Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I'm excited to announce that my bullseyes are being featured on Ahalife today!

AHAlife is an online discovery destination that brings you the most unique, luxurious and hard-to-find products from every corner of the world – spanning fashion, accessories, beauty, food, home decor, travel and tech. Each item is selected by their global network of influential tastemakers.

Check out the feature here.

From their description:

Catch the sun with one of these mouth-blown glass bullseyes. Perfect for hanging in a window or on the wall, they add a subtle wash of color wherever you choose to place them. Though all are round, with a flat back and slightly convex front, no two are exactly alike, with slight variations in color and pattern.

mouth-blown glass bullseyes or roundels by Szal Design

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Szal Design Commission one of Trinity College's Best Kept Secrets!

One of Szal Design's art glass pieces has been featured by Bantam blogger Kathryn Van Sickle '12, as one of Trinity's best kept secrets! Read the blog post here.

Tim Szal '06 designed and built four art glass panels for the Chapel's rehearsal room during the spring semester of 2005. Working with the chaplain at the time, the Rev. Daniel R. Heischman, John Rose, College Organist and director of Chapel Music, and Patricia Tillman, Associate Professor of Fine Arts, Tim was able to create an Independent Study in the Studio Arts to receive credit for the project during his junior year at Trinity.

Using traditional leaded glass techniques and hand-made mouth-blown glass from Lamberts in Germany, Tim's piece "Out of the Depths" conjures images of rising up from darkness and into the light. This image is quite appropriate given the location of the windows at the base of the East end of the chapel, below the High Alter and rising up out of the hillside on Trinity's Lower Long Walk.

Trinity College Choir Rehearsal Room window design by Szal Design
Trinity College Chapel Lower East Elevation

Trinity College Chapel East Elevation

Out of the Depths art glass conceptual sketch

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to make a pergola

1. Pour foundation and attach 1 inch standoffs.

2. Receive a delivery of lumber. This pergola will use pressured-treated wood for posts, regular spruce for the bottom two horizontal layers, and a clear grade lumber (very nice, straight, no knots) for the upper horizontal layer.

3. Chamfer edges of posts. This is to remove imperfections at the edges of the posts, mostly due to edges being right at the edge of the tree they were milled from. There was even some bark on a few pieces.

To do this I marked a line a set distance from the edge to be cut and then screwed a guide (long, straight piece of wood) to the post. The circular saw can then rest against the guide while cutting a chamfer on the edge.

4. The next step will be to paint, or more likely prime the posts and the other lumber before assembly to try to reduce painting time, but this might not be possible with temperatures dropping. I'm using an oil-based primer, which should be a little better at lower temperatures.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Market

I am so excited to be a part of the Christmas Market this year at the Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill MA! The Market is today, December 2nd, from 10-5, and tomorrow, December 3rd, from 10-4. There will be lots of other great vendors there, not to mention complimentary drinks in the Parish Hall, which is where we will be. Come check it out!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Wishes

I just wanted to write a quick post before Thanksgiving and the rush of the holidays is upon us.

I am so thankful for all of the Szal Design supporters and customers! Thank you for your words of encouragement, your word-of-mouth advocacy, and for all of your purchases! Nothing gives me more pleasure than spreading my love of art glass around the world (or maybe just the East coast at the moment).

Safe travels if you're traveling, and I wish everyone has great food, great drink, and the best company! Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mobile blogging updates

I've just discovered the mobile blogging features of Blogger, and thought I should try them out.

The pergola foundation has been poured successfully and seems to have survived the recent freezing temperatures, which is a good sign. The anchor bolts look good, and we hope to order and get a delivery of lumber for the actual pergola this week.

On another note, for the past week or so I've been working on a project for a small, local business. No matter that it's actually my wife's business (which should hopefully be launching before Thanksgiving), but I've been busy with designing the graphics and developing a "brand" for the business. Working on branding in this particular case is quite interesting since the business is legal based, but not your traditional law firm. The graphics, web design and layout, as well as the content (mostly writing), are therefore critical in defining the business in the appropriate manner. Little questions, such as whether paragraphs should be justified or not, are actually a big deal. More on this project as it unfolds.

