3, in which I cover steps 11 – 14 including foiling, flat soldering, outer lead attachment, final soldering and applying the patina.
I am now starting to foil the pieces, I do this by removing them one at a time and then replacing them as I proceed. I find this method works very well as you are able to make minor adjustments as you work across the panel. It is important during this process to make sure you burnish the foil onto the edge of the glass. I always use a putty knife for this process.
Here is the panel with all the foiling complete. I will now proceed to flat solder the panel on the front side. I use 50/50 solder to do this if I have any, if not 60/40 will do. Once the front face has been flat soldered, remove the template and repeat the process on the reverse. I use a “U” shaped lead came to provide a nice neat finish to the outside edge of the panel.
First soldering was completed on both sides and the perimeter lead is in place. You can see the two pieces of black tape securing the ends to the panel. It’s always good practice to place the join on a seam for neatness. The final bead solder can now take place to finish the panel.
Once the bead soldering is complete all flux and solder residue should be removed. I would use hot water and a little detergent for this, then clean with” 0000 ” steel wool. This will make the patina take a lot better. Finally, I use a little black stove polish on a brush to buff up the finished panel.
This post will cover steps 7 to 10 in this Round Clematis Tutorial.
I am now adding some Uroboros fracture and streamer glass code 11-296 down the right-hand side. This will introduce a different more broken translucent light effect. Also, I still want to include a small strip of water glass at the bottom of the panel. Although I will now leave this until last as I am happy with the way everything else is progressing.
The remaining fracture and streamer background glass is now in place. I’ve added the last two flowers and the rest of the leaves as well. Now I have to make a decision on how to introduce the strip of water glass into the composition. I am thinking of a simple straight line, this will help to give the panel a base. Also to put it behind the flower and leaf petals so it appears in the distance.
With the water glass added and all the pieces now cut, I can see the complete picture and am quite happy with the result. The next step in the process will be to place the cut pieces on a lightbox. This involves putting all the pieces on a clear sheet of glass and placing it over a light source. This will give me a good idea of how the finished panel will appear and flag up any obvious mistakes. These can then be resolved before foiling begins.
On the light box now and although it’s difficult to see I’m quite happy with the way everything looks. Of course, I have the benefit of years of experience here. If you are new to stained glass it’s all about developing your own process or way of working. The best advice I could give to you is to make small projects. That way you will repeat the process every time. Pattern preparation, cutting and fitting pieces, foiling, soldering, cleaning and polishing.
In this Round Clematis Tutorial 1, I will cover the next four steps. They mainly cover the background on the left-hand side of the panel.
Round Clematis Tutorial Step 3
You can never be quite sure how a color scheme is going to turn out. So I have started this panel by cutting two flowers, some background and leaves. This is the color scheme in my mind at this point so laying it out will help future glass choices. I have settled on a Youghiogheny ” Laburnham ” glass for the flower centres. This may yet change as the panel develops. I find it’s best to keep ideas fluid in the early stages.
Continuing to build up the picture I have now added more of the background glass. This is a Youghiogheny stipple glass, code NO 57 ” Neodymium Pink with Peach Gold and Bubblegum. The background glass has a rather nice natural effect which I am trying to work into the panel. This means cutting the pieces very carefully using a band-saw.
Now with more background, flowers and leaves are added. Flower glass is Youghiogheny code N367 ” Neodymium Pink, Dark Purple and Blue”. Leaves are also Youghiogheny code 1431 ” Lime and Emerald Green “. You can now see the natural effect starting to appear in the background. I have used this to create some interest and balance the flowers on the opposite side.
I have taken the background glass down the left-hand side of the panel. I am now thinking of introducing some pink fracture and streamer glass on the right-hand side. This is to create more interest and texture behind the lower flowers. I would also like to introduce some water effect along the bottom of the panel. For this, I will use a ripple effect glass.
Owls are steeped in symbolism and folklore throughout many different cultures. From the ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Native American Indians to name but a few. The Celts believed it was the wisdom of the Owl that gave it the knowledge of the underworld path. So a fascinating subject and also quite popular in the world of stained glass design. Here is my contribution an “Owl in the Moonlight” stained glass panel. This piece now takes pride of place in a Reiki Healing Studio in County Wexford Ireland.
I have used a dark blue Spectrum Waterglass for the sky and an ice white Youghiogheny Stipple Glass for the moon. These two glasses work so well together, the blue reflects the light whereas the white is very opaque. I have picked the branches out with a solid black glass to complete the upper background. The Owl sits in the foreground atop a tree stump at the centre of the composition. It took me a few days to produce this pattern and I am very happy with the end result.
Stained Glass Pattern Information
Downloadable PDF pattern prints actual size 18 inch x 24 inch, ( 457 mm x 610 mm ) across eight pages. Instructions provided for enlarging the pattern to your required size when printing. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to print this pattern.