Recently I was working on a wholesale order. Tinto restaurant in Philadelphia approached me with an offer to make votive candle holders for them. They purchased a candle holder from me (left) and wanted 30 more in a smaller size, 3x3x3 inches.
I was not sure whether I wanted to work on this order because making 30 votive candle holders that were exactly the same did not seem very exciting to me. But I looked at Tinto's website and immediately saw why they wanted these candle holders. The décor at Tinto had a lot of wood, square lattices and some yellow - so my golden yellow geometric candle holders would really fit into it perfectly. As soon as I thought of that I decided to go for it.
After all of the supplies were delivered I set out to cut the glass. Each candle holder had 4 sides, each consisting of 3 pieces, and a bottom. So, I had to cut 390 squares and rectangles. Surprisingly, it only took 2.5 hours - the tool I have for cutting strips did wonders and I was finished much faster than I expected. I also realized what lie ahead - I was working like a robot on an assembly line!
Next, I cut out quarter-circles in 240 pieces and semi-circles in 120 pieces of glass and grinded the edges of each piece - 6.5 hours. After that I matched and adjusted all pieces so the circles cut out to house the iridescent nuggets would line up. I also numbered all the pieces so they would not get mixed up later. This seemingly simple step took 2 hours. Then I applied copper foil to all the pieces and nuggets and it took me a whooping 9 hours. That was the only step I could perform in my kitchen while watching TV, and I learned a lot about volcanoes, British Royalty and deep-water fishing during that time.
At this point I was ready to solder the pieces together. I assembled the sides, 4 at a time, and then tack-soldered them together so they would hold the cubical shape. After that I added the bottom pieces and soldered everything together. I soldered for 20 hours total and came to a conclusion that this was my least favorite part.
Now the candle holders were ready to be washed and patinaed. That took me 3 hours and I just had to take a picture of a finished candle holder with shiny silver seams and another one with black patina applied - just take a look at what a difference the patina makes! You can almost think that these two candle holders were made of a different-color glass!
After applying patina, the candle holders were ready to be polished… for another 2.5 hours. I have to tell you, the muscle tone in my arms has increased tremendously after washing and finishing was over!
Finally, the small votive army was ready to be packed up and delivered… I drove the candle holders to Phila myself because it would have taken way too long for me to pack them properly for shipping, and I also wanted to visit my cousin. I had a pleasant drive, checked out Tinto's décor, took a couple of pictures and spent great 4 hours with my cousin. That was a perfect ending to the 46 hours spent working the candle holder assembly line - made me feel human again :)