Jed’s comment made me go…

Jed's comment made me go look up Gothic arches -- it turns out there are many different styles. The stained glass piece I'm working on has a trio of what are called lancet arches (very narrow, steeply pointed, and mine has a slightly wider, taller center arch). They read very early-medieval to my eyes -- King Arthur-ish.

What we'd used for doors would either be those, or perhaps equilateral or depressed arches -- less dramatic forms.

But now that I've looked it all up, I'm tempted to try making a stained glass piece featuring the flamboyant arch, pictured below. The style is marked by S-curves in the tracery causing each light to take on a flamelike or "flamboyant" shape. So beautiful! And kind of sexy, no?

I think it's more generally known as an ogee arch: "The ogee shape is one of the characteristics of the Gothic style of architecture, especially decorative elements in the 14th and 15th century late Gothic styles called Flamboyant in France and Decorated in England. Ogee windows and arches were introduced to European cities from the Middle East."

It would be very hard to cut the glass, though. And the leading would also be very finicky work. I think I should practice with simpler shapes for a good long while before I attempt one of these.

6 thoughts on “Jed’s comment made me go…”

  1. I have the feeling that cutting glass for something like this would require both a glass cutter and a diamond grinder for the curves. But the (few) people I have seen make stained glass pieces used only glass cutters. Are diamond grinders not considered proper?

  2. I like that flamboyant arch—nice.

    And wow, that rose window is spectacular. I don’t think I’ve seen one before with stone mullions. Although it looks like those are fairly common on rose windows, so maybe I just never noticed the stone before.

  3. What I find amazing is they made all those shapes with simple compasses and straightedges. Classic Gothic arches are actually pretty easy to construct that way. I’m not so sure about the flattened-top ones like that bookcase you showed. I love playing around with simple drafting tools to find out the wild medieval shapes you can get.

    I’ve never seen a Renaissance fair that looked as classy as this stuff. I think it would be more like living in Ida Noyes Hall (and don’t think I haven’t dreamed about that …)

  4. David Bellamy

    Hmmm. Lazy I can understand. But as to wasteful, it seems to me that being able to get a curve right the first time is less wasteful by far than having a complicated curve and breaking and destroying a dozen or so pieces of glass before you get it to break just the way you need it.

  5. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    David, I’m still a beginner — I have to grind almost every piece I cut because my cuts are so bad. Sigh.

    But I think what my teacher would say that the correct thing to do is practice until you learn the technique to get a curve right the first time you cut it. Yes, you’ll waste a little glass with your mistakes while you’re learning, but you’ll quickly learn to do it right — and from that point forward, you’ll waste a lot less glass.

    (Even on my second window, I’m finding curves much easier to cut than they were. Also, it helps a lot to ‘hollow out’ the curve — do a less extreme curve first, then curve inward on successive cuts, till you get the deep inner curve you’re aiming for.)

    Not to mention not wasting time, which I think is a much bigger factor than a bit of glass — she’s SO fast at cutting, whether the lines are straight or curved, and it’s from the regular practice.

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