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Custom Stained Glass Lighthouse

Custom Stained Glass Lighthouse created by Artist Michelle Copeland at ThistleGlass.com

Building on Tradition –
Commemorating a traditional family journey with Stained Glass.

Custom Stained Lighthouse created by Artist Michelle Copeland at ThistleGlass.com
  • The original photo blown up into a working photo.
Custom Stained Lighthouse created by Artist Michelle Copeland at ThistleGlass.com
  • The cartoon rendering so I can select glass and start cutting out the pattern.
Custom Stained Lighthouse created by Artist Michelle Copeland at ThistleGlass.com
  • Glass has been cut and ground, now ready to foil.
Custom Stained Lighthouse created by Artist Michelle Copeland at ThistleGlass.com
  • Foil is done, ready to solder.
Custom Stained Lighthouse created by Artist Michelle Copeland at ThistleGlass.com
  • Soldered and ready for finishing work.
Custom Stained Lighthouse created by Artist Michelle Copeland at ThistleGlass.com
  • The Lighthouse is complete.
Custom Stained Lighthouse created by Artist Michelle Copeland at ThistleGlass.com
  • Installed!

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Dawn Series – Verre Eglomise

Fused Glass Tray - Designed by Artist Michelle Copeland at ThistleGlass.com

Verre Églomisé is a French term referring to the process of applying both a design and gilding onto the rear face of glass to produce a mirror finish. … The technique of back-painting glass actually dates back to pre-Roman eras.

Dawn – the Birth of a New Day
4-2012 My tests are complete! Over a decade of research, studies, and kiln tests, at long last I had the breakthrough I was searching for.
In 1996, I brought my glass experience to work for a company that hand-painted the back of glass (Verre Eglomise) and sealed it with powder coat. Their powder coat application was not tested according to well-established fused glass testing methods. My job was to develop new techniques and designs for them to sell around the globe …. with powder coat.
In my off-time, I developed my ideas further but still felt unsettled … HOW do I eliminate the powder coat and bring identical Verre Eglomise effects to fused glass?
Traditional fused glass contains … glass, front and back, and the design elements are completely encased within the melted glass, and are impervious to water. Fused glass is more costly to produce, but with proper care, you have a family heirloom.
Remember the saying, “They don’t make things the way they used to!”?
Despite a disposable world, my glass goals have always been longevity, authenticity, and made to last.

Dawn Series – Made to Last

Fuel for Evolution

Here are some photos of my former work sealed with powder coat. I will never employ the powder coat method again, but this method influenced my future glass endeavors.

And Now – The best of both Worlds – Made to Last

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Glass as I see It

Blown Glass Cane, Artist Michelle Copeland at www.ThistleGlass.com

Deep in glass process thoughts, I have sequestered myself away to listen, see and feel the colors. In front of me, a large array of blown glass twisted cane. Letting the pieces fall together the way they want, finding the right bend, cutting in just the right place… all the while, recalling the glass blowing sessions for each vase, twist, pulled cane and pattern bar.
Happy memories of my glass blowing shop flood over me. Thoughts drift to loved ones, past and present….the glass colors harmoniously blend the edges of these thoughts until finally, retrospect and introspect collide. Such a peaceful endeavor is difficult to describe.
I decided to communicate these happy thoughts through photos. I am not a professional photographer, but I feel my photos show you glass, as I see it. I hope by looking deep within the glass, you can gain a sense of what it’s all about. Perhaps glass holds positive energy for all who touch it.
For me, glass is cathartic and my evolution with it? Life-long….

– Michelle Copeland
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Recycling – About the Bottle

Custom Recycled Wine Bottle Trays by Artist Michelle Copeland at ThistleGlass.com

After over 20 years in the glass industry, I decided it’s time to explore the process of melting glass bottles.
One would think this is a simple process, but after diving in, I realize recycling bottles is as difficult, if not more difficult than traditional glass fusion.
Perhaps the most important info I can share with you is this; glass bottles are all made of “mystery glass”. Every bottle has a different manufacturer and every manufacturer uses a different type of glass to produce the bottles. To add to the mystery, results vary based on bottle glass color, thickness and shape.
Some bottles are perfectly shiny, while others come out soft-looking, not shiny at all. The really odd bottles have a little bit of both going on. Everyone is familiar with how a window looks when you exhale breath on it. This is the look I am referring to. 

– Michelle Copeland

The Process of Transforming Bottles into Art

  • Empty the bottle and rinse to prevent sediment
  • Fill the bottle and immerse in hot water to loosen the labels
  • Use a razor blade to get the labels off completely
  • Scrub with steel wool because no label glue can remain
  • Let dry completely
  • Use alcohol to rinse bottle and completely wipe down the outside too. No water spots or fingerprints can remain or they will be fused in permanently.
  • Let dry completely
  • Now it can go into the kiln (this took 2 days to get to this point).
  • One more day in the kiln to heat, melt and cool properly.
  • After the bottles have slumped flat with a handled neck, I can begin the finishing work with labels, etc.

 2013 Update – Food Safe Labels are sealed with a new clear coat. Guaranteed food safe, non-toxic and waterproof. Cheers!

Click here for my Glass Care and Use guide.
Keepin’ it Green, 
Michelle