Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Ouliana Panova

Ouliana Panova

Student engineer, stained glass artist

Posted in artist, engineer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Ouliana Panova, I hail from the faraway Russian Motherland and I'm an engineer. Well, I'm a student engineer - I've been working on my Materials Science PhD at UC Berkeley for two years now. In order to keep myself sane in the process I do a ridiculous amount of crafts and have recently ventured into my most recent and, might I say, hardcore enterprise - stained glass. I took a one-day intro workshop at my local studio and loved it so much that I decided to forego the traditional flowers and butterflies to fuse it with my other passion - comic books! I have only very recently started reading American comics and this summer of 2014, as my pottery studio closed down for renovations, I found myself in a vacuum of crafts and, since the only other alternative would have been to do actual work, I instead plunged myself head first into this obscure new activity.

What originally started as a clever "how to avoid doing research" ploy has kind of snowballed into this awesome thing - I have panels displayed at my local comic book store, a show at the Stained Glass Garden studio, a full-on commission from a wonderful new family and I'm told that people ask about me at conventions. I've even opened an Etsy store, even though I have no idea what I'm doing.

I also do sculptural pottery, chainmail and seed bead jewelry, pyrography, calligraphy, knitting, crochet, sewing, MTG altering, mosaics, embroidery and recently paper quilling.

What hardware do you use?

For the hardware, stained glass has a lot of tools that you have to use in order to complete a piece. I really like my Fletcher running pliers - I feel that they're the best way to snap glass, with great control over the crack propagation (glass isn't really "cut", it's broken along a line). The initial crack line is traced with just a regular, run-of-the-mill oil glass cutter. I grind all the glass pieces with a Diamond Star Gastar glas grinder. Those are really portable, but it gets loud... I've been shooed away into the garage by Law students who wanted to study and were annoyed by the noise.

I like folding the corners of the copper foil with this metal tool for cuticle care - weirdly enough, it's the best shape for this very specific application.

And what software?

Software-wise, I just use the S sketch app on my Galaxy Note tablet to draw the pattern of the stained glass piece to be.

What would be your dream setup?

Ouuuu, I really want a table saw. A shiny new one, with a diamond dust blade... Those allow you to cut any shape your heart may desire, even ones that are impossible to cut by hand, and they act as a grinder, too! And I would really like a studio of my own, with a table and a hose dedicated uniquely to stained glass, as the foam boards I use to put a much-needed barrier between nasty chemicals like flux and patina and my bedroom floor tend to warp rather quickly.