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Work Samples

Saint Christopher

Stained Glass Biggie Smalls Portrait
Stained glass interpretation of photographer Barron Claiborne's iconic portrait of Christopher Wallace (aka Biggie Smalls/Notorious B.I.G.). Each shape is hand-cut and diamond-bit ground, assembled using the copper foil method and 60/40 (lead/tin) solder. Special features include 3D glass jewels in the crown and cut glass nugget irises, and the piece contains almost 300 individual pieces of glass (some as small as 1/8" across). The image size is approx. 15x17", in Mahogany finish custom frame (overall dimensions approx. 18x21").

Syromkola Coat of Arms

This is my most recently commissioned and the second most detailed stained glass piece that I have made since resuming the craft, which was created for a friend who recently learned that her ancestors had fought under the Syrokomla family's battle flag, as a gift to her parents.

Indu Wellness

Company logo representing the moon and fresh water contrasting with the dryness and decay of Autumn
Hanging stained glass panel (24x45") commissioned by Indu Wellness and Massage in Baltimore MD. The client requested the incorporation of an existing logo and continuous background pattern, which I re-designed to work within the confines of the medium. The word indu means "sparkling drop", and references the Moon, which I represented by using moon-like white glass for the text and water-like blue shades for the surrounding droplets, to contrast the leaf pattern which incorporates colors traditionally associated with autumn.

This is The Way

The Mandalorian and Boba Fett with Mythosaur Skull in background
Stained glass panel (10x16" oval) representation of the Mandalorian and Boba Fett with Mythosaur skull (an ancient symbol of Mandalore), featuring irridescent and mirror coated specialty glass. *Currently available for sale (local pickup in Baltimore only) **Possibly interesting note: I designed this before the two characters actually met on the show, after it was teased by the brief appearance of Temuera Morrison in an earlier episode.

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About Zachary

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District

Zachary Morehouse's picture
Zach has worked in a lot of mediums over the years. His parents are both artists that met at MICA in the late 60's, and made their livings as graphic designers until their retirements. Zach has studied drawing, painting, and design at MICA and Towson State, and then apprenticed with and worked for world-renowned glass artist Saul Farber, doing wholesale and retail stained glass production for most of the 90's. After his mentor's sudden death and the closing of Farberglass in 1998, he started doing... more

Indu Wellness

   The first stained glass panel I was commissioned to create in almost 20 years is also the largest piece I’ve made since returning to the craft. When I told my massage therapist that I was seriously considering a career change, I had forgotten that she already owned a small piece I had made many years ago. When she reminded me of this, and then asked if I would like to make a window to help attract attention to her new business location, I was both surprised and very grateful, and couldn’t help but feel that it was a sign that this was the path the universe was encouraging me to take.

   After first discussing how it should be presented, we decided on a hanging panel that would be centered in the largest of  the 3 windows to the room she worked in. This particular room not only needed more privacy from the foot traffic adjacent to the location, but also received the best afternoon light and would be most visible from the street when illuminated from within at night. We also made the decision to make it a hanging panel so that it would cause the least amount of damage to the rented property, and could more easily be moved if she ever needed to change locations. The size of the piece was also a concern, because to fill the entire window would be more expensive and require a larger work surface than I had available, and be that much more difficult to transport to and install at the location. We then agreed that a 24x45” panel would both satisfy the requirements of working as a privacy screen and advertising tool, as well as fit nicely on the 30x48” glass tabletop I would be working on. After we worked all of this out and agreed on a price, I was given a deposit to purchase the necessary tools and supplies I would need to begin creating the panel.

   The next step was designing the piece, and I began with the existing logo she had already commissioned a graphic designer to produce, and was also already having painted on an exterior wall of the business. The logo itself is a mandala made of 12 water drops and the word “indu”, which means “sparkling drop” and also references the moon, so I began envisioning a design that would include both themes as the central focal point. I was also asked to incorporate the repeating leaf pattern from the background of her business cards/promotional materials as the pattern for the background/sides of the panel, which I first modified to work as a repeating pattern with the overall consistent line thickness necessary for translating into stained glass.

