Monday, January 11, 2021

Don't Let Paul Give You Any Craft

What's the most important part of a suncatcher?  The outside edge.  Why?  Because it defines the shape of the object.  Edge pieces should ALWAYS line up and form a perfect line be it straight or curved.   Look at the examples below.  The heart on the left lines up with smooth curves and edges that align correctly.   The heart on the right is off in almost every possible way and it shows in extremely obvious ways.   Which do you prefer?  The answer tells what you should strive for in all of your work.

Linda L finished her LSU Lamp and it is incredible.  She did such a wonderful job from start to finish on this.  Maybe, if we're lucky, Linda will be able to snap a picture of this on the base that she had made especially for it so we can see it in all of its splendor!

Next up we have another project that sets the bar  higher than ever .   Shawn's Christmas Ornament Window was completed and there's no doubt that it elicits a Christmas warmth when you see it.   I just wish you could see all the iridescent glass that was used throughout this window because it really makes this sparkle.
Our final completed project this week is another Praying Angel that Annette is becoming at expert at making.   That said Annette says that she has two more of these to go and then she says she's done with this design and moving along to butterfly lawn ornaments.

Cheryl began working on a Lighthouse Window to start the new year.  After tracing out and coloring the pattern to her liking she cut apart the paper pattern and then traced the sky onto a beautiful blue/white glass which she now has cut out and resting in its place on the pattern.

And Cindy has begin the new year by starting a veritable slew of suncatchers.  I see that we have to make an adjustment on her Fleur De Lis so I hope I can catch her in time to stop her before she wraps and tacks it together.  Okay, I caught her in time.  After having texted her I can tell you that she'll have a sturdier modified version of the FDL when we see it again next week.

Kerry got the bottom portion of his Nicholls Window tacked together and is now ready to tackle the top section which features the school mascot. Yes, this window will have a dog on top of it!

Susan R's Bird Feeder has one side of its roof ready to be wrapped and then tacked together.  She'll solder the top side of each roof section before attaching it so that she won't have to balance the entire feeder on her lap to get a level soldering surface.  We should see one side of this firmly attached when she comes back in.

Martha's Pelican Window is ready for its border and then she can solder this beast!  This is already stunning and her work is fantastic.  I just can't wait to see what color she picks out for her border.  The end is near!

Mary Grace came in with a Fuchsia Angel pattern and left with a Fuchsia Angel all ready to be wrapped in copper foil.  That's some nice quick work there and I have no doubt that this will be finished upon her return.
With all of her background tacked into place Mary began working on the intricate border that surrounds this gorgeous dove.  She'll work on the border one row at a time and she already has the thin inner red border cut and ground.   Next she's going to skip the middle section and grind the final thin outer border. It may be out of sequence and an odd way to work but it will ensure nice round lines which define this piece.
Barbara wasn't sure at all about what she was going to make when she came in.   She didn't want to do anything large so she settled on this simple flower panel.   With the flower all cut, ground, wrapped and tacked together, she only has to cut out 3 background pieces and a border when she comes back in.  It looks like Barbara's going to need to decide what she wants to make next already!

Check it out!   This is the first of many Honeycomb Windows that MiMi has been working on for the past 2 months.   She said that wrapping all of those hexagons wasn't difficult at all and that's a good thing since she has around 1,500 of them left to wrap!  This window is tacked together and ready for solder so we'll surely see it completed when MiMi returns.

Susan D is working on 2 different sized Beveled Christmas Ornaments.  All of that copper that you see will be completely covered in lead while the one on the right will have a regular colored glass border surrounding it.  These are just about finished already so it won't be long now.

With all of the her glass attached and the front side completely soldered Bee is just about ready to call this Puppy in a Bathtub a completed project.  There are only a few lead lines left to go on this so I believe this will also be featured as a completed window in our next post.

