Monday, July 6, 2020

A Stack Of Chaos

How to positioning your pattern pieces onto your sheet of glass is a VERY important decision to make especially if inside curves are involved with the piece you are positioning.  Look at the piece below.  It's a fairly simple piece but the inside curve should always give you a bit of pause or concern.

Most people would position it on a sheet of glass as shown below.   To be honest that's not incorrect as we like to line up straight edges with the straight sides of the sheet of glass,  However, positioning it this way leaves no support for the inside curve.  The possibility of our piece breaking incorrectly is increased because there is very little glass 'behind' the curve on either the left or below the piece.  Because of this the glass could easily break along the red line due to momentum.

Below we show far better placement because for the glass to break incorrectly (again indicated by the red dotted line) the break would have to travel through a lot more glass which means that the piece is less likely to break.

Next week we'll dive even deeper into this curved piece of glass but meanwhile keep in mind that the more glass you have 'behind' your piece, the better the chances are that it will break correctly along your score line.

Now let's look at Shelley's Titus Window which really looks stunning with it's bold colors and modern design aesthetic. The lack of a border also enhances the avant-garde flavor of this window that many students first thought was an odd choice but who then came around to believe that it was neoteric with its thoroughly sumptuous implementation.  Myself, I love it!  It's different and it captures your attention-- that makes it everything that a stained glass window should be!

Next up we have Lisa's Butterfly Emergence Window which is another head turner.  Many people couldn't envision its end result until it stared them in the face but that's the way truly artistic pieces are made.  More expressive pieces are usually overshadowed by the weight of their construction and can't truly be appreciated until they are completed as in the case of this gorgeous window.  Wow, listen to me-  I'm starting to sound like an art critic instead of a blogger!

Now our next window just radiates inspiration!  Annette did wonderful work and created a piece that will almost surely be made over and over again.   I just wish my single picture of it hadn't turned out blurry!   I've done what I could to sharpen things up but it's muted the colors of the cross which I can't get to reflect its actual colors.  Still, I believe the point comes across and it proves that this is another standout piece in Annette's stained glass portfolio.


Betty completed the Address Window that she made for a Wrought Iron Pole that she purchased just for this application.  She couldn't hang it as she initially wanted to but I believe our solution works even better than what Betty originally envisioned.  Address Windows are quickly becoming the fashion here in our classes and Betty's work will do nothing but further promote the desire for our students to make more of these.  By the way, there's your lottery number for the week!


Lara put the finishing touches on her latest Flower Window and her use of iridized purple for the ball in the upper corner photographed perfectly (which is never the case for iridized glass).  There's a third companion window ahead on the horizon for Lara so don't be surprised to see something similar in the immediate future.  The simplicity of this design makes it nothing short of charming!

 Angie started and completed two bird Suncatchers this week, the first being a Beveled Dove and the second being a Large Swan.  Something tells me that the Swan is going to be popular around here...

Jeannette, as expected, got the soldering all touched up on her Religious Themed Window and once we hung it up it really shined.  The use of two different purples for the borders is what really makes this window.  I'll be honest and tell you that using different shades of the same color in a window usually enhances the overall look as you can easily see in this piece.  Jeannette is also working on a Coffee Window that I somehow didn't manage to get a picture of.  I guess I'll show you that when we return next week.

Linda L made a flurry of Mixed Drink Suncatchers and now we have 2 other students making them as well!  They're festive, they're cute and they make me salivate! I suspect I'll be handing out more of these patterns next week  now that everyone can see what these look like completed.  Oh, and congratulations to Linda for mixing up the colors and making them all different!

Kerry finished his LSU / Tiger Window and when he had it all washed and ready to hang we discovered that one of the eyes had cracked. Since the eyes are made out of glass globs it was a definite hassle to remove.  While breaking it free we also broke one of the pieces of glass surrounding it  which actually went better than I expected since I was sure  we'd lose BOTH pieces that surround the pupil.  All in all the repair took about 25 minutes but now you'd never know there was a problem at all.


Linda F completed her Sunflower Panel and already has another one in the works that is very near completion.  Here's a look at the first one and next week I believe we may very well be looking at a similar image mixed in among our completed projects.

Tracey's new Cardinal design is in the midst of being ground so that all of her pieces fit together perfectly.   She's left out the branch in the upper left of the window  (which is visible on the pattern through the glass that she's used for her background).   We will add a simple lead line coming from the beak that extends to the left side of the window to make the cut for the beak possible.

Belinda's semi-circular Birds On A Branch Suncatcher is also coming together as you can now clearly see what it looks like in glass and what color choices she's made.   She's got some amazing detail here and she's also learned that you need to fill in the open areas between pieces with clear glass to give stability to the project.  And when I say clear glass, I don't mean textured.  The idea is to create the illusion that those open areas are empty which textured glass won't do.)