  • Original Logo

    This is the original logo and background design used as the reference for the window pattern. The word "wellness" was eliminated because of the complexity (and therefore cost) it would add to the design.
  • Creating the mandala

    To create the mandala portion of the design, I first searched for a simple drop shape online. I selected one with a slightly greater curve to it than was used in the original logo, to give more of a sense of motion within the piece. I then duplicated the shape 11 times, while rotating it 30° each time and repositioning it to properly overlap and meet at the center.
  • Repeating leaf pattern

    To re-design the repeating leaf pattern as one interlocking shape, I first made a perfect circle to trace the outward curves on. Then I repeated the circle 4 times to be equidistant from the central one, with their edges touching in alignment with the center of the middle circle to trace the inward curvatures and points on. After that, I drew the additional lines on the left side of the central circle, and then copied and reversed them to make the shape bilaterally uniform.
  • Digital template

    I then copied the original text and slightly altered the dot of the "i" in indu to match the repeating droplet shape, centering it within the mandala and choosing all of the appropriate cut points. After repeating the leaf pattern on either side and creating the initial the template/rendering, I sent it to the client for approval of the basic design.
  • The glass

    I then selected a variety of glasses to represent the water element, a spotted white for the text to represent the moon’s surface, and a textured clear that would serve as both the background to the mandala and be able to be perceived as either water or the lunar surface depending on the viewer’s interpretation of the image.
  • Digital rendering

    When rendering the colors, I used photos of the glass in the text and outer circle to help visualize how they would work together. After approval of the background colors (which I chose to represent fall/decay in contrast to the central colors/theme of refreshment), I purchased the remaining earth-toned glasses and started the physical process.
  • Template shapes

    Here we see the guide I printed to keep track of all the pieces, and some of the contact paper template shapes and the glass they will be adhered to throughout the cutting and grinding steps of the process.
  • Center circle

    1st of 3 panel sections
    I fabricated the central circle of the panel first, to allow for easier handling and rotation of the sections on my work surface before their final assembly. The outside edge of the circle has been reinforced with copper re-strip, which adds the stability and rigidity necessary for larger pieces assembled using the copper foil method (as opposed to lead came).
  • Final assembly

    After assembling the 3 sections together, I used a heavy gauge nickel-plated copper wire to create double loops for hanging, which runs completely around the entire piece to help support its weight and increase overall stability. Then I framed the piece with 1/8” zinc channel, which I soldered to the front and back of the piece along all of the points where the shapes meet at the edge of the panel.
  • Installation

    After carefully measuring for and installing heavy duty tempered steel hooks in the window masonry, I carefully hung the panel and then photographed it, and after a brief period of rest began designing my next project.

Saint Christopher (Biggie Smalls/Notorious B.I.G. Portrait)

The Process:

Below are "behind the scenes" images (click photos for detailed descriptions) of the design and execution processes I used to create a hyper-detailed stained glass portrait of Christopher Wallace (a.k.a. Biggie Smalls/Notorious B.I.G.) from the iconic Photobooth series by photographer and filmmaker Barron Claiborne.

   While most of the physical steps are traditional methods that have been employed by other stained glass artists and craftspeople for many years, I have developed some of my own techniques for designing the templates that I create digitally, which allows me to much more quickly and faithfully reproduce the images and photographs my portraits are based on (as well as design from scratch), as opposed to  old school methods with pencil and paper. I am sharing these techniques not only to show the amount of time and effort it takes to create this type of art, but also to share with other artists/crafters how to do what I am currently doing if they desire to do so (although when I showed a photo of this panel to one of my glass suppliers and I told him how many pieces were in it after he had asked me it’s size, he just smiled and said “You’re insane!”).

   When I originally learned the craft from my mentor Saul Farber in the mid to late 1990’s, the designs began as sketches or drawings or photos of the image, which were then transposed by tracing onto or carefully drawing them on graph paper, to the same proportions as the final piece using the grid of the graph paper to then create a larger grid on the physical paper template used to cut the glass. For example, if the final size of the piece was going to be 24x48”, it could be drawn at 1/4 scale on top of a 6x12” block of 1/4” squares, making it much easier to exactly render by hand the final template.

   After Saul’s untimely and sudden death in 1998, his family (none of whom were local) liquidated and closed his business, and despite having apprenticed under  and worked for him for 5 years and learning almost all I could about stained glass fabrication, I had not yet learned the underlying business knowledge necessary to take over his position as owner and keep Farberglass running, as was our original long-term plan. (If you would like to know more about my mentor Saul Farber, here is a nice article about him ). Needing immediate employment I then spent the next few years doing whatever work I could find and eventually became a full-time custom picture framer, while still continuing to create and sell my own stained glass work. I eventually stopped making it though because by the end of a day doing production framing work my hands were not able to handle the rigors of stained glass production as well. Needing another outlet for my creativity, I began to experiment with and study digital photography and video production, all of which I eventually phased into doing full-time as a freelancer after leaving the custom framing industry.

   Fast forwarding to last year when the pandemic hit and I was forced to close the photography studio rental business that I had co-owned for the last 3 years, as well as having to put my other endeavors on indefinite hold, I made the decision to start doing stained glass again, which I had been considering for some time but had not yet had the time and energy to re-invest in. Since I now needed to find a way to support myself that didn’t involve interacting with anyone else in person for any extended periods of time, I saw it as an opportunity to restart a previous career that had also been cut short by circumstances beyond my control.

