Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Saturday, July 31, 2010


The Oz window is finished and in place. We managed to complete it in the time we had allotted for the project, which is always a good thing!

On the right, I'm foiling the pieces (wrapping with thin copper tape), in preparation for soldering. On the left, Irwin is finishing some soldering on the back of the window. Once the soldering is done, the window is cleaned and a patina is applied to the solder lines to darken them and create less distraction.

The window is now in place in a window seat on the finished attic/third floor of our house, waiting for trim molding to cover the outside edge. The window will primarily be seen at close range, due to the placement within the room. The photo on the right was taken at night with a flash, showing how the window looks when it isn't lit by sunlight.

I think the composition of this piece is interesting, as it places Glinda front and center as the most prominent Oz figure, rather than Ozma, the ruler of the land. I imagine the main reason for this is that the original painting was planned with Glinda as a portrait of Marie Lufkin, who commissioned the piece - but it's fun to think that this was John R. Neill's take on where the power in Oz really lies!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More Progress

At this point, the Oz window is all cut and fit, painting and firing are finished, and it's ready to start assembling. There's been quite a bit of overtime work in the past two weeks! Here you can see the window laying on a light table - the window is wider than the table, so the entire image isn't lit. The shadow running down the center of the window is a support bar in the table.

On the left, I'm placing the final pieces. Now the edge of each piece needs to be wrapped in thin copper foil, in order to be able to be soldered together into a finished panel. This step is going to be delayed for a couple days, as a window emergency has popped up that we need to deal with - yes, it does happen! Once we are past that, we'll be able to continue and finish the Oz window.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moving Along

The Oz stained glass window has progressed quite a long way at this point. Almost all of the pieces are cut, and the painting and firing are nearly finished.

On the left, you can see pieces of the Tin Woodman in a kiln ready for a firing. A tricky aspect of glass painting is the fact that many glasses will change color or transparency when fired - also, many of the paints can fade in depth of color during the time in the kiln. Consequently, it's always a bit of a leap of faith when painting and firing something!

The finished window will be about 34" x 45". Hopefully, I'll be ready to start assembling before very long!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Window Progress

The Oz window is starting to take shape. Here you can see the three figures of Glinda, Ozma and Dorothy coming together against the sky. Once the window is completed and dark lead lines are in place, the colors will be more vibrant. I've started painting faces and details on various pieces, but there's still quite a way to go!

Painting on glass is very much like china painting. The paints are actually powdered minerals which get mixed with water and gum arabic, and are fired onto the glass in a kiln. Each layer of color is fired separately, so a painted piece can have quite a few trips through the kiln before it is done. The faces seen here have had two firings, and will still have a couple more. In glass painting, you generally start with the detail work and then add layers of color - which is, in a general way, the opposite of regular painting.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Oz Window

At long last I've begun working on the Oz stained glass window I've talked about and been planning to do for the past 5 years or so. My partner & I own a stained glass studio, but as this is a personal project it's been postponed a number of times. It's finally underway, and I'll track the progress here over the next couple weeks.

This piece is based on the Oz Parade mural John R. Neill painted for Marie Lufkin. I've mentioned this before in an earlier posting (here). The original painting may or may not still exist, but there are a number of watercolor sketches for the piece, like the one on the left.

At the top of this entry, you can see the cartoon for the window - the basic pattern for cutting the glass. I've given it a general coloring, so I can keep track of what is what, but the final details are not seen in this pattern. There will be a number of painted pieces for faces, hands and other areas in the finished window. I'm also taking some liberties with color selections for a brighter finished piece, but the idea is to keep it as Neill-like as possible!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Maid of the Frontier

Happy 4th of July!

Once again I've found a Rand McNally book with a W. W. Denslow cover design. This time it's A Maid of the Frontier, written by Henry Spofford Canfield and published in 1898.

I haven't found much information on Canfield, other than he was born in 1858 (2 years after L. Frank Baum) and seems to have specialized in western fiction. But I have to admit, I can't help thinking of Gentleman Prefer Blondes and the character Henry Spofford III - no connection, but it does jump to the mind!

At about 4.5" by 7", this is the smallest of these books that I've run across. It's a rough copy, but the cover clearly features the Alamo, as well as the lone star of Texas. I believe this may be a later printing of the book, as there is no Denslow seahorse signature on the cover and the top page edges are plain rather than gilt.

In other news, Hungry Tiger Press has redesigned their website and now has a new blog as well. As well as talking about publications currently available, more unusual and rare Oz and related items will be popping up to view. It's always fun to see things like this!