Process & Techniques

Cowbody and horse


stevie wonder


bill cutting glass


Many different glass techniques are used at the Shagbark studio to achieve the final desired artistic result. All the designs are original and drawn by hand, sometimes with the aid of a computer. Some of the glass techniques are centuries old, however, many times Bill will add a new twist. Bill keeps up on the latest techniques by attending workshops and seminars, such as the latest craze of glass fusing.

Selective Cutting

Patterns of a particular design are traced on the glass. The process is very tedious and requires a large stock of glass to be able to select the right colors and textures needed to achieve the right aesthetic for the calling. Most glasses are categorized as opalescent (opaque) or cathedral (transparent).

1 : Cowboy and Horse detail: Bill selected many different colors of opalescent glass which are manufactured by many glass sheet makers, primarily from the
United States.

2 : Stevie Wonder: Bill's image of Stevie was produced by cutting many different colors of mostly antique glass, which is a type of cathedral glass.

3 : Bill using a handheld glass cutter.

goose in a pond


lead came


lead came


Copper-foil fabrication

Copper foil is a copper tape that is wrapped around each piece of glass. The glass is then soldered with lead on all the copper tape lines. This technique was developed by Louis Tiffany and John LaFarge in the late 1800's.

4 : The technique is great for very intricate designs, such as the nature scene with the goose.

Lead-came fabrication

Lead came is the oldest technique still used today for composing different pieces of glass. Strips of lead are manufactured into an "H" shape, forming a channel in which the glass fits. The lead pieces are fitted and cut to each piece of glass. The lead is then soldered at the joints where they touch each other.

5 : Most traditional leaded glass windows are fabricated with lead came.

6 : Carved lead came: At Shagbark Art Glass many organic designs are fabricated with wide strips of lead that are carved, which creates undulating lines reminiscent of a painter's brushstroke.

Beveled Glass

Clear plate glass is ground on the perimeter with four stages of grinding and polishing wheels. The process is very time consuming. There are many manufactured "stock" bevels which Shagbark uses to help keep cost down, yet still design original compositions with make your beveled window a unique one.


kiln-formed rose


3d flag


asian lady


bill in kiln


Fusing and Kiln Forming glass

Fusing is the process by which pieces of cut glass, glass strings, powders, and chunks are melted together in a kiln fired to around 1500 degrees F. The glass can also be shaped into 3-dimensional pieces by using molds, gravity with heat, and by literally reaching in the kiln and grabbing the glass.

11 : Kiln-formed rose: Each piece is slumped in the kiln by Bill, and is then fabricated with wires and epoxy. The wrapping is iridescent glass shaped in a mold and by Bill reaching in the kiln and bunching it up.

12: Fused glass American flag: Bill created a wooden template like a window sill, which is where the fused glass will finally rest in the completed window.

13 : Fused Glass Asian Lady: This is a detail of a window for a bathroom in a home in Oskaloosa, IA. Each color you see was actually pieces of glass Bill cut and layered on top of one another. Glass powders were used to shade specific areas. The fusing and layering creates depth and texture that is unmatched by any other technique.

14 : Bill reaching in the kiln. With protective suit and gloves, Bill is able to manipulate the glass or just allow heat to escape at the critical time to stop the fusing process

Traditional glass painting

Glass painting has been done for many centuries, as seen in the cathedrals of Europe. The glass is painted wet with many different types of brushes. Each piece may be fired as many as a dozen times at around 1200 degrees. The result leads to more literal detail without as many harsh lead lines dividing color.

15 : Pink Floyd, a David Gilmour portrait. Pieces of glass lying on the light table and await fabrication with lead to be turned into a stained glass window.

16 : St. Catherine detail. Bill created this stained glass window for the chapel at Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, IL

15 pink floyd 16  st catherine