Monday, June 18, 2018

Off The Chain!

There are people who grind as they cut rather than cutting all of their pieces and THEN grinding.   I will stress again that for numerous reasons it is best to cut all of your glass before grinding even a single piece.  One of the biggest advantages to working this way is that it allows you to get a perfect fit with the pieces that you have cut rather than to the pattern which your cutting is likely not going to match.

When you grind a piece after cutting it the only thing you can base the shape on is the pattern.   If the piece next to it isn't cut perfectly the two pieces of glass won't line up and you won't be able to make an adjustment on the previous piece since it's already been ground.

It's also FAR easier to grind when you have the next available piece to use as a 'cheat' so you can grind it perfectly with just one trip to the grinder.  Some students have mentioned that I tend to ignore them as they work and if they are grinding as they cut then yes, my help comes only in the form of wrapping or soldering.  It's bad technique to grind as you cut and I won't help a student work incorrectly.   And that, is they say, is that.

Now Lara did NOT grind her Flower Of Life Window as she cut and notice how perfectly her pieces fit together, all the curves are form fitted and the straight lines are perfection.   Not only that, Lara got ALL of the soldering of this large window done in just one class.  And let me state for the record that her soldering is amazing.  I'd trust her with soldering  any of my windows!  Last week one of our students asked me why I keep calling this a Flower Of Life Window so I figured I'd pass the information on along here as well.   When Lara came up with the design it was a single long flower panel.  She asked if there was a way to widen it considerably and because of the shape I immediately though of Frank Lloyd Wright's Tree Of Life design.   By tripling the Flower image (as F.L. Wright did) we widened the window without adding any distortion into the design.  And that is why I call it the Flower Of Life.

Here's a picture of a stained glass interpretation of Frank Lloyd Wright's Tree Of Life for comparison: 

Betty's Newest pair of Stylized Crosses are out the door!  These may have no real color to them but they are stunning nonetheless, wouldn't you say? I've always wanted to make a black and white stained glass window just to buck tradition and I may do it yet.


MiMi's getting further and further along into the grinding process of her newest Rose Window and she's at about the halfway point now.  She's fastidious and precise (she's a Killer Queen?) about her work and her end results have always shown off her attention to detail.  She's using the pieces surrounding the one she is working on as a guide and everything fits perfectly.  Beautiful work indeed..

Here's Brenda's Magnolia Window.  With just the background remaining to be cut, I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be completed in about two more weeks.

Carol has her pair of Aeroscope Planes all ready to be assembled.   There are only four dots of solder left to go (to attach the landing gear wheels) and then she'll insert the mirrors.  I'll be sure to give you and inside view to both of these planes upon Carol's return.  Also, as you can see from the three color wheels atop her picture, she's just all set to make two more of these Aeroscopes.

Cindy has her Fantasy Sunset Scene all cut and basically ground.  Once this is wrapped she'll be ready to solder this which I don't think will take more than a half hour to 45 minutes at best.  This is really going to look great with some light behind it.

Roy is about halfway through the grinding process of his Wine Window (which is all cut out-- just not visible in the pictire) and he's made a few changes to it this week.  There's now a punt at the bottom of his bottle and he's also added a lip and a cork to the top of the bottle.   Since the rest of this window is realistic we felt that the flat green bottle had to be altered to make it blend into this window better. (The original design called for the use of an actual wine bottle to be used.)  I think this re-designed bottle is a much better fit and I love the fact that Roy has hundreds of pins in his grapes which stop them from shifting as he's grinding.  (The pins are visible as little yellow dots.)


Next up we take a look at Tracey's Aeroscope which has only one color wheel left to solder before it's completed.  That means that this will surely be finished very early in he next class.  Tracey already has her landing wheels attached and the the plane has been patina'ed  and waxed so she's about ready to go! 


Myrt's Dog Window is now officially all cut and ready to be soldered.  I probably wouldn't have picked the glass she used for the border but it is absolutely PERFECT!  When things like this happen it reminds me that I should hold glass next to the window before assuming that its the wrong choice because, well, just look at this.  Soldering begins next week and I know Myrt is up to that. Because she cut all of her pieces before grinding her window she's got a perfect fit.

