John Hegarty is our featured artist this month

John has been cutting glass since 1978. It all started with an evening stained glass class at a local vocational high school and he was hooked. His initial focus was to make sun catchers but later evolved into creating, panels, kaleidoscopes, jewelry and lampshades.

Sun catchers are made by cutting pieces from a large sheet of colored glass, grinding each piece to remove the sharp edges and wrapping each piece with copper foil. The pieces are then assembled into a pattern, flux applied and soldered together; the assembled piece is then washed with soap and water and polished.

Several years ago he began to fuse glass in a kiln. With the introduction of dichroic coated glass, the fusing process does not distort the color of the glass as it did with regular stained glass or more correctly colored glass.

The dichroic coating was developed by NASA to be used on the heat shield on the capsule and spacesuit. When someone discovered the beautiful colors that were created, they started to put it on glass. The coating is applied to the glass in a vacuum chamber by atomizing metal with a laser beam. The deposits on the glass are microns thick and different thicknesses produce different colors.

The glass is purchased in various sizes and shapes and then cut into squares, rectangles or hearts as desired. A piece of clear glass, just a little larger, is placed on top of the dichroic piece and is held together with hairspray. After the pieces have dried, they are placed in the kiln and heated slowly until both pieces melt together, usually to about 1700 degrees.

After the pieces have cooled, they are ground around the edge, washed and re-fired to attain a glossy finish. Finally, hardware is glued on to finish the pendant or earrings. Sometimes, the glass is glued into other types of hardware to create bracelets, wine stoppers, keychains and other items. 

John says that his most memorable accomplishment has been being an active member of Craftworks, a local craft cooperative in Northborough,  MA from April of 1980 thru December of 2017. In addition to displaying his items there on consignment and participating in over a dozen local craft fairs each year, his items can also be found at Soulstice Gifts in Holden, MA as well as Bates Craft Gallery in Orange, MA, in addition to The Dedham Exchange in Dedham, MA.

After over 40 years in the information technology field he retired in 2007 from The TJX Companies and now live in an over 55 community with his wife Judy.