Tracey began cutting out glass for a familiar pattern of hers with a somewhat new spin.  She's taken the corners off of her square Cardinal Window and is making it round now.  She's already got most of her background glass cut out so this will certainly be getting a little more color added to it when she comes back in.
Ann started another Hand Mirror while she was waiting on a pattern to make for her next window.  She'll be remaking a cross window that she made a few years ago but she's scaling down the size a bit to make it more manageable.  We'll see just what that looks like when we return.  Meanwhile, she got all of her hand mirror cut out while her Cross pattern was being drawn up.
Lastly we look at a rough drawing of the panel that Melissa has begun working on.   Bee has worked on two of these in the past (or were there three of them?) and Melissa found the pattern charming enough to want to make one herself.
And there you have it-- the start of a new year at Bayou Salé GlassWorks!


Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Thursday, December 31, 2020

There's A Drink Called Irving?

We had another Fusing Workshop a few weeks ago which gave us five beautiful pieces that I just can't ignore, so here goes.  Susan D, Jan, Martha, Lisa, and Leigh Anne all joined in for the fun that was actually spread across two separate classes.  When they came in they were all given a spot on a table with a work station that looked like this.

A Present Plate is actually made out of 25 pieces of glass.  Only five of the pieces (the bow itself) are not cut with the Beetle Bits Cutting System. We start with a 10 inch square of white glass which forms the actual package part of the plate and then assemble the rest of the pieces on top of it.   Next we cut two 1 inch strips that run through the center of the present to form the ribbon.  These are cut in three pieces with one of the ribbon lengths running the entire 10" height of the plate while the other two are cut into 4 1/2" strips that finish forming a  +  in the center of the plate.  If you start with strips longer than 10" you can lay them on top of the glass and mark and cut off the overhang for a perfect fit.  We then cut out a large circle and four triangular pieces to make the actual bow itself.

Next four  pieces of clear glass are cut into 4 1/2" squares and laid in the four corners of the plate giving us a level surface again.  The large circle is placed in the center of the plate to form the knot of the bow while the four triangles are placed at angles to form the actual bow itself.   As a final touch we cut 12 small 1/2 inch squares out of three different colors of glass and randomly scattered them over the four white 'wrapping paper' corners to add a little festivity to the present.

Here's a look at a completed but yet un-fired plate.

Once all the glass was cut and placed, the plates went into the kiln where they were heated up to about 1450 degrees  over a period of 8 hours so that all the glass would fuse together into one piece.  The next day AFTER THE KILN HAS COMPLETELY COOLED we opened it and had three gorgeous plates (and a quick test strip to see what color changes might occur with some new glass Russ had just received.)

So all that's left now is to look at our completed projects.  Here's a look at Susan D's plate proudly displayed on plate stand.  Susan left her plate flat while our other students slumped theirs.
Slumping involves placing the flat plate into a slightly curved mold and then putting it back to the kiln and heating it just enough to make it form into the curve of the mold.   You can only do this step after your project has been fused into one piece of glass or all of the separate pieces would shift drastically as they melt.  Multiple firings (sometimes 3 or even 4) for one project is a regular occurrence when doing kiln work.
This is Jan's finished (curved) plate.   She used aventurine green glass for her bow and ribbon which give the glass a sparkly effect.  She also rounded the corners of her decorative squares so they are dots rather than square confetti pieces.
 Leigh Anne made her bow and ribbon out of a bright yellow/orange glass and ended up with a real beauty!  Leigh Anne had made this plate while working on the table along with her mother, Lisa, who was working on a plate of her very own!
 And this is Lisa's powder blue ribbon and bow plate!  Whose do you think is prettier, Lisa's or Leigh Anne's?  I know that they're both equally beautiful!

Finally, last but not least we look at Martha's lime green plate which very much resembles Susan's but Martha curved hers and changed out the blue confetti (square edges) for red polka dots.

So that's it.  Everyone had fun, everyone was thrilled with their results and everyone wants to do other projects so I guess we have to call this Fusing Workshop a success.  That means that fusing classes will surely be happening in 2021!  

Happy New Year everyone!


