Author: heartsdesirestainedglass

We're Heart's Desire Stained Glass, making glass art in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

The Turner Transom: Getting Started

We’re happy to have done the work we’ve done, but we’re far from sad that there’s more work for us to do–like a new project we’ve begun that we’re calling the Turner Transom. For this project, we were approached by our clients, folks who have some property in our own beautiful Texas Hill Country. They asked about our putting together a transom window so they can get a little more of the kindly sunlight for which–along with wildflowers, barbeque, and high school football–our part of the world is rightly known. They gave us the dimensions of the piece we’ll need to make–36 x 12 inches–and we took our first steps: drafting a design:

We’ve got software that helps us make this kind of thing happen.
Turner Transom Design by Kevin Elliott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License

We ran that by the client and got the approval to start work on it–because we don’t get going on a custom piece for any client without their input and approval. For us, for a piece like this–one we’ll be putting into a metal frame, since a transom stands a good chance of needing to take some stresses–moves from a design draft to what we call a cartoon. That is, we print the layout out at full size, because having something in hand is a whole ‘nother thing from seeing it on a screen, and working in glass is as much about the feel of it as about anything else. That much done, we began making our reference pieces, giving ourselves something to lay under glass or over it so that we can get a good view of how the individual pieces will work with the specific glass we’ll end up using:

How we’ve got it on the shop table as this post gets written. Photo by Kevin Elliott.

This part of the process is important for _ reasons. For one, it gives us a standing visual aid as we compile a piece of visual art; seeing what we’re doing while we’re doing it helps us make sure it’s done right. Architects and engineers work from blueprints, writers work from notes, and painters work from sketches; we take our cues from other arts to work in our own. For another, each piece of glass–not only the ones we make, but the materials from which we make them–is unique. Not every piece of blue glass, not even every piece from a single production run, will look exactly the same, for example, and making those differences make sense in a transom window–or any other panel–demands care and attention that we’re more than happy to give.

As with the Smith Panel Combination about which we posted previously, we’ll keep putting out updates about our work on the current project. We think it’s important to bring people into what we do, show a bit of the expertise and experience that goes into crafting works of stained glass that will add to a home’s value and enrich the lives of those who live in it–and we hope you continue to enjoy the ride!

We’d love to work with you, too! Please, give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page or the form below; let’s talk about meeting your stained glass and art glass needs and getting you your heart’s desire!

Got writing needs? Check out!

The Smith Panel Combination: It’s Done and In!

Late in 2021, we started working on the Smith Panel Combination–and posting about our progress on it. We’ve worked to bring you into our work on the project, showing you some of what we do along the way, and we hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with us. But this particular journey’s over; the work is done, and the combined panel has been put in! Placed into the window frame the client selected, and secured inside the existing glass with clips that facilitate removal for cleaning both the panel and the window. The setup lets light in through it and around it, the work blends in with the home while providing a marked point of visual focus for it–one that will hold up for years to come!

We were pleased with how things turned out–but then, we wouldn’t have delivered the panels to the client without liking how they look. We’re happier, though, that the client was well-pleased with the work, who made the following comment on our Facebook page: “Thank You! I love my finished and installed Deer and Tree stained glass piece! I highly recommend Kevin!” It’s the kind of thing we love to read–and we’d love the chance to make you happy, too! Give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page to see what all we can do for you!

The Smith Panel Combination: The Penultimate Step

We noted last week that work on the Smith Panel Combination had proceeded, with the repairs to the glass and its joints handled and the two panels framed together. We’ve got the finish on the wood framing done, staining it to a lovely red cedar–as you can see below!

Assembled, stained, and ready to go! Photo by Kevin Elliott.

Even though the panel is ready, there’s still a little left for us to do. We have to get it in! As we do–because we often do our own installations–we’ll work to give you a glimpse of how we make it happen!

We’d love to hear from you. Give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page to see what all we can do to make–or repair and refine–stained for you!

The Smith Panel Combination: Framing

Late last year, we started reporting on work on combining two formerly independent panels of stained glass into a single larger installation. We’ve continued to work on the project, if with a bit of a break to spend time with family over the holidays, getting the figures and designs done before moving on to take care of the actual work of the job. So far, the work’s gone well, with such component repairs effected as needed doing–and we’ve got the initial framing of the combined piece done!

