06 Jan Solar Lanterns: Seymour Stained Glass, Part 2
Karen– Stained glass tables, birdbaths and tree jewelry. I hope to have a stained glass solar fountain wall for next year’s show.
Flora- That is very cool. Thanks for sharing. Can you tell us more about the energy-saving ability of solar powered lights?
Karen– Sustainability in the case of solar powered lights is arguable: solar power generally requires batteries to hold charge. Rechargeable batteries don’t last forever. The NiMH rechargeables I use are better than older types but need to be replaced every 600 to 1000 cycles (about 2 years).
Solar cells and electronics in general require lots of resources to create. Here in the NW most of our electricity comes from the energy of flowing water which is even more renewable and dependable than our sunlight (farmers and salmon may argue the point) so in the NW, using solar power instead of electricity probably isn’t reducing greenhouse gases. That said, carefully considering what you want in your garden and paying for quality which will hold up rather than need replacing every year keeps your footprint on the world a bit lighter.
Karen-My tables and lanterns are mostly made of glass which comes from sand and will last for centuries without the color fading. Instead of short lived bulbs, I use LEDs which have an average lifetime of 20 years. I make long-lasting, custom pieces to fit the garden so you won’t be continuously replacing things.
Flora-How can stained glass help us recycle things?
Karen-Gardeners can recycle an old glass top table rather than throwing it out by repainting the frame and adding a jewel-like stained glass design to the top. I can do it for them or they can buy one of my books or take a class and do it themselves.
Flora-What would you recommend that we do to learn more about stained glass besides attend your classes and demonstrations at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show?
Karen– Spectrum Glass company up in Woodinville is one of the largest stained glass manufacturers in the world and offers a wonderful free weekday tour.