Thursday, December 24, 2020

That Will Require Patience (And Time)

Sometimes a finished piece needs a little extra to make it look complete.   That little extra may be as elaborate as adding wire (see Betty's Christmas Trees and Lara's Bluebird a little further along in this post) and other times it's as simple as adding a drop of paint to make a pupil or an eye ball (as in Angie's Frosty the Snowman).  When I use paint people always ask what kind it is and I answer "Pébéo Vitrea 160 paint".  It's made for glass work and comes in assorted colors by the bottle or in a paint pen.  The instructions state that you should put the painted glass into an oven for 40 minutes at 325 degrees to allow the paint to set more firmly onto the glass but on small paint jobs I see no difference and usually skip the oven step.   Should you chose to use the oven remember to paint your piece after it's been ground but BEFORE wrapping it in foil. You want the single piece of glass in your oven, not the finished stained glass piece!

That said, I've found that nail polish works wonderfully on glass and I've used it frequently throughout the years.   It's available in MANY colors and doesn't come off the glass unless you actually scrape at it.  I've never put it in the oven though and I would advise you NOT to do that with nail polish.

So then, first up this week we have Cindy's M.C. Escher inspired Marble Swirl is finished and looking nothing short of marvelous! I love the 3D effect and when it was hanging in the shop EVERYBODY commented on how nice it looked without ever noticing the cracked piece in the (very obvious) center which we fixed when Cindy came back in with the matching glass.  After that minor repair I can say that this is perfect.

Ann completed her Purple Rosebud Window just in time for the holiday and I believe I heard an audible sigh of relief come from her once it was hanging and we took this picture.  With it's smaragdine colored leaves and inner border, this window has a style all its own and is another example of Ann doing another wonderful job both quickly and efficiently.

Lisa soldered, washed and colored four Crosses, two of each design that you see pictured.  She attached two small posts to the bottom of one of the blue crosses and then drilled two matching holes into a wooden stand so that the cross could be mounted onto the pedestal.  I believe she'll be gifting these and anyone who receives one will surely be pleased.

Mary Grace can rest easily now that her Address Window is completed.   People worry needlessly that the numbers and the border have to be cut from the same glass but in a word: Nope.  As you can see, two different shades of purple not only work wonderfully together but probably even better than if she'd used the same purple.  It adds more shading while maintaining a two color (purple and amber) color scheme.

This is just one of Susan D's three Reindeer that she finished this week.   They are shaded differently but the big difference on this one is that if you look close enough you'll discover that he is Rudolph The Quintessential Reindeer!  He's a red-noser for sure, that one is!

Linda F wrapped up all the work on her Joy Panel by finishing her soldering and adding some brass channel.  Angling the letters of the word makes this far more interesting than a straight out JOY, don't you think?  It also somewhat follows the rule of thirds which we talked about a few months ago.
Started and completed in just one night, Lara's Bluebird looks stunning.  The separate feathers on the wings are actually formed by tacking eight think pieces of wire across a solid piece of glass.   You can easily make these as cuts but the thinner wire gives an added touch of elegance to the design.

Helen wrapped up the work on her LSU Window but the colors didn't display as brightly as I'd hoped in the picture.  Nonetheless, this is another window that Helen can be proud of especially since she does so much work while at home out of the class room.

Check out Angie's Frosty the Snowman!  The coal eyes and buttons are just dots of glass paint put on after this was completely finished (washed, patinaed, waxed).   I can see this being a replacement to the other snowman that our students love to make because there's less dealing with small pieces and a much easier paint job to finish it off.  And yes, I made a copy of this pattern because I can see this being a big hit next Christmas.
Beth finished her Fish Suncatcher and as I always say, you can't go wrong using assorted greens throughout all of the pieces that make up a fish.   Beth wasn't sure what to use for the fins and some of the head pieces but it all worked out wonderfully.  And believe it or not, that mauve colored belly is from the same sheet of glass that the green back was cut from!