Photo by Kevin Elliott

The project isn’t done, of course. The framing in place is mostly to test the design and its tolerances; as presented, it’s some 32 inches wide and 65 & ¾ tall, with the framing consisting of 1×2 cedar. There will be a fair bit of sanding and staining before the combined panel is ready to be assembled and installed. Once it’s in, though, it will hold up for years to come and, with regular care and cleaning, it’ll look good the whole time. We look forward to showing it to you ready for the installation and once it’s in place!

We’re taking orders for custom projects even now; we’ve got a couple in queue, but give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page, and see what all we can do for you!

For the 2021 Holidays

We’ve been happy to be at work on stained glass art in the Texas Hill Country, and we’ll be getting back to that soon. For now, though, we’re taking some time to be with family–it’s the season for it, certainly!

We’ll look forward to showing you what we’ve got–and to seeing you–in the coming year.

Whatever you celebrate, we hope it’s a happy one!

Other Work

A lot of the work we’ve been doing has taken the form of repair and adjustment of such large pieces as front doors, cabinet inserts, and window panels. But we got started on the back porch, putting together little suncatchers, commemorative pieces, and standing figures that hang inside windows and sit on shelves, catching the light that comes in and shining brilliantly, beautifully. It’s good to go back to that kind of thing now and again–and we’ve done that!

When we’ve done live shows, such pieces have been popular. (For good reason–they make excellent gifts, for one thing!) Also popular have been our school- and activity-related work, like the piece below–and we’ll note that when we do these kinds of projects, we work hard to get the colors and textures of glass just right. Details matter, after all!

We’re going to keep working on this kind of thing, so if you’re interested, we’d love to hear from you! Please, give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page to see what all we can do for you!

The Smith Panel Combination: Doing the Math

Last week, we noted getting started on a new project: the Smith Panel Combination. We’re excited to be working on the project, and for several reasons. For one, it’s always good to have work to do. For another, the panels really are quite pretty, and it’s always a pleasure to work with beautiful things in the shop; really, it’s one of the reasons we work with stained glass to start with!

The project at present; photo by Geoffrey B. Elliott.

One of the other reasons we’re looking forward to working on the project is the challenge it presents. We noted last time that we’ve got to find a way to combine the two panels into a single installation, and we have to find a way to strengthen the construction so that it will hold up over time. If you look at the picture of the project above, you’ll see that, although the panels are framed in came, they are composed of individual cut pieces of colored and textured glass; the edges of those pieces are wrapped in a copper foil and soldered over to join them together.

The advantage of the technique is that it allows for great detail in the work; cutting glass in curves and small parts is a skill in itself, as is fine solder-work, but deploying those skills allows for more complex pieces to be made in smaller spaces. The weakness, of course, is that there are a lot of joints, and they are not very strong; came is a more robust joining technique in no small part because it occupies more space and can provide more structure therefore. At the same time, the came takes up more space, so it doesn’t allow as much detail per square foot or yard.

Addressing the issue, for us, means integrating the two techniques: foil-and-solder and came-framing. Working out how to do that is where we’re at at the moment. It’s not enough to just slap some copper on some glass and cram it into the frame that exists; we’re going to be resetting some of the pieces and reinforcing the frame with additional came-work. That means we have to work out where the new came will be minimally intrusive, allowing for the most strength to be brought in while still keeping the most detail possible. That begins with sketches, such as are showing up as preliminaries already.

It also involves some complex calculations. Each kind of glass we use–and we use lots of different kinds!–has its own strength, as do the various solders and cames we employ. Figuring out what needs to go where to have the maximum effect takes no small amount of pencil-pushing; it’s not the kind of thing that can be leapt into with abandon, not and have it work well over the long term. And since we mean to build (and repair) to last, it is the kind of thing we take seriously.

We take it seriously with all of the work we do. If you’d like some of that to be for you, please, give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page. We’d love to hear from you!

The Smith Panel Combination: Getting Started

We’re proud of the work that we do, and we want to share that work with you! So, as we’re getting started on a new project, we figured we’d bring you along for the ride and show you something of a work-in-progress view of things as a new repair and alteration job gets started. This’ll be the first in what we hope is a series of posts that’ll show you how we go about doing what we do–and what we can do for you!