Here's an unusual look at a project that you see a lot here in our blog posts.   This is Patrice's Bumble Bee Lawn Ornament  lying upside down on the table.  Why the odd (and unflattering) angle?  Because it shows you how the finished project is curved rather than flat.   From this angle you can easily see how the tail curves  and you can also see that the wings are curved as well.   It's always hard to get a picture that shows just how fancy this is but hopefully this view helps.   Even Patrice was shocked at how this was put together.

Look at the cutting that Linda L has achieved on the tiny little pieces of coral in her large Undersea Window.   She took her time while cutting each piece making sure to cut off the lines as she went and this is what she ended up with.   The beauty (the EXTREME beauty) of this is that what you are looking at hasn't even been ground yet!   Yes, it fits together that perfectly before it even visits the grinder.   This is amazingly GREAT work!

Terry is so close to completing her Butterfly On A Flower Window that it isn't even funny.   With the final border attached and the channel in place Terry spent most of her night soldering the front side of this window.  With only the back side left to go I'm thinking that it's safe to assume that this will be featured in with our completed projects when we return next week.  Just look at how perfectly her pieces all line up.

Susan R is just about ready to begin wrapping her Chef Window.  She's still got to grind the 4 buttons into the Chef's jacket but that won't take long at all once those buttons have been cut.  There's a good chance that we'll see this tacked together when Susan returns.

Shelley's Koy The Cat Window is all cut out and ready to be soldered.   This week saw her attaching the name plate along with the border and the finishing brass channel.  By cutting the left and right pieces of the nameplate last she was able to center Koy's name purr-fectly.

Mary Grace has all of the glass attached to her Iris Window and is ready to begin soldering!   Sadly, MG had to leave class early this week as she wasn't feeling well.  I hear that she's doing much better now and I know she's anxiously  looking forward to begin soldering this window to get it completed and out the door.

With all of the background glass cut out for her Seahorse Window, Becky was forced to make the decision on what colors she wanted to use in her borders.   In the end she went with a clear textured inner border (it's in the picture-- just not easily visible yet) along with a colored outer border that will most likely match the darker color in the Seashorses themselves.

Yep, it didn't take long for Rowena to get this Flower and Humming Bird Window finished.   Okay, so it isn't finished yet but with just the back side left to solder I can safely say that this will be completed soon (possibly when she returns.)   This week she got her outer border attached and what a beautiful choice it is!

Lastly we take a look at the next Mickey Mouse Silhouette Suncatcher that Susan D is making.  It's hard to see the texture on the glass that she's using in the picture but it is absolutely perfect in this application. 

And that about wraps things up this week.  It looks like we're on track to have a large number of completed projects when we return so be sure to drop on by again next week, same bat time, same bat channel!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, June 11, 2018

Give The Dog A Bone

I've been making stained glass since 1978 and started doing it for a living way back in 1983.   That was a long time ago and the best marker I've found for the job in all of that time has been a blue Sharpie Ultra Fine Point marker.  In a pinch a Sharpie Extra Fine Point will do but the tip on the Ultra Fine markers make it the best marker for the job.  Also, black ink will do the job but not nearly as well as blue.  And just forget about any other colors because they aren't actually ink, they are in fact,  just colored liquid that washes off easily in water.
There is something you should know about markers though.  First, the tips are delicate and less pressure works far better than pressing it with force while marking your glass.   Second, there is no need to go over a line a second, third, or fourth time if you've already made a mark on the first pass.   Going over a line multiple times actually makes it wash off quicker when the piece is on your grinder.  Third, and finally, if the tip isn't allowing ink to flow then gently draw a line on the side of you pattern paper while rotating the marker so that all sides of the tip have touched the paper.  You'll see ink start to flow almost immediately.   Remember, the harder you press on the tip, the more compressed it becomes making it harder to allow ink to flow.   Using your markers on glass is very much like breaking glass -- a gentle effort is all you need correctly. 

Now then, onto the glass of the matter.  Cindy made two Breast Cancer Ribbon Hearts which are both stunning.  The design is a little flimsy on the bottom right of the ribbon and that is handled by the placement of a decorative (and fully functional) wire piece that helps anchor the ribbon end to the heart.   All in all it's an excellent design with one small flaw that is easily remedied by some extra decoration.   Beautiful.

