Crafting art to bring a smile

Linda Freeman with GeraldBy Shawnna Robinson
Reprinted with permission of Farmington Press

His name is Gerald and his smile is contagious.

The large brown eyes look out over the living room at Scott and Linda Freeman’s home in Farmington.

If Linda Freeman’s wish comes true, Gerald won’t be around for much longer.

Gerald is a giraffe. Not a real giraffe,  of course.

Instead, he is a stained glass version  that brings a smile to the face of  whoever looks his way.

Freeman created the piece, titled  “Good morning, Gerald,” for a very  special purpose.

But, more on the giraffe later….

All in the details

Stained glass is an art Freeman took up around 2006.

She admits working with her hands is one of her favorite things to do— be it restoring the wood floors of her home or creating a delicate oil painting.

In fact, Freeman was an aircraft mechanic at one time.

Her aunt once asked Freeman how she learned how to master so many crafts.

“I learn a lot from reading. I get how-to books. I’m addicted to do-it-yourself channels,” Freeman shared.

Shortly after starting stained glass art, Freeman ordered books from the Stained Glass Association of America.

One technique she picked up from her readings is a technique called “plating”—placing layers of glass to create certain effects.

It’s a common technique used by the famous Tiffany company in its pieces.

Shadowing in Gerald’s neck is made by this technique. In this instance, a piece of gray glass is placed behind the brown tones.

Freeman created a piece for the Flower and Art show in 2012—a beautiful peacock window in shades of blue and green.

The peacock appears to have feathers because of Freeman’s use of a textured clear glass—one
that is no longer available and, in Freeman’s eyes, makes the piece a true original.

She typically tries to use only one or two other pieces of glass because layering makes the pieces incredible heavy.

“And expensive,” she said.

Freeman has another piece titled, “Golgatha” that uses a three dimensional effect.

The crosses on the back were created when Freeman figured out a way to bend zinc, cover it with copper and solder to the back of the piece.

The additional part of the artwork serves a two-fold function. It creates a three dimensional artistic effect and acts as additional support for the glass.

She soldered the background pieces together, cutting around the center using the angel as a pattern.

“It makes (the center piece)fit tighter that way,” Freeman explained.

Creating details such as these might appear to be the hardest part.

But, Freeman explains the most difficult aspect happens before the first cut on the glass is made.

While many may use the same pattern, the glass is never the same. Many are similar to fabrics and dye lots—meaning the glass will never look the same.

“What sets them apart is how you render them, what glass you pick. That is the hardest part,” Freeman said.

The couple have set up an area for Freeman to work in their basement. The large light table allows Freeman to trace the pattern directly onto the glass.

Once the pattern is traced, Freeman uses tools to cut the glass.

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