You Have To Break It Before You Make It


A few months ago I learned that my next-door neighbor Ernie Quadrino – a retired NYC sanitation worker – is also an unsung artist. I recently sat down with him to talk about his passion for making stained-glass art.

How did you get started?

10 years ago my wife wanted a stained-glass lamp. Instead of going out and buying one, I found a local shop that taught people how to make their own. It helped that I could draw well; my talent translated and allowed me to quickly pick up the craft. After just a few lessons, I proudly made a replica of the famous Tiffany dragonfly lamp.

What is your process?

1) Find a photo or drawing that can easily be turned into a pattern that will be broken into pieces.

2) Choose your colors, transfer your shapes to the glass sheets, and cut them to the size of your pattern.

3) Grind the edges of the pieces and then wrap them with copper foil.

4) Assemble the pieces to match the pattern and begin soldering them together.

5) Once finished, frame the entire piece with thicker bands of zinc. Solder each corner as well as the points where the joints of your image meet the frame.

6) To give it a more finished look, apply black tinted patina to tone down the soldered joints.

Below are some images of Ernie’s inspiring work.


– Brian Keeler, Graphic Designer

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