Betty turned out six more of these Swirling Christmas Trees and has the wire work down to a science at this point in time.   Even attaching the jewel that hangs from the lower right (giving this piece an extra boost of charm) became child's play for her once she learned the trick.  What is that trick?  Cut the wire a bit larger than you need, wrap it twice, and then cut away any superfluous wire.  It's all in the wrist!
Talk about a production line-- Annette got another six of her Praying Angels finished before she left class.  She was under the gun on these but rose to the occasion and came in to class with the six of these Baby Angels only needing to be soldered.  Below is a look at just two of them because I'm just plain lazy and don't want to photoshop out 4 other backgrounds.

Here's the deal.  Cheryl completed a window this week but she was down to the wire putting the finishing touches on it so she left with it only needing to be washed, patinaed, and waxed.  That, she said, she could do at home. Here's a look at the completed window (made out of stock bevels) looking somewhat fluxy and with no light behind it. I think you get the picture though.

Next we take a quick look at all three of Susan D's Reindeer including the one we looked at earlier with the red nose. Although they are each made from the same pattern the different color schemes give each Reindeer their own personality.
And now we get the part of the Blog where we look at projects that are still being worked on.  Here's Susan R's Bird Feeder with the side sections joined by three base pieces of glass.  I've mistakenly been calling this a Bird House in previous posts but I know what it is now so from here on out I'll have it correct.   All this needs are the two semi-elaborate sections that make up the slanted roof (let's just say that it's shingled) and then this will be finished!

Kerry began a Nicholls Window and has the logo cut out and practically ground already.    Now get this-- what you see is only the bottom portion of this window.  A dog's face will grace the top of this two piece window.  I'd show you that but I haven't drawn it up for Kerry yet.   We'll see what that ends up looking like when we return next year.
In the past seven days Linda L has been as busy as can be because she got three more sections of her LSU lamp assembled!  She still needs to solder these and then attach them so they form a 4 sided lamp after which she'll attach a brass cap to the top.  All of that could possibly happen in her next class but it's sort of hard to say because lamps ARE time consuming.  At any rate you can see that these look Grrrrreat!  Wait a minute, that's the wrong tiger I'm quoting there.

Santa Clause may come just once a year but sometimes he stays late as in the case with Jan's Santa Claus window.   She's to the point where this just needs to be ground and wrapped and that means that she'll EASILY have this ready for display next Christmas. 

Betty also spent her time in class cutting out the background for a Mardi Gras Panel.  The mask itself is already ground and tacked together so all she had to do was cut a piece of glass the size of her background, place the mask on top, trace around it with a Sharpie, and then cut on the lines.  the next step for this will be cutting a border.  You can even  see all six of the Swirling Christmas Trees that she made resting above her Mardi Gras Mask.
With just one piece left to cut and then a pair of borders, Bee is just about ready to to have that big question asked-  How much is that doggie in the window?!  I have to give Bee special a special round of applause for altering the pattern so very much and making it entirely her own.  Only the curtains, the shower head, and part of the floor remain.

Here's a Gingerbread House with a bit of a twist-- you can't eat it!  Linda F had already gotten so very far on this window while only having worked on it one day.  This will be finished VERY early in the new year for sure! 


Martha DID change the lighter gray that she had used for her Pelican's back feathers and once they were ground and fitted into place she resumed her wrapping duties.  As always, I love how the Pelican and the post he is standing on cuts into the border.  It literally makes the subject matter stand out.  This is going to be a big feather in Martha's stained glass cap once it's completed.

MiMi's waiting for her wooden doors to be delivered before she begins grinding and assembling all of her Hexagon Windows so in the interim she's made another Sunflower Heart.  It's been cut, ground and wrapped leaving only the soldering left to go.  You've got to love these and, as always, MiMi's work is flawless.

Shawn got her Christmas Ornament Window all tacked together and then worked on the border which is a beautiful red/green mix.  Just like MiMi's project, there's only soldering left to go on this so I don't think it will be long now.  I just wish we could have gotten it completed in time for Christmas.

So that's it.  Another year older and deeper in debt.  We certainly hope that 2021 works out better than 2020 did but do you know what?  In terms of work accomplished I don't think we had a bad year at all here in our classes.  We certainly had a lot of laughter and we surely needed that so I'm thinking that we really can't complain.
See you again next year!