   If you have it made it this far through these last several paragraphs of long-winded run-on sentences, the reason for my typing them has been not only to give you a clearer understanding of how I arrived at this point in my very storied artistic career, but how I am now applying the knowledge and perspective learned from these life experiences and working in other mediums to elevate and innovate the craft, and be able to manifest things that I never would have been able to accomplish without having had said experiences.

  • Design Step 1

    The image is cropped to the same proportions as the frame I will use, then traced with the pen tool at color/contrast points to create a line drawing template which is then printed out to be traced onto contact paper in the 3rd step. (Original photo ©Barron Claiborne)
  • Design Step 2

    The shapes are colored in to represent the colored glass, actual colors will vary greatly. The colored shapes are then numbered to create a color key, which is also printed out and used to keep track of all the pieces.
  • Making and cutting the template

    The full sized paper template is traced onto contact paper with marker and numbered to match the key, and then the shapes are cut out and affixed to the glass in the most appropriate spots, where patterns in the glass act as brushstrokes.
  • Glass Opacity

    When selecting the glass opacity is also a contributing factor, the piece on the left appears brighter than the piece on the right when the light is only reflecting on it, but is actually much darker in terms of opacity when light passes through it.
  • Cutting the glass

    The glass is not technically cut, but scored across the surface with firm even pressure and then broken along those score lines. Cuts must be from edge to edge, and curves cannot generally be tighter than 90°. Density and hardness greatly varies.
  • Grozing and grinding

    Using grozing pliers, after scoring along all of the edges of the contact paper, the excess glass is broken off of the pieces being used. Then the edges are further shaped and finally smoothed with a water-cooled rotating diamond coated vertical bit.
  • Copper foiling

    A thin strip of foil that comes in varying widths (to accommodate varying thicknesses) and colored backings is applied to the entire edge of the glass, evenly overlapping both sides of the glass. Silver backed foil is used on clear pieces to match the solder.
  • Assembly Pt. 1

    Some of the pieces are smaller than a pinky nail, or so small they are cubical, but they are all equally important pieces of the puzzle. Here you see how the pieces have been laid out before foiling so they don’t get lost or moved around as I work.
  • Assembly Pt. 2

    Flux (muriotic acid) is applied first to the copper where the glass edges meet, which then allows the solder to adhere to it when heated at high temperature and applied in a smooth even bead on both sides. I then polish the solder with wax to a high gloss.
  • Framing and Finished!

    Then after polishing the panel is placed in the frame, I shoot in a few framer’s points to secure it and voila! Saint Christopher is complete, easy peasy lemon squeezy, and here I am proudly holding it in front of a very bright light.

Sheba

This was my first pet portrait done from a photograph, commissioned by a friend for his parent’s dog Sheba. I had previously only done one pet portrait before in the late 90’s, based on a painting my mother had done of her cat Magic in the 1970’s.

The first challenge with this piece was figuring out how to properly represent the image on a smaller and simpler scale (8x10”) than the larger and much more complex Saint Christopher portrait that I had just completed, and still be able to capture the essence of the subject.

While executing this particular piece I often found myself chuckling because the subject was so adorable, as well as the fact that only a few months prior I had been an erotic photographer. I never would have thought I would soon be making a stained glass portrait of a cute little fluffy dog for someone’s parents, or that I would find a small niche in the art world making pet portraits.

  • Reference Photo

    The reference photo I was sent wasn’t the highest resolution to begin with, so first I had to make a few adjustments in Photoshop to upscale it and bring out some of the contrast.
  • Cut Lines

    The photo is then cropped using the Rule of Thirds so that the eyes fall roughly 1/3 from the top and outside edges of the frame. To do this within the proportions of 8x10”, I had to extrapolate some of the background image and a sliver of the dog’s right side while tracing the contrast points.
  • Template

    The line drawing template that I create is a little more jagged looking than the contact paper one I trace from it because of how I trace the image in Photoshop, but these lines are then smoothed out when tracing them in marker by hand onto the contact paper.
  • Rendering

    Since the dog itself was monochrome and the only bright colors were going to be in the pink collar and blue tag, I decided to brighten some of the background elements to give the shapes a more abstract feel, and add more emotion to the image.
  • Color Key

    The colored shapes are then numbered to keep track of everything...
  • Assembly

    Here you see how I use the first printed paper template as a guide to properly space all the pieces for assembly, after inserting it between the glass table top and the much thicker (1”) glass slab on top of it that I use as a work surface.
  • Light Table

    Most artists use a wooden table for using pins or nails to hold everything in place, but after having assembled various 3D pieces in previous years I prefer to know that my work surface is absolutely flat, as well as the added bonus of being able use it as a makeshift light table as I go along.
  • Completed piece

    Here we see the finished piece as it is meant to be displayed, with natural light coming through and bringing out all of the subtle variations and patterns in the glass, which is what makes the medium so magical to me in the first place!