All for now. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Szal Design on Google Maps

We're on Google Maps!
Check us out, write a review of our products/services, or upload a photo of your Szal Designed object!
Photo of Szal Design's location on Google Maps

Friday, October 28, 2011

Etsy Treasuries!

Wow, Szal Design has been a popular target on Etsy today. So far we've have had our items featured in 3 treasury listings in the span of a few hours, which is quite incredible! I've listed the links below. Check them out!

Create warmth by mieke van gameren, featuring our amber bullseye.

Blue Picasso by SimplyCottageChic, featuring our Genesis lamp.

phlox it... by Kylie, featuring our phox bullseye.

A BIG thank you to all those who have supported Szal Design by featuring our products in Etsy treasuries! It really does help the bottom line of all Etsy shops.

6 hours ago

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pergola Time!

white, wooden pergola designed by Szal Design
A couple years ago, I designed a pergola for this house in Newton, MA, and this fall I have been given the chance to construct it. Needless to say, I am quite excited about seeing this 2-tier, six column pergola completed.

Pergola axon by Szal Design
Its design is based upon a desire to connect the garage to the main house, as well as enhance the existing brick wall, and provide a support structure for the growing rose bushes.

The front edge of the pergola extends the edge of the roof line of the main house to the garage while the back edge of the pergola parallels the brick wall running in between.

The design was also conceived with the assumption that the concrete walkway connecting the back door of the house to the garage and driveway would be replaced with something nicer. As it is, there are quite a number of odd angles. Though probably original to the house, it clearly was not designed with any thought.

half-poured concrete pier and form
For the foundations I have used 8" forms extending several feet into the ground, which should help prevent any shifting due to freezing and thawing. I've set 1/2 inch anchor bolts in the top of the piers. These bolts will accommodate 4x4 one inch galvanized steel   standoffs, on top of which the 6x6 posts will be set.

I'll post better photos in a bit, but these will have to do for now.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Free Shipping in October!

wood on tablesaw with safety glasses
That's right! You will receive FREE shipping on ALL items in our Etsy shop if you order this month! All you have to do is enter the coupon code "OCTOBERSHIPSFREE" upon checkout. Happy fall!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Working with glass

glass workshop
Glass is an interesting material, to say the least. It is a hard and fragile, and yet as an amorphous solid it is slowly moving as gravity pulls on it— just look at the window glass in old homes. Glass is also quite flexible, and can bend significantly. Glass is also a wonderful material for the use of color due to it's translucency. Color may be viewed on the material itself, and also projected onto a surface by a light source. Glass may also be formed in several different ways— cast, blown, scored and then broken, or cut with a water jet.

When working with glass, the question is not if you will injure yourself in some way, but when. Whether you are working with molten glass or trying to avoid tiny shards of glass, there is a high probability of being hurt in some way, regardless of how much care is taken. I've taken splinters of glass in my fingers and have been cut on the edge of a sheet of glass (with a square edge) countless times. However, for me the dangers of working with glass are worth it, as the end product is always much cooler than I imagine when it is being designed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Art Glass Miniatures - Bullseye

mouth blown glass bullseye
These mouth-blown glass bullseyes are another aspect of Szal Design's Art Glass Miniatures. Since the glass is made by hand, the diameter varies from between 3 and 3-1/4 inches. The edge of the glass is smooth, since the lip of the glass is folded over on the back by about 1/8 inch. The back is fairly flat, while the front gets thicker at the middle and has a glass "stump" of varied shape where the bullseye was broken off the blow pipe. Since each bullseye is made by hand, each is different, but the color and feel of the piece remains the same. There are 12 different colors, and each bullseye comes with a five and one-half inch hanging loop, through a drilled hole at the edge of the bullseye. When compared to the randomly designed miniatures, these are opposite in nature— simple and elegant.

