Laser Cut Art Glass Designs

What have we been working on lately?!

Recently we were asked to help prototype some window panels for Glass Artist  Zoë Eady of The Glass Garden, a stained glass studio based at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley, Leeds. (For those of you that know Leeds well, you can find it above Scraps – another fantastic place filled with inspiration where you can often spot our Nice-Cuts team leader Stu Childs up to mischief in the Tinker Lab or sifting through their piles of acrylic!). It is here that Zoë create bespoke leaded art glass panels mostly for doors and windows.

This Autumn Zoe’s spent a while altering her designs to use as laser cutting files. This was mostly a useful experiment to help her visualise the full scaled versions of what the windows might look like, and who doesn’t get sick of staring at a screen once in a while(??), but the results were really fun and exciting!

Zoë uses Adobe Illustrator to design her bespoke leaded panels. Although most Glass Artists traditionally draw their ‘cartoon’ directly onto paper – she finds this method suits her for a couple of reasons. Firstly, she can draw them to scale – using 1/2″ and 1/4″ inch path strokes to represent the lead so she can quickly see if the lines are going to be too thick for the image – sometimes simpler is better! ‘You need to design around your materials’, says Zoë, ‘The picture has to suit the material, not the other way around’. Having a digital copy of the design is also perfect for showing clients the planned works. ‘I can make immediate changes to the design when discussing with them – things like colour or size’. Finally, because it was drawn to scale, when complete Zoë can print off a black and white copy that will then become a perfect template, building her stained glass windows directly on the top. ‘Getting the size spot on is one of the most important aspects of the job’, says Zoë, ‘Even a couple of millimetres out and the panel may not fit! Especially if it’s going to be encapsulated for double glazing’.

So when designing for a particularly unusual window, Zoë decided to contact us here at Nice-Cuts to see if we could give her a further head start. She was worried the panel was too complex as a composition and it might help to visualise the detail Because her work was already saved as an .ai file we could easily cut her a copy.

‘Not only was this super useful to myself as it was far easier to see where I would need to simplify the design, but the client loved it as an artwork in its own right! When visiting for a final measure up in November, I took this along so she too could see the finale size of the panels. She loved it so much I said she should keep it while she’s waiting for the real ones!’

This does mean we’ll need to cut her a new one in the mean time however. You can never have too much lasered MDF!!

Laser Cut Art Glass Puffins by Zoe Eady from The Glass Garden Leeds
Stained glass window prototyping out of MDF!