Next we have the two Dress Suncatchers that MiMi made.  As you can see there's a bit of wire work to these but it's that wire work that makes these so exceptional.   They may only be made from just one piece of glass but these dresses sure have a way of speaking for themselves!  And just wait until you see a 'similar' pattern that MiMi brought in for me to see--  it's going to be outstanding!

Finishing off our completed projects is Betty's Monochromatic Stylized Heart.  She loves making these and even has one other in the works as well made up of entirely clear glasses.

And that brings us to our works in progress section of the blog where we start with Beth who has all but the tiniest slivers of glass cut for her Flower Window.  I've advised her to just skip those pieces because it will be far easier to assemble these flowers and then fill in the thin open areas rather than grinding little 1/8th pieces along with everything else.   So Beth began grinding her window and she learned the trick of grinding by using a piece next to the one you're grinding as a template.   One trip to the grinder usually makes a perfect fit using this method and once she understood the process it was as though a light went on above her head.  If I said she had a BIG smile on her face it would be an understatement!  Now she's running with it and as you can see she's got her bottom left corner fitting wonderfully.

As you can tell by her EXCELLENT use of pins, Terry has her Butterfly on a Flower Window almost completely ground now.   There are only a few pieces left to go along the top right of the window and then Terry will begin wrapping all of those pieces in preperation for the big solder.


Roy has begin work on his Wine Bottle and grapes window and I think it's shaping up nicely and quickly.  He was toying around with idea of adding a punt at the bottom of the wine bottle so I quickly drew one into place and I have to say that the more I look at this picture the more I think I'd like to adjust the top of the bottle as well.  That's something we'll discuss when Roy returns next week and if we change things up we'll discuss it in our next post.


Aeroscopes are so very IN now!  And what exactly is an aeroscope?  It's a stained glass airplane that doubles as a kaleidoscope.   Below we see the body of the plane that Tracey made with us this week.  It's all assembled and waiting for its support struts to be added which will surely happen when she returns to class.


Here we see Brenda is making progress on her Magnolia Window.   I love the flower petal in the 7 o'clock position.  It shows that Brenda is making full use of the flow of the grain lines that exist in the glass that she is using.


Here are two more Aeroscopes that Barbara H is assembling which are also ready for their support struts (we'll see what those are a little further along in this post).  Behind the planes you can see the triangular mirror sections which will slide into the body of the plane when to create the Kaleidoscope image when it's complete.


Susan R has only about 10 more pieces to grind on her Chef Window and then she'll be able to begin the wrapping process.  It's all coming together and I suspect that won't be long before we see this among our completed windows.

These are our last Aeroscopes for this post and these belong to Carol.  She was able to start attaching her support struts and now the wings of both her planes are rock solid since the wires are attached.  There are only a few wires left to add to other sections of the plane and I have no doubt that these will both be washed and colored when she returns.   Once the bodies are completed she'll move along to making the glass wheels that form the propellers.

Cindy is making a Waterfall Scene Suncatcher with a lot of tiny detailed pieces (just the way she likes them).  It's really quite a beautiful (large) suncatcher when its completed and at the rate she's moving we'll see this finished soon. 


Lara now has all of the glass attached to her Flower Of Life Window.  We I had a slight accident while carrying her border glass to the strip cutter which resulted in a lot of broken glass on the floor and Lara having to rethink her color selection for the final border.   In the end I think she did very well and she'll easily begin soldering this when she comes back in.


Ivory is the name of this dog and he is just two borders away from being ready to be soldered.   The dog itself is white but the background glass surrounding him is clear and what you are seeing is the white pattern paper through the clear glass. He actually stands out much better when this is off of the work table.


Becky S has most of her background cut for her Seahorse Window and she's hopefully going to get the missing pieces from the remainder of the aqua glass she was using.  It's going to be close but I think we can get this all together next week without dipping into a second sheet of glass.   I know I love a challenge and just by looking at the detail in this window I'd say that it's safe to say that Becky loves a challenge as well!

You can always tell when a student loves a window by how quickly they make it.   Rowena fell in love with this when she first saw it and next week she'll get her final border attached and be ready to flip it over to solder the back side.   All of this work was done in just two short weeks but what you don't see is the size of this window-- It's a good three feet tall.  And beautiful as well!