With her borders cut and attached as well as the channel being added to her panel, Ann has begun soldering her Rosebud Window.    I apologize for the brownish tint to her border-- it actually doesn't look like that at all and once we get some light behind it you'll be able to truly appreciate the actual color of her border.  Cameras mixed with fluorescent lights can sometimes mess up certain colors.

This is Susan D's Pelican which she successfully ground during class.  Trust me when I say that it's a far bigger piece than you might think when you see this picture.  It's a different kind of big bird for sure!  I'd tell you that it won't be long before this first one is completed but I got a text from Susan last night saying that she already has it assembled and decorating her back yard already.  She's not only capable of accomplishing great work in our shop but at home on her own as well.  I'll share a picture of the finished piece in our next edition of the blog.


Betty has begun making a Scrap Owl which is exactly what the name implies.  Utilizing almost nothing but scrap glass this owl will be colorful upon its completion.   Now that the face is done Betty is free to let go of convention and let chaos control the colors!  Rules no longer exist in this piece.

After she finished wrapping all of the pieces on her Fruit Bowl Jeanne L discovered that just one piece needed to be re-cut to make this fit together perfectly.   In a window this complex that's a very good end result because the foil expands everything and it doesn't expand evenly throughout the piece.   She's going to tack this together and then replace the missing piece before cutting out the background glass when she returns.


Here's Martha's newest Streetlamp window with its background glass almost completely cut.  We only had one sheet of glass and things fit VERY tightly so we were VERY careful when it came time to separate those pieces.  Once that was done we were able to rest easy and that's when I wasn't VERY careful and I broke one her pieces that I wanted to help cut.   Never run your cutter off the edge of the glass-- that's how this was broke.   Luckily, another sheet of glass was just delivered so we can replace it now. 

Roxane ground her entire Angel in just two weeks and you can color me impressed.  I didn't think to count the pieces but there certainly are a lot of them because it's all anyone says when they see it.   Now she's ready to wrap this and then tack it together before setting it into whatever background glass she decides. (I love her face-- it reminds me of Roxane.)

And Mary is also making excellent headway on her Magnolia Window. She's got a good 80% of it ground and I suspect that she'll be wrapping pieces when we see her again.  The leaves look stunning because she randomly mixed up the pieces between the light and dark sections of one sheet of green glass.   Sometimes you really want contrast and this is one of those times.

MiMi has her Combat Vet Paratrooper Window all cut out and she's already knee deep in the hoopla into the grinding process.  She's begun with the piece that rests in the corner of the square she's pinned down and is working on radiating outward from there.  Look out because this will be landing soon.

Mario just needs a face and some gloves and he will be ready to be ground.  Shawn's cutting is wonderful but I needn't state that here because you can already see how well this is fitting together.  No one is going to mistake Mario for Sonic-- that's for sure!

Barbara came in and got all of her bevels wrapped and even managed to get the center bevel tacked together.   Since this didn't come with a pattern we had to make our own and that involved pinning the bevel cluster together, tracing it out, and then folding the pattern in half to make a symmetrical drawing to build it on that works with both sides.  It may sound easy but it can be time consuming.  Of note is the fact that once you have the pattern it can be used with ONLY that particular bevel cluster.   Others clusters, even though they're the same, will differ and not fit the pattern. Now that the bevel is tacked Barbara can cut the four remaining pieces when she comes back in next week.

Here's a look at Susan R's interpretation of the Mixed Drink Suncatcher.   She's going with a pink drink and since one of the scrap pieces was close to fitting the umbrella she's going to make it fit  and have an umbrella that matches the drink itself.  How's that for accessorizing!

And here's Linda F's second Sunflower Window all cut out and waiting to be ground.  The colors may be slightly different but the design is the same.   It won't be long now.

And we end this post with a look at the pattern for Cindy's Three Birds Window.   The actual birds and the berries that hang from the branches have already been tacked together so we designed this pattern around those finished pieces.   We'll get a better idea of what this will look like when we see it again next week and some of the glass has been placed onto the pattern.

Wow, I've been thinking that we haven't seen many completed pieces in the past few weeks but this week we had an overflow of finished windows!   I think thinks are beginning to return back to normal in our classes!


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Meeting Of the Lines

Our tip this week is about watering your grinder.  Yep, you must feed it water every now and again and 99.9% of the people reading this already know this fact but what numerous people don't know is that the sponge behind your grinding head needs maintenance also.  As you grind your pieces the sponge becomes infused with ground, powdered glass that needs to be cleaned out from time to time so water can flow through the sponge freely.  Simply remove your sponge, immerse it in clean water and keep squeezing it until it easily compresses.  Also, when I add water to my grinder I always pour a little onto the sponge itself.  It may not do much but I feel it primes things and helps get water flowing more freely onto the grinding wheel.