The project, which we’re calling the Smith Panel Combination, is a fairly typical project for us in some respects. Our client has some older stained glass pieces that need some repair. In the photos below, taken in our shop after we got them home, a few bits of glass that’ve cracked show up. Too, the panels, done almost entirely in Tiffany-style, show some bowing where the glass has clearly been subjected to flexion and other pressures–and where it will break if something’s not done.

A couple of complications are already evident. One is the sheer size of the panels, given their construction; they’re large pieces, and the technique used to build them in the first place is one we’d normally only apply to smaller works or smaller components of larger pieces. We’ll be addressing some of that as we move through the work; we want to be sure that the piece we return to the client will hold up over time and be something that the client’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can look at and still see the beauty of the light coming through the class.

The other major complication is that, although the panels are akin, they are currently separate pieces–and the client wants them combined into one larger window, framed in cedar, for installation. Again, the pieces are akin; they clearly already belong together. However, they’re not designed, in themselves, to be two pieces of a single whole; harmonizing them to fit together will be an artistic challenge. But we’re ready to face that; indeed, we welcome the chance to show what we can do!

Please, give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page; we’d love to talk about meeting your stained glass and art glass needs!

Read about the continued progress of this project here!

Selections to the Cabinets

As we continue to try to keep you abreast of work we’ve done, we’re looking back at some of our projects in the past several months. A few of them have taken the form of working on cabinet inserts, beautifying kitchen spaces for our friends and neighbors in the Greater Kerrville area and beyond. The Clausewitz Cabinets were among them; the folks we did the work for had had some cabinet work done in their home, and they were fond of the inserts they’d had before. The only problem was that those inserts were too small for the new cabinets! Fortunately, we were able to add some expansion panels to them, letting the folks keep things they’d loved before as they got into things they were coming to love now:

The broader came you see holding the original central panel in place is some of the zinc came we’ve noted before; a kitchen cabinet has to get opened and shut often, and sometimes with a fair bit of vigor, so it has to be able to stand up to use. The clear panels at top and bottom allow for ease of viewing, while the beveled panels to the sides add visual interest while still foregrounding the original etched glass. The folks we did the work for seem to be happy with it, and we’re pleased with the performance, too!

We had another couple of unrelated pieces come in, too. They’ll speak for themselves:

We hope you like them; maybe you’d like something like them for your own? If so, give us a call or send us a message at 830-890-1509, or email us at; we’d love to hear from you, and we’d love more to work with you!

More Door Work

As we continue to try to keep you abreast of work we’ve done, we’re looking back at some of our projects in the past several months. Another of them, another front door, was brought to our attention by some other folks who have the good luck to live in the Texas Hill Country. Like the Cassidy Door, these folks’ front door had an intricate panel in it, this one composed mostly of bevels; like the Cassidy Door, too, it’d seen a fair bit of weather, as well as a fair bit of use–and it had less support going in than the Cassidy Door’d had. When it came to us, we saw the effects:

In addition to having some cracked glass and some came that’d snapped, the unsupported panel had moved around so much in the door that the putty put in to hold the glass more firmly inside the came had started to crumble and peel away. The putty normally helps the glass to stay still in its pieces of came, and it helps to weatherproof the panel as a whole, keeping air from coming in around the individual pieces of glass. When it’s not there, things get drafty in a hurry–which makes for higher electric bills, as well as increasing the amount of damage that happens every time the door gets opened or shut.

Fortunately, we keep came and putty and the like on hand. That let us be sure that when we replaced the pieces that needed it, we could be sure they fit together snugly. And we made a point of putting a couple of pieces of support into the repair that hadn’t been there before, an extra layer of a harder zinc came affixed behind the outside face of the window, following the lines and curves of the artistic bevels to add another bit of strength to the panel so that it can hold up better against use and weather. From the outside, it doesn’t show at all, and even from the inside, it’s hard to see unless you’re looking really hard at just the right place; see for yourself:

There’s a door that’ll stand up to years of use and still look good. It’s certainly not the last one we’re going to do. Maybe we can do one for you! Give us a call or send us a message at 830-890-1509, or email us at; we’d love to hear from you, and we’d love more to work with you!