This skylight - designed, created, and installed within 4 months in 2004 - measures 13 feet across. It lights the foyer of a private residence. Bill Darwin II and his mother, JoAnne Darwin, used 166 square feet of glass, or 249 pounds. The panels contain 1304 pieces of glass, including 192 jewels imported from Germany. The glass pieces were foiled with 252 yards of copper foil, soldered with 27 pounds of solder, and the zinc frames were made from 84 six foot lengths, measuring 504 linear feet.
It took Bill, JoAnne, and Bill's wife Marsi over 6 hours to install.
Here is a look at the process:

After working with the client and agreeing on a final design for the skylight, Bill and I visited the home and took measurements for the templates to be used. Frosted glass had been installed to help insulate the home.

The framework for the skylight is housed within a lighted enclosure on the third floor of the home.

Bill used a light table in his tractor barn to enlarge the pattern to a life-size scale. From the paper pattern, he traced individual panels onto pattern plastic. Here he places some of the jewels used in the piece.

Bill climbed up into the rafters of the barn to view the pattern and direct any necessary adjustments.

From the rafters, the pattern looks small until Marsi poses in the middle.

Back in the studio, hundreds of pieces are cut, foiled, and soldered, panel by panel.

When all of the panels are complete, they are carefully packed and transported to the home.

JoAnne hands each piece to Bill while Marsi cleans the frosted ones.

Each piece is an exact fit.

It's hot work.

And the last piece is placed!

View from the second floor balcony

View from the first floor foyer

Bill takes a break on the foyer floor to admire his creation.

Back to Darwin's Studio Pages