Okay so our first completed project this week is Belinda's Oval Iris Window.  Look at how smoothly that oval flows!  Her cutting is wonderful and her colors make this a strikingly eye catching piece.  Impressive indeed but Belinda made it so why would we be surprised about how wonderful this is?

Melissa finished her Ribbon/Cross Suncatcher which is a symbol for Hope and if you look very closely you'll notice that the cross itself is actually the letter 'T' which stands for the last name of the family it was made for.   It's a very clever mixing of symbols that Melissa designed herself. To top it all off Melissa had the words "Power Of Prayer", "God Watches", "God Listens", and "God Answers Prayers" fired onto the cross so they will always be remembered.  Inspirational indeed!

Linda F put the finishing touches on her Butterfly Panel and walked out the door with it ready to slide into its metal frame which resides in her yard.  She's making a lot of these for all of the seasons and for both herself and others that have the same frame!

Angie's newest Cross/Heart Panel was done quickly and succinctly.  Those reds are so very vibrant and they are proof that you can mix textures within the same piece.  Yep, the red in the heart is different from the red that makes the border.  I usually try to match the color but change the glass when I make borders for my windows.  Not always, but a lot.

Ann is back!  It's been a while but Ann came into class this week with a pattern in mind and has proven that taking two years off doesn't mean that you'll forget anything.  Yes, in just one class she managed to cut, grind and wrap a full sized window.  When she returns next week she will surely have her double borders attached and start to solder this.

Betty got all of her Address Window cut, ground and even tacked together for the most part.  She only needs to attach the final border and then this will be ready for solder.  Although you can't see it in the picture she's mixed different blacks between the border and the numbers in this window.  Variety can make some wonderful pieces, don't you agree?

It's a me, Mario!  Shawn is making this Mario Window for her son, Parker and I think it's going to be stunning.  Cartoon characters always work exceptionally well in stained glass as you can already see just by looking at the pattern.  This is going to be a fun window indeed.


Tracey's latest Cardinal Window just has about 5 pieces of background glass and 2 pieces of black to cut out and then she'll be ready to begin grinding.  Those yellow flowers contrast perfectly against the bright red bird.  Tracey is the Cardinal Queen for sure!

Jeannette has her latest Wine, Grapes and Cheese Religious Scene Window all tacked together and even has 98% of it soldered.   She'll without a doubt be coloring this when she comes back in so expect to see this completed in our next post.

Linda F is already making another widows for the Iron stands that decorate her yard.  You saw her completed butterfly in the beginning of this post and this is her Sunflower design.  These panels are easily slid into place allowing her to change up her yard by simply changing the stained glass panel within it.


With her borders attached and the front side completely soldered, Annette's Cross and Dove window is also very nearly completed.  This is another window with a 'broken' background (not literally broken!) that is becoming VERY popular in our classes.  It's a very antique looking effect.


MiMi's Combat Vet Window only needs to have its letters cut out and then she'll be able to move on over to the grinder.  Talk about fast work!  This is going to make an old combat vet VERY happy.


Our Wednesday class was so very nice even though it rained most of the day.  Why?  Because Linda L spent the day making Mixed Drinks for us!  Do I even need to point out just how GREAT these look.  I just wish they'd been real!

Roxane's Angel Window is taking shape quickly as well.  She finished cutting out the dress of her angel and has the head and the wings are ground already.   Once this is tacked together we're going to make it the center piece of a rectangular window so there will be some background glass and border(s) involved later on down the line.


Jeanne L has her fruit officially wrapped in foil and now you are beginning to see some of the definition that this window consists of.   Once the brown basket itself is wrapped you'll see all of the work that Jeanne has invested into this project.  Gorgeous.

Mary's Magnolia has been completely cut out and if you look carefully you'll see the heads of pins lining numerous pieces in this project which means that Mary spent her night standing in front of the grinder.  This looks like it will be completed before you know it.

Speaking of completed before you know it, Shelley's Titus Window will surely be finished when she comes back in.   She's not adding a border to this so a simple black zinc channel will surround this stained glass interpretation of a painting.   If there weren't two lead lines extending to the each side we'd have to put a border on this for structural stability but it meets the requirements to skip a border.


Next up we look at Lisa's Butterfly Emergence Window which is all soldered and just needs to be washed and colored.   Since she's using black patina  we like to leave the patina sit on the window for about 45 minutes to allow for a nice solid,even coloring.  Even then I still like to wait 24 hours before waxing it.  That said, you can wax it right away if you use VERY little pressure with a thorough amount of wax.

Kerry's working on the back side of his LSU Window now and that means that the end is near.  He's got about a quarter of the back side soldered so he's probably got at least one more class to go before he gets to wash this off, patina it and hang it up!

Martha has one of her street lamps ground and fitting together perfectly.   I forgot to ask her if she's reducing the size of the overall window or not.  That I will find out and reveal when we come back again next week.  If you look closely you can see the red outline that perfectly surrounds the lamp and will mark