Water Lillies

  This project was commissioned by a photographer friend, and is my first plant portrait. I cannot type that with a straight face, but it is indeed a portrait of some very specific plants, which were first seeded by my friend’s father.

   The lillies have since grown, and have attracted a lot of attention in the smaller township where they grow, to the point where their location is frequently used as a backdrop for wedding and engagement pictures, and photos of them are not only currently used in the local paper’s lifestyle section, they are also prominently featured in the front page masthead.

   I was first sent photos of the masthead images as a reference and asked to recreate the two top lillies, but I really wanted to get them exactly right, so I requested that my friend do his best to get a high-resolution copy of the original photograph to work from, which he thankfully was able to do.

  • Mastheads

    The original reference photo was too small (and slightly distorted by angle) to use, so a higher resolution copy of the original was requested…
  • Original Photo

    Now equipped with the highest possible quality reference image, I was ready to crop it to the proper dimensions.
  • Cropped Photo

    After cropping, the image was sized to 11x15” at 300dpi, to accommodate the 10x14” oval I had based my quote on, which was drawn in the next step. I was also asked to replace the reflections of the flowers with more pads to balance the image.
  • Cut line tracing

    After drawing the oval I traced all of the petal outlines, but then had to decide how to break up the shapes around them that bordered all of the petal's points. I solved this problem by making the cut lines on the lilies describe their contours and the water line.
  • Digital template

    After creating the template, I also noted where the hanging loops should be placed. This placement is crucial for hanging panels framed in zinc, they must be placed on or near solder joints, or otherwise reinforced to prevent possible damage from gravity over time.
  • Digital Rendering

    The outline is then colored in for the rendering…
  • Color Key

    And numbered to create the color key.
  • The finished piece

    After the manual labor is all done (see above projects for more details on the assembly process), the piece is photographed and ready to wrap!

Birds of a Feather

This was a deeply personal project to me and my father Scot, who has given me permission to share it.

   When I was scrolling through his Facebook pictures trying to come up with an idea of something special to make for him, I came across the illustration in the the first photo which was done in 1992 by his life partner Jim, who passed away in 2016, which I also just learned today was based on my grandmother's (who passed last year) back yard at the time.

   Jim wasn't a trained artist like my father is, but his drawings were always highly appreciated by Scot, and now by myself much more so than when I was a teenager and had ignorantly dismissed them as being too child-like to be of any value.

   So just imagine my surprise when I realized that Jim had designed a small stained glass piece as the focal point of one of his amazing drawings a year or so before I started my original apprenticeship, and that I could make it a reality almost 30 years later.

  • Winter Wonders

    Jim’s original drawing on plain paper, loosely based on the view from my grandmother’s back window. Jim was unable to own any pets due to his severe asthma but he loved animals, especially the smaller creatures, and often included them in his work.
  • Signature

    Title and signature from reverse side.
  • Detail

    Close up detail of glass panel illustration. As far as my father I know, this was drawn solely from Jim’s imagination and was not based on any existing work.
  • Cut line tracing

    It was a bit of a challenge to translate the image into an actual stained glass design not only due to the limitations of the medium, because faithfully reproducing it required a large number of smaller pieces to keep the flower outlines intact.
  • Digital template

    The armature is then separated from the image and then printed out at actual size (10” circle) to then be traced onto the contact paper template. It is also used when laying out the pieces to be foiled, after the cutting and grinding processes have taken place.
  • Digital Rendering

    After deciding on the shapes, I fill them in with flat colors to help visualize the finished piece before selecting the glass I would use. Changes are also made along the way when making the physical template and cutting the glass to eliminate unnecessary cuts.
  • Color Key

    The rendering is then numbered within color groups, and the contact paper template is numbered to match it. I use both the key and the original image when selecting the glass to use, and happened to have saved some antique greens from over 20 years ago that would be perfect.
  • Keeping Track

    These are the pieces of glass in between the cutting and grinding phases, the contact paper remains affixed until the pieces are cleaned and foil is applied to the edges. (See previous project for more details about copper foiling.)
  • Completed piece

    This is the finished piece, I selected a clear grey glass for the birds to allow more light through them, as I believed they represented Scot and Jim as a couple when he was creating the original illustration.
  • Finally Home

    After being lost in the mail for almost a month, it arrived in Schenectady on January 8th and now overlooks the back yard of the house they shared for many years, where I hope it brings my father at least some small comfort after enduring so much recent loss.

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