Thursday, January 12, 2023

Stained Glass Panels, Part 2

This is part 2 of a series about my designs for stained glass window panels.

Part 1: The eclipse panel

Part 2: The book data panel (this post)

Part 3: The hummingbird feathers panel

Part 4: The dichro panel


Some months after installing my first transom window panel, I started work on the second one. It was for a window near my office, so I decided to use data related to my books as the basis for the design. 

I first thought of simply plotting sales and/or royalties over time, because that would allow me to use Excel to generate a graph, and I could use the graph as my design. I plotted unit sales for 1991-2018 (top), royalties for the same period (middle), and both together (bottom), then slapped them into mockups with a waterglass background. This is what I got:

The colors in the graphs correspond to the colors of my books:

None of these designs excited me, and I was skeptical that it would be practical to build them.

My next idea was to have the width of the panel represent years between 1990 and 2020 and to stack two solid circles for each book on its year of publication. The area of one circle would correspond to the book's lifetime sales, the other to its lifetime royalties. That yielded this:

This did nothing for me. As I wrote to a friend, "It looks like a collection of washers in a 1960s color scheme."

Retaining the idea of the panel representing time horizontally, I added the idea of it representing lifetime sales vertically. That let me plot total sales against year of publication:

Sizing the points to reflect lifetime royalties, getting rid of the grid lines, and throwing in some candidate glass choices gave me this:
I played around with other shapes, too.
I liked circles best. I found the vaguely planetary look pleasing. In addition, Margo Crane, who made my first panel and whom I planned to use for this one, confirmed my suspicion that she lacked the expensive equipment needed to cut the glass for these kinds of "shapes floating in space" designs. 

I added grid lines to make the design buildable, tinkered with some details, and put in the glass choices that Margo and I agreed on. This was my final mockup:

The panel showed up about six weeks later:
That's what it looks like, but it's not the way it usually looks. A transom window is up high (above a door), and this particular window is typically viewed from a hallway, which provides a view from the side. The usual way to see this panel, then, is from below and to the side, like this:

I had taken that into account when developing the design. My decision to use clear waterglass as the background was based on the knowledge that the white structure behind the window when viewed from this angle would provide a blurred white background. That's what I wanted: colored circles against a white background. I think it works well. Unfortunately, I failed to take the view through the window into account when I designed my third panel, and, as you'll see in part 3 of this series, that was a mistake.

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