Art Glass

stained glass window
Szal Design Art Glass currently encompasses two areas. The first is the design and creation of custom leaded glass panels— windows, skylights, interior partitions, and other types of panels. I started working in leaded glass in high school, and was able to pursue it during college and after. I use only the finest materials when creating my art glass, including a commitment to using only mouth-blown glass. While I have primarily made abstract panels, I am happy to work with my clients to create the perfect art glass panel for their needs.

stained glass lamp
The second area that Szal Design's Art Glass encompasses is that of art glass luminaires. The current series of lamps is named Prana, and comes in 13 inch, 24 inch, and 51 inch heights. The initial concept for this lamp was to create a contemporary art glass lamp that used an entire sheet of mouth-blown glass. This design became the 24 inch lamp. The 13 inch lamps each use half a sheet of glass, and the floor lamp uses two sheets of glass. The lamps feature a square column of mouth-blown glass with an exposed upper lip of glass on a solid wood base. The exposed glass lip is the end result of the making of the sheet of glass, and is quite smooth. Internal cross-bracing maintains structural rigidity of the lamps. The lamps are available in a variety of different glass colors and base woods, and can be seen in great detail on my website and at my Etsy shop.

Salvaged glass Miniatures

art glass ornament
The pieces above are 6 of the hundreds of these art glass miniatures that I have made. Over the years as a glass artist, I have been saving thousands of pieces of glass, all scraps from my projects. Until I started making these, I had no idea what to do with them, and the thought of discarding (recycling) them did not appeal to me. I guess that's the frugal side of me coming out, but I never could bring myself to take these out of my workshop. I had many boxes full of scraps and no plan to use them.

That changed when my wife an I were planning our wedding. Being very budget conscious we were trying our best to allocate our monetary resources in the most efficient way for our wedding, which meant that we probably wouldn't be doing much of anything for favors for our guests. Then my wife planted the idea of making a favor by using my boxes of scrap glass. I could use my stock of solder and other materials to make them, making it an affordable option for our wedding. So that's exactly what we did, and all our guests loved them! They compared and traded them, and became a conversation piece and brought our guests together. My wife and I decided then that they should be shared, and they are now a permanent part of the Szal Design Miniatures.

Each of these leaded glass ornaments is unique. They are made from small scraps of different types, textures and colors of glass. Some pieces may have a color theme (such as mostly blue & purple, for instance), but they are not created with any type of color or design in mind. Each piece is small, with between 3 and 7 pieces each (5 pieces on average), and each varies in size but with maximum dimensions under 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches.Their design is dependent on the glass scraps I have on hand, and my state of mind when I'm making them. I have no preconceived notion of what they will look like. My goal is to create a stimulating composition of glass. Some items may suggest a certain design, such as a figure or animal, but in my experience different people see different things in these pieces, which is the exciting thing about them. 

I hope you're excited by these as much as I am. It feels great to be creating wonderful and interesting art by using every scrap of glass that could so easily be thrown away. I am happy to make just one piece for you or make 100+ pieces. Please visit my Etsy Store for current pricing, and please contact me with any and all questions. Bulk pricing is available.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


copper foil covered glass scraps
As the title of this post implies, I've been setting up (another) blog. My old blog on my website is a pain to work with, so hopefully this will be better. It already seems loads better, which is good.

I am a glass artist in the Boston area, specializing in leaded glass. I have recently started categorizing my business into two main areas I call "Art Glass", and "Art Glass Miniatures". Art Glass refers to traditional leaded glass panels, and also a series of leaded glass and wood luminaires (lamps) that I have developed. I can do any sort of custom glass work that you'd like. Art Glass Miniatures is like it sounds—small pieces of art glass. These are ornament to suncatcher sized items, and besides my ability to create custom designs, feature two main products. The first is a series of mouth-blown glass bullseye ornaments, while the second are ornaments made from scraps of glass that I would otherwise be discarding.

I'll go into further detail about all of my art glass works in future posts, but this is all the time I have for now! All of my currently available art glass pieces may be found on my Etsy shop.