28″ Magnolia Part 2 – Finishing the Shade

(Please reference our blog post from Sunday October 28 to view Part 1 of the creation of this shade)

Once all the pieces have been been wrapped in copper foil, the Fiberglas lamp form is coated with wax. To make our special tacky wax, we melt beeswax and add elements that keep the wax tacky to the touch. Each individual piece of glass is transferred and held in place by the wax so that we can begin the soldering process.

The exterior of the shade is then soldered together. The solder adheres to the copper foil that has been wrapped around the edge of each piece. The soldering iron heats to 800 degrees allowing the solder to flow and “bead”. Much time and attention is paid to getting the rounded bead of solder between all the pieces of glass even and smooth. If too little solder is used, the bead will appear flat and sunken. Too much solder results in a lumpy look to the leading. Hot solder flows downhill, so the angle of the shade is constantly being repositioned at many angles using our custom made shade holder.

¬†When the exterior of the shade has been completely soldered, heat is applied to melt the wax that is holding the shade onto the form. When hot, the form is removed from the shade. The interior of the shade is then completely soldered. For any shade larger than 20″ across, a network of reinforcing wires are permanently soldered in the interior. Large shades like this 28″ Magnolia will be extensively reinforced. The copper reinforcement wires are soldered in place following the lead lines so they are not visible when the shade is finished. Once the shade has been reinforced and the soldering finished, the shade is cleaned and prepared for patina. The leadlines on the completed shade are patinated to match the coloration on the base.

The overhead view shows how the background sky color lightens towards the top. The blue/purple tones at the top blend seamlessly down to a deep cobalt blue on the lower portion of the shade. The flowers for this large piece were selected from a wide variety of glasses including streaky, mottled, rippled, and the deep hand folded drapery glass. To create a natural look to the flowers, many of the ripple glasses were positioned with the ripple facing the interior of the shade, creating subtle ripples in the petals. The flower colors are a blend of white, off white, pale pink, and intense fuchsia. From start to finish, the 28″ Magnolia shade takes about 300 hours to create.

The 28″ Magnolia is shown on the impressive Sr. Floor base in our showroom before being packed for shipping. This impressive lamp was commissioned by clients in North Carolina and now resides in their home.


Written by Century Studios