"Heirloom Fireplace Screen"
What started it all...
main inspiration for this project was a Malm fireplace taking up a large corner of my
living room and my desire to make it a little
more attractive. The fireplace has come in very handy during
spells of no electricity in the winter, so I knew that I didn't
want to remove it -- just hide it. Another inspiration was my husband's
grandmother who was a wonderful, spunky, German woman able to
put a smile on anyone's face. She passed away last fall, and I
wanted to do something in her memory. The final inspiration was our
fifteenth wedding anniversary, and glass is the traditional
anniversary gift for fifteen years. Knowing that I would
probably never buy a large sheet for myself, my husband gave me
a large sheet of Bullseye fracture-streamers glass.
The initial challenge was how to design
a screen that I would enjoy having in my house.
After trial and error, I was able to copy the best features from
all of my design attempts to end up with this design. The
process was greatly simplified by the Copy and Paste features in Glass Eye
The starting point of the design was the large bevel cluster.
The corner and side bevels were put in to tie the bevel theme in
the overall design. I used the Browse Bevels feature in Glass
Eye 2000 to choose the bevel clusters. The size of the main
bevel cluster was important. I wanted a bevel that would take up
a large portion of the main panel in the fireplace screen. It
also had to be large enough that it could be split between the
side panels of the screen without distorting it beyond
recognition. A Mika International MB-18 bevel cluster fit the
bill at 21" wide. For the corner bevel clusters, I used
Mika International MBC-3 clusters which, when purchased, come as
Glass Eye 2000 made the process of selecting the glass very
simple by being able to choose the actual glass for the design.
The color scheme of the design evolved from the
fracture-streamers glass. In order to combine the colors that
were in the fracture-streamers glass and stay with the Victorian
antique look of my living room, I decided that a geometric
panel seemed more appropriate than a scenic one. The bevels were
used to keep the screen light in color (that corner of my living
room is rather dark) and add to the Victorian look. I was
switching the colors around in Glass Eye 2000 right up until I
started cutting the glass.
During construction I discovered some problem areas in the
design that needed to be revised. The first area that needed
modification was at the base of the large bevel cluster. Several
lines of lead came converged forming a lead came blob. By
removing the partial diamond, I resolved this issue. The next
area that needed improvement was the bevel cluster. I did not
allow enough space for the lead came between the pieces of the
bevel cluster. Needless to say, the large cluster grew and the
mauve glass above it needed to be cut down.
The most unnerving part of the construction process was using a
glass saw to cut the two pieces of the second large, expensive
bevel cluster in half for the side panels. Knowing the cost to
replace the cluster if I messed up either cut, my fingers
trembled while making the cut. After successfully making those
cuts, I used the glass saw to cut the four 1½" x 8" bevels that
connect at the outer edges of the main bevels.
Overall, the construction of the fireplace screen went very
smoothly, and I credit Glass Eye 2000 for that. If a design
problem came up, I went into Glass Eye 2000, came up with a
solution, and then just reprinted that area. Some of the changes
that I made to improve the design during construction were
possible with hand drawn designs, but it was faster to use
Glass Eye 2000 and the Undo button.
Leading the project went quickly. I used round 3/16" H lead for
the area between the fracture-streamer diamonds and round 1/4" H
lead for the rest of the project. Flat ½" H lead was used to
frame the large panel and flat 3/8" H lead for the side panels.
Finally, to hold the panels in the wrought iron screen frame, I
used black silicone caulk that I found at the local home
Fireplace Screen Safety
I have read that some people leave their stained glass screen in
front of a burning fireplace. Due to the extreme temperatures,
that is not recommended. I have set a fluorescent light stick on
the andiron, which is easily removed when I want to use the
fireplace. Because I have used bevels and don't want the dark
fireplace opening to show through the bevels, I have a piece of
sheer white material clothes-pinned over the opening. The
material diffuses the fluorescent light very nicely.
Fireplace screens can pose a serious hazard to children and
animals. Lead and glass are the most obvious dangers, but the weight
itself can also cause problems.
Once lead and glass has been added to the wrought iron frame,
the screen gets quite heavy. My completed screen weighs over 40
I live in the hills of east Tennessee with my husband and two
children. I took my first stained glass class in 1996 and was
absolutely hooked from the start. I have since taken as many
classes as offered at my local shop. My next adventure will be a
class on fusing. Stained glass has just been a hobby for me
until recently. I have started doing several commissioned
projects for friends and neighbors and have several more in the
works. If things continue at the current pace, I will
have to start a business and hire some cheap labor (my husband).
I build 'em and he installs 'em!
One last thing...
Does the fireplace screen look familiar? On a whim (and
encouragement from my husband) I entered Delphi's Photo
Contest. Imagine the surprise when I received my new Delphi
catalog in September, and there I was on the cover!
~ Kirsten Perry
see the previous month's design