Stained Glass

Rockford’s Eric Brown enters “Pandora” in ArtPrize

July 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL  The last vacation Rockford resident and stained glass artisan Eric Brown, owner of the Squire Street business by the same name, took was in 2000. Brown along with his wife, Pat, were visiting Alaska to fulfill a lifelong dream of discovering our 50th state first-hand. “While there I was struck by small trees growing and living in the hostile and rocky environment with their roots clinging tenaciously to the barren rock surfaces,” said Brown adding, “I had the thought that one day, if I could find the perfect rock, I would create a stained glass lamp, depicting a dwarf wind-swept bonsai like tree, using the rock as a base.” That day arrived in early 2010 when Eric came into the possession of an ideal rock, a beautiful 41 lb. piece of green fluorite quartz. In a labor of love requiring 216 hours (27 days in total) Eric created a one-of-a-kind stained glass table lamp that he calls, “Pandora”. Eric is a master of many artistic talents, all of which were required to bring “Pandora” to life. Beginning first with the base, it was necessary to drill a 7/16-inch hole through the center of the 1ft. x 1ft. rock, to accommodate a threaded rod to electrically wire the lamp. The boring of the quartz rock was no easy task as it contained many faults that could easily rupture. Eric had to adapt a diamond core bit by adding a long enough stainless steel shaft to drill completely through the rock. Exhibiting the skill of a diamond cutter he accomplished, what was to be, the first of many steps. Using graduated diameters of PVC pipe, Eric then formed the core of the tree’s trunk. He demonstrated his metal crafting skills by painstakingly winding hundreds of feet of copper wire, beginning with roots clinging to the rock and working upwards around the core to the very branches at the top. It was then necessary to add many pounds of molten solder to the wire creating a spiraled and gnarled tree-like surface. Brown then wired the lamp, adding lamp sockets to the tip of each of the five branches. It didn’t get any easier as Eric had to then move on to the creation […]

Move over Tiffany, there’s a new kid on the block

April 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Rockford resident, Lyle English, has come a long way from the day almost five years ago when first he strolled into the Eric Brown Stained Glass Studio on Squire Street.  Lyle had peered through the windows many times and marveled at the beautiful stained glass creations on display inside and he wanted a closer look. In subsequent days Lyle returned to the store many times and was befriended by the store’s owner, stained glass artisan, Eric Brown.  Brown offered Lyle a job helping out around the shop and the rest, as they say, is history. Lyle began to sit in on the stained glass classes that were offered weeknights throughout the year.  He began to think that maybe he too, could acquire the skills necessary to create stained glass pieces. Prodded by Brown, Lyle began to take classes.  Lyle (now 51) says, “I was all thumbs at first but with Eric’s help and encouragement I stuck with it and got better.” Starting with simple sun-catchers, Lyle’s skills steadily increased to the point where he has just completed a large Tiffany-style stained glass lamp shade replicating the original Tiffany “Trumpet Vine” pattern. Composed of 985 pieces of cut glass and requiring nine and a half pounds of solder to piece together, Lyle tells us, “It was by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”  The lampshade required 222 hours (five plus work weeks) to complete and sits atop a Tiffany replica (leaf and arc) table lamp base. The shade is beautiful to behold, with its richly colored blossoms and the detailed texture of the vine’s trunk as it winds around the piece. The shade and base combined weight is a whopping 55 pounds. Lyle has become a popular character around the shop, both to customers and class students. He continually cracks people up by fracturing the English language with malapropisms in the style of Yankee legend, Yogi Berra. Keeping up a constant patter that humors all around him, Lyle creates stained glass pieces to be placed on sale at the store or freely given away to friends and family.  Most recipients have no idea of the love he puts into each piece and its actual value were it […]