Dream Window #14: Five Seconds Before Slumber…

The creative process has really turned me upside down.  When I originally started this Dream Window – what, two and a half years ago – I had a concept for it.  And then I tossed the concept away and started over.

It’s late 2012, and I acquired this little “Mission” style window, measuring 26″ x 21½” in size, from a Hartford, Conn. salvage yard, and immediately thought of all the possible concepts for this piece.   There were several ideas in my head; I just needed the best one to step forward and say, in the loudest Arnold Horshack voice, “OOH! OOH OOOH OOH!!”

Now you may notice something about this window.  Yep.  It’s the triangles in the center.  Eight right triangles.  Remember that formula of a² + b² = c²; the old Pythagorean Theorem?

That’s for a RIGHT triangle, not an isosceles triangle, strawboy!!  Geez, no wonder you were stuck in a cornfield all those years until Judy Garland came along…

Well, those eight right triangles for this project are 7½” x 5½” x 9½” – Chuck, take notes, there will be a test tomorrow.

After I took out the original glass panes and sanded down every crevice in the window frame, I wired up the back and hung the cleaned frame on the wall.  Okay.  Looks nice.  All right, I’m done with the project.  So let me work on a K-Chuck Radio blog post for tomorrow…

What, you thought I actually was finished?

Silly you.

At the time, I thought about using some stained glass for the eight center triangular panes, and then a combination of stained glass and photos for the perimeter panes.

I wanted this stained glass to stand out, so rather than just buy eight panes of glass from Hobby Lobby, I ordered eight small panes of Spectrum “Spirit” glass from a stained glass supplier in Buffalo.  Normally this type of glass would be heated and shaped in a kiln; however, this type of glass can also be used as stained glass panels without kilnwork.  I just have to trim each piece to the proper dimensions, and all will be well.

I first measured each piece of glass.  The pieces I received were all 8″ x 12″ in dimension, and with proper and judicious cutting, I could make two triangles out of each one of these original sheets, should I mess anything up with my first cuts.

First piece.  Scored.  Cut.  Perfect.

Second piece.  Scored.  Cut.  Almost perfect, but nobody will notice the little chip in the triangle corner.

Third piece.  Scored.  Cut.  Perfect.  I’m getting the hang of this.  Patience, Chuck. Follow all the steps. Wax on, wax off.

And after eight cuts, I came up with eight pieces for the Dream Window.

Not bad, eh?  In order to cut these pieces of glass, I had to make sure the glass cutter – with its carbide wheel blade – was properly lubricated with a drop of 3-in-1 Oil before every cut.  And once I scored the glass, I carefully applied running pliers along the score cut, and surprisingly I had a successful break every time.

I then arranged the eight panes and coordinated them so that the colors and lines complimented each other.  Photo taken to make sure all matches up.

Next, I dry-fitted each piece of glass into the frame, added some glaziers’ points and some window putty, and doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo I’m halfway done with this Dream Window.

But halfway done is not completely done.  I still have twelve mini-window panels around the window’s perimeter.  And that’s where I was going to put photos of animals.  Yep, this piece would be a photo involving pets and that special bond between human and animal.  I took photos wherever I could find them, several of my friends offered to let me photograph their dogs and cats, and halfway through the project…

I stopped working on it.  I stopped.  I hung the incomplete Dream Window on the wall in my apartment.  And I worked on at least a half dozen other Dream Windows.

I promised myself that I would return to this project… but I didn’t.

And eventually I figured out WHY I didn’t go back to this project.

Whatever muse that inspired me to start on this Dream Window… contacted me again and said, “Chuck… I have a better idea for you.  Start over.”

I took the panes out of the window frame.  If nothing else, I’ll just recycle them into some sort of stained glass mosaic collage, an erstwhile attempt to create a stained glass project with actual soldering and copper foil or lead came …

But here’s the new plan.

Dream Window 13 - Carissima and Kodachrome
Dream Window 13 – Carissima and Kodachrome. Image by Chuck Miller.

Remember this image?  It’s the Dream Window I created for the 2015 Hamilton College Alumni Art Show.  And after I figured out how to cut those swirly-slag pieces of art glass so that the ripples blend from one pane to the next… and by “figure it out” I mean do the cutting myself, so as to not incur additional costs or expenses in the project…

I proposed that I could create a swirly-slag equivalent with this mission window frame.  In fact, what if I took that swirly-slag concept… and made it the entire part of the Dream Window?  Hmm…

I ordered some glass from that Buffalo stained glass supply store, and last Monday a box of eight panes of swirled glass arrived at my doorstep.  Green glass.  Blue glass.  Rose glass.  Black glass.  And a small box of samples of stained glass for future projects – although it would have been nice if the stained glass store actually identified the samples with some sort of bar code or product code.  You know, in case I might say, “Hmm, these pieces would look fabulous for my future projects.”  It’s okay.  I’ll live.

After carefully cutting and breaking the new glass pieces – and nicking my fingers a few times in the process – I was able to squeeze each pane into the window’s twenty tiny triangular and rectangular and square openings.

I re-glazed the panels.  Clear silicone for the backing.

And the artwork now needs a new name.

Do we really know that moment when we drift from consciousness to sleep?  Now the cool thing about this window will be, if I do this correctly, it will replicate that exact moment when the world spins into a new dimension, and consciousness becomes dream theater.  It’s that instant of rapid-eye-movement, R.E.M. sleep.  Those five seconds before slumber.

And thus came the new name.

You’ve heard of the pop group “Five Seconds of Summer”?

Well, meet “Five Seconds Before Slumber.”  It’s Dream Window 14.

Dream Window 14: Five Seconds Before Slumber.  Creation by Chuck Miller.
Dream Window 14: Five Seconds Before Slumber. Creation by Chuck Miller.

Here it is.  My first Dream Window that does NOT have any of my photography in it.  Never thought that would happen for these artworks.

But here it is.  And damn it looks nice.

There’s still some last-minute prep I must complete for this artwork; I only caulked up the triangular pieces, the square and rectangular panes are only held in by glazier’s points.  So again, I have to caulk those up.  And that hanging wire needs to move from the back to the top of the picture.  I don’t want the wire distracting anybody who sees the piece.

But I can do those things as a rainy-day project.  So where is this piece going?

I have some ideas… but for now, this piece is going on my living room wall.

Temporarily, of course.  My Dream Windows don’t stay in my custody for very long.

And that’s totally fine with me.