Mark Fullerton, my hero with the laser cutter, generously sent me a variety of laser cut acrylic forms made to my specs. Some were in an intact form while others were incised/etched, etc. On the bag that had all the individual window panes cut out he wrote (seen above top) "Are you Crazy? Don't even try this (but it would be the coolest)" It was such a sweet and funny comment. I loved that he wrote it. It only took me a nano-second to know which set I would have to use to get that special Tudor window sparkle from each pane being set slightly off from the next.
I had worked out a method of making the three panels two years ago but the problem with such a long term project as this is that I totally forgot the method by the time Carol showed up to help me build them. I had hand painted all the panes with either clear urethane (in nontox glue form) or with tinted gloss in the colors of the cottage. I'd long ago glued down pressed rose leaves and other inclusions and decided that the mullions were to be cut straight twigs to give the half organic/grown--half traditional architecture feel. But when Carol started in to assemble them with hot glue the other day loads of difficulty showed up. It was far too ramshackle (HA! What do you call Rana the goat woman's cottage? a Ram SHACKle--lol), I thought as I watched her, to hot glue the twigs to a single layer of panes. It was aright, but it wasn't working well enough for me.
So I continued my window making saga for days after. I have been barking up the wrong tree on this cottage feature over and over (see waste-of-my-time old posts on the subject) but I'm happy to say NOW THEY ARE ALL DONE and they look beautiful to me. (final installed shot coming in future post)
I went NUTZ and decided that the windows had to be double paned (and it was a double/triple pain indeed) I took real butterfly wings that Constance had brought to Halfland (from where they died natural deaths in her window at home). I used the wrong stuff for this, acrylic gel, which unexpectedly bubbled in the low oven when I had to heat them to get them to dry clear. Some panes even slumped (too high too long toxic--I know--won't do that again.) Didn't matter to me, I was on a tear. I was using these mofos no matter what. ONWARD! In the end I'm glad because now they windows aren't all the way transparent which means I don't have to build a backdrop to cover my computer from that angle on the set. Light gets through but not direct image.
With double thick panes, filled with leaves, wings of all sizes (one with even a natural sheer window in itself), and silk threads in color, Cicada wings from Halfland's Official Naturalist in Georgia, etc. it was far easier to puzzle together the panes and twigs.
The first step was to make a paper pattern directly on the previously built bay window of the cottage. These were in no way regular shapes, more like torqued trapezoids, and each of three were utterly different. I used my hand to press brown paper into the openings as a way of getting an accurate pattern. Even so, I can't recount to you how many mistakes I made turning the panels around the wrong way or mixing them up. I am no Andrew Fucking Brown, let me tell you. (Hate his flawless set building ability with a cold passion.)
Great New Material Alert: Ice Resin (UPDATE: I cannot recommend anyone use Ice Resin after I found out that the product is in fact toxic during use. They are in my opinion using deceptive advertising to state that it is non-toxic. When pushed they have admitted that the product is non-toxic ONLY after it is dry/cured, I'm glad I had it for the windows and wish it was possible to use it for other purposes but I avoid using things that require wearing a respirator.)
Here's what saved the day, non-toxic jewelers-grade clear resin called Ice Resin (see above update). It's a careful measure 2-part gel--but no harmful fumes (not true while in use). I wore gloves and used near open window for good measure because I trust no one. But I have to gladly report that this stuff is absolutely winning. (used it for other things too, details coming)
I blue-taped the mosaic as it was built to hold it in place, turned the panel over and poured a small batch of the resin over the whole face of it. It takes three days to dry chemically. Unfortunately the tape was not enough to seal every seam and so great pools of (rather expensive) resin collected on the undersides. This ruined my bare twig mullion idea and somewhat squashed my sparkle pane hopes as it essentially made a solid piece of resin out of the panel, at least on one side.
After painstaking removal of the blue tape (why it came off successfully at all I won't know) I rallied once again and hand painted the mullions with matte medium to differentiate them from the glossy panes a bit and struggled to hack-saw the excess edges off each panel to size. I also had to carve out the wood casements in spots to make it all fit.
Next came shoe-molding as further casement framing as the three panels were finally installed in the bay. As I look through the window from the interior, with it's hand-dyed vintage fabric cushions and warm woolen blanket, I am immediately transported to Halfland and can actually feel the urge to curl up there and take a nap.