Designing the Choptank River Lighthouse in Stained Glass

The Choptank River Lighthouse is a historic site on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where I am from originally. Situated on the waterfront in Cambridge, Md., the lighthouse is a symbol of the town as well as Dorchester County. In the early 1900s, lighthouses like this one guided ships which sailed along the Choptank River.

A family friend who lives in the town of Cambridge commissioned this stained glass project in 2016. After many visits to my mom’s house on the Eastern Shore, where I could access my stained glass workbench and materials, I was able to complete this one-of-a-kind project.

Designing an original stained glass pattern is equal parts challenging and rewarding. I made several sketches by hand before scanning and finalizing my pattern in Adobe Illustrator.

My pattern, vectorized in Adobe Illustrator. By creating a vector graphic, I can enlarge my design to any desired dimensions without losing image quality. Please email me at if you would like permission to use this pattern.


A photo of me cutting the glass into the desired shapes, as my mom grinds the edges of each piece. This allows for the pieces to fit together like a puzzle. The next step is to wrap the perimeter of each piece in copper foil.


After each piece is cut and ground, it’s time to start fitting them together. A perfect fit is important; it allows the solder to strongly hold the pieces together.


This project was so large, that I could only fit half of it at a time on the flat wooden frame that I use for squaring (my wooden squaring frame is from Glass by Grammy of Salisbury, Md.). This is the bottom half of the panel. The final stained glass panel measured approx. 22 inches wide and 32 inches tall.


Here I go with the soldering of the top half! Each piece has its edges wrapped in copper foil. The solder is then applied to the copper foil. This chemical reaction results in a super-strong joint between the foil-wrapped glass pieces. Eventually, the entire project will be placed in a rectangular wooden frame for hanging. In my opinion, a glass project is not finished until it is beautifully framed.


Whoa! I was so proud when I could finally lift up the finished panel and see the sunlight streaming through.


All set and ready for framing! A big thank-you goes out to Jeff Evans, for commissioning this unique project. This certainly is a showpiece in my portfolio! I also owe many thanks to my mom, Sharon Hazel, and Carolyn Adkins of Glass by Grammy for helping me see this panel through to completion.





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