As I predicted, Mary Grace has her first border attached and more importantly she has all of her missing pieces filled in.   The final border for this will be cut when she comes back in and I have no doubt that it will be tacked together and ready to be soldered.


And to end this post we take a look at the pattern that Linda L has begun working on.   This is another HUGE window measuring almost 4 feet tall.   The design is beautiful and I have no doubt that Linda will handle it like a pro.  The only hard part will be the coral in the bottom left but once all of those tiny pieces are completed the rest of this should be a piece of cake.

So there you have it.   Another look at what's been going on during our classes.   They're always fun and I hope all of that fun shines through here in our weekly posts.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, June 4, 2018

Fox On The Run

Knowing when to use a straight edge and when not to can be confusing at times.  Our students often get confused about when you should use a straight edge which is prompting this tip of the week.  Just remember this: There are no true straight lines in nature. If you are making a tree or a flower stem or a horizon line there should be some waver in the line.   If you are making a logo or reproducing something that was man made then a straight edge should almost always be used.

In the Pelican pattern below the two horizontal lines forming what will be water is irregular in the top pattern because horizon lines and water lines are always imperfect.  The pattern below has has been drawn with perfectly straight lines which is fine (if that's the look you're going for) but the top pattern surely makes a more realistic window.

The top Star pattern was drawn free handed and the lines are anything but straight.  In the lower Star pattern a straight edge was used and the results are much more pleasant to look at.   Since this star is an emblem all of the lines should be perfect.  If we were making a star in the sky it would be a different story however.

Just remember this: In nature straight lines are always irregular. Follow that one simple rule and you'll be fine.

Okay then, Roy's Crab Window was completed this week and Roy is proving that he already knows his way around a piece of glass.   From his use of Mottled glass to the design and even the soldering job itself, well, I'd say that this is just about perfect.  He's even cutting his own Zinc Channel and attaching it himself which is something that I almost always do for our students-- not because they can't but because they are worried they'll use too much lead.   All in all, Roy did a marvelous job on this and he's primed and ready to start something even more challenging.

Carol's Fox is the cutest thing!  Sometimes coming up with a pattern isn't as easy as you might hope and this was one of those cases.   The fox's head and body came from two different pieces of clip art that we stitched together into the fox you see below.   If I hadn't mentioned it you'd never have guessed that this is more 'Frankenstein' than fox!

Cindy's Metal Shark was finished this week and it really matches the official logo wonderfully.  She took her time, made sure everything fit and then made sure that it was a perfect circle that we could bend a small zinc channel around to set it all off.  Excellent!

Linda L was on a suncatcher roll this week as she finished off two pairs of Mickey and Minnie Mouse Suncatchers.   The workmanship is excellent and the glass that she used is PERFECT for this pair of mice.

Linda L also put the finishing touches on these two Beveled Heart Suncatchers, one in red and the other clear.  Again this is beautiful work and they are both perfectly symmetrical which is THE most important thing about making these.


Linda F came into class with this Tree of Life Window all cut out and just about completely ground.   She only has a piece or two left to go and then she'll begin wrapping all of these pieces.  When she started this she hoped to be able to use up a lot of her scrap glass.  She says she did but that she still has a long way to go before that scrap bin is empty.

MiMi is back and ready to tackle her window!  Her Roses had no background glass cut out when she first came in but by the end of class she had all of the background cut and ready to be ground.  I saw a Facebook post that she posted  two days ago and I will tell you that she's already got most of this window ground and fitting together perfectly.  Thankfully it looks like her finger isn't causing her to have problems when it comes to getting the stained glass job done.

Lara didn't managed to grind or wrap anything while she was at home between classes (and there's nothing wrong with that) so when she came in she immediately  headed over to a grinder, skimmed her pieces, wrapped them, tacked them, cut the missing right edge pieces along with the three sections of clear background that go between the flowers and bottom section, and then joined everything together with solder.  Whew!  And if that weren't enough she also got her first border cut and ground as well!   At this rate she'll most likely be soldering this when she comes back in next week.

Cindy has begun making two Breast Cancer Ribbon Hearts, one made with a pink heart and the second with clear glass forming the heart.   She has them both ground and only needs to wrap the pieces before she can solder them and finish up.  This has an interesting design addition that you'll see when these are completed and I'll talk more about that next week.

Deja Vu?   Not really.   This is Rowena's version of the Humming Bird and Flower Window that Carol made just a few weeks back.  Rowena loved it so much that she had to make one of her own.  She's flying through it as all of the cutting (save for the final border) has been completed!  She's working on grinding this to fit and I don't think that will take her very long at all.

Meanwhile, Terry is doing a remake of her own.  Her first Butterfly and Flower Window sold quickly so she's been hard at work replacing it with another one made in different colors.  With all of the glass cut already, Terry has begun the grinding process.  She certainly makes these quickly.

Tracey resumed work on her Address Window and now has everything cut and ground save for the borders.  She already has the two end sections wrapped and ready to be tacked together and she's taken the center number section home to wrap during the week.   She also has two Aeroscopes in the process of being completed and if Barbara comes in next week Tracey may jump over to that project before she tacks this Address Window together.


Shelley has her Cat Window just about ready for solder and only needs to cut two more pieces of glass before she can begin work on the border.   When dealing with letters I always recommend skipping the left and right end pieces until the rest if the letters and background are cut and tacked together.  This allows you to center the name perfectly since the letters tend to shift while grinding and tacking.

What you see here is Myrt's Dog Window all tacked together and ready for a border.   Myrt has decided to run a bone along the top of this window and she's also going to spell out his name (Ivory) along the bottom of the window much like Shelley's Cat Window.


Jeannette was with us again this week and she resumed work on her second Beveled Window.   Once the center was tacked together she was able to get her final border cut and ground.  After attaching it we put a zinc channel around the window and now Jeannette is ready to begin soldering!

Deja vu??   What a minute-- is it happening again!  Yep.  Susan R loved Shelley's Chef Window so much that she's making one with a color scheme all of her own.  With just five pieces of floor left to cut and then the background, this window is well under way.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Carol loved the Aeroscope that I made and has decided to make two of her own.   She has her glass all cut and has taken the pieces home with her so she can come back in with them ready to be assembled. 

Mary Grace is almost ready for her borders to be attached.  Filling in the missing pieces only took two weeks and although there are only 5 more pieces to go we aren't going count that as a third week because she'll surely be getting her first border attached when she returns.

With her two hearts completely ground Melissa is now ready to start on the complex background of her Sacred Hearts Window.  She actually has a lot of it cut out already so we'll see this taking shape quickly in the weeks to come as she begins the grinding process on the rest of these pieces.

Becky filled in the remaining pieces of her Sea Horses and we will surely see background glass get cut for this when she returns.  I'm not sure what she will be using so I'm anxious to see what she chooses!


And Brenda is working on a Magnolia that she printed out (from the internet?)  With this project she's learned just how easy it is to make a stained glass pattern from a line drawing.  People often believe there's a right and wrong way to position lead lines that will make a cut possible but in all honesty the only rule I adhere to is that I try to make the smallest lines possible.    

Linda L isn't the only person who's got two pairs of Mickey and Minnie Mouse Suncatchers cut out-- Susan D also has some of her own.  These are complete save for a bath and some patina to color the lead.   We'll see that happen when she returns in two weeks.

Betty has been busy working on a repair and she's doing a great job all on her own.   By digging right on in to these 14 or so broken pieces she's building the skills to repair just about anything.  The trick is to only knock out one or two pieces at a time.  If you get too greedy and try for more you'll end up with even more broken pieces as the window becomes less and less stable.

Next up we take a look at the pattern for Roy's next window.  He found the design on the internet, printing it out to the size that he wanted, traced it out and then squared it all off (a VERY important step indeed).  Next week we'll see some glass cut out for this and I'm sure it will be stunning.

Sometimes things escape me and this week I'm guilty of not stopping Beth from packing up all of the work she did on her Flower Window.   After all of her green glass was cut I never got a picture of it while it was placed on her pattern.   Next week I promise to show you just how far along she got and I'll be sure to stop her from packing up her pieces at the end of the night.  A towel or an old blanket is all you need to keep your work intact while transporting it.

And that's it for this week.   I can't believe that half the year is gone already but when I look at all that's been accomplished in our classes during the past 6 months it seems more reasonable.  Here's to another 6 more productive months!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks