February 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Louis Comfort Tiffany

Born on this day in 1848, Tiffany was the son of Charles Tiffany, founder of the famous jewelry store. Louis Tiffany became an artist and designer who is most famous for his wonderful stained glass works – including Tiffany lamps.

In addition to the stained glass lamps and windows, Tiffany designed glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels, and metalwork.

He began his art training and career as a painter. Tiffany worked in several glasshouses before opening his own studio. He used to make his stained glass using cheap jelly jars and bottles, because they had the mineral impurities he needed. Finer glass had no impurities, and fine glassmakers would not agree to Tiffany's request to leave the impurities in—so Tiffany responded by making his own glass.

According to
Martin Eidelberg, Clara Driscoll and a team of talented women designers helped create some of the patterns on Tiffany lamps and other pieces.

Enjoy Tiffany's art
  • Check out the Morse Museum (Florida) website to see a few of Tiffany's pieces. (Only a tiny percentage is available online, but Morse Museum has the largest collection of Tiffany's work in the world.)
  • Tiffany's Wooded Landscape, from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is absolutely gorgeous. Be sure to press the play button to hear about the piece.
  • Another piece at this museum is a beautiful vase.
  • The Museum of Modern Art (NYC, NY) has several Tiffany works.
Crafts that look a bit like stained glass...

...using glue.

Cover a piece of cardboard with clear plastic wrap (tape onto back to hold). Then draw a picture using white glue, making sure that there are lots of lines creating different areas; carefully press black yarn onto the glue lines so that your picture is now formed by black yarn outlines. Allow to dry.

Put white glue into a small bowl and use several drops of food coloring to create the pastel color you want. Dab a thick coat of the colored glue into every outlined area you want to be that color. Create other colors using white glue and food coloring and continue to fill in outlined areas of your picture. Allow to dry thoroughly before peeling the “stained glass” off of the plastic-coated cardboard.

... using tissue paper
Here is a window project, and here is a vase project. If you learn better from videos, here is the vase project explained that way.

... using crayons

... using candy.

These cookies have melted candy in the center.

... using waxed paper.

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