Howard Creek Ranch Project

The journey began with a beautiful trip to the California coast. My husband found us a lovely, rustic place to stay called Howard Creek Ranch. Our cabin was built around a boat washed ashore. Later, we learned that the owner, Sunny, did all the building and renovation of this Ranch himself with very little help. It is a huge place with a labor of love evident in every corner.
While walking out to the ocean from our boat house one day, we stumbled upon a pile of old glass on a pallet nestled under some berry bushes. How fun, this is kismet I tell you.
The story of the glass and what I could learn from Sunny:
This glass was imported from Italy around 1870. In 1870 Italian Stained Glass was made via the sand casting method. Sunny was travelling one day and noticed a bulldozer tearing down an old church, so he pulled over to take a closer look. Then is when he discovered they were bulldozing a pile of demo’d stained glass windows.  These windows were said to be 12 feet tall in their full glory.
Sunny stopped the dozer and while the driver protested, Sunny asked him to look the other way and salvaged as much glass as he could fit into his truck. Currently, some of the pieces Sunny rescued and patched together are hanging around he and Sally’s Bed and Breakfast Ranch. While talking with Sunny about the glass, he asked if I would like to use what was under the berry bushes. Of course, it is my honor to play with that glass. Sunny then said, “I knew the right person would come along.” I sniffle now in gratitude for the opportunity to re-work this glass into some new pieces for Sunny and Sally’s B & B Ranch. The very thought of becoming a small part of the Ranch experience in all of it’s peaceful splendor is my pleasure indeed. Enjoy these photos and the progress as it happens. This is going to take some thought-filled time, but I will add more pictures as I progress. Much love to Sunny and Sally for rescuing a bit of history, xoxo. ~Michelle
7-24-12 Update: The journey continues….I completed my first panel (shown below) and I am getting ready to make panel lamp shades next. In the first panel, my goal was to honor the original craftsmanship by not grinding the edges of each piece. Note the thicker and thinner lines. The glass pieces are all rough-cut (and not ground) so they previously fit into lead channels, which disguises the edges. My work is copper foil, so I did solder fill to compensate where the lead used to be. The first panel is the only unbroken portion from the original cross design (see photo 7). I wanted to preserve it. The remaining glass will be cut and re-worked into completely different pieces.

First Panel done and ready to hang 7-24-12Sunny's Rescue he framed up himselfIn the berry bushesTangled Lead and GlassGlass is free from the tangle nowRachael found this crate of old glass in the bushesPhoto 7: Dirty and broken before the deconstruction beginsEvery little piece mattersSuper dirty and awaiting lead removalPiles of Glass Saved and waiting for a bubble bathThe mystery deepens, WHO is Frank? There is writing on it: “Gift of Frank”.

About Michelle

Michelle Copeland has been practicing Glass Art since 1991 in the following disciplines: - Stained Glass - Lampworking - Fusion and Slumping - Hand-Painted - Sandblasting - Blown Glass. Largely self-taught, Michelle's unusual approach to glass is exhibited in her art, capturing elegance, energy and playful color in her work. Each piece is individually created by the artist herself - her unique approach to glass adds interest, prestige and value. Line, form, color and movement are key ingredients that combine to articulate Copeland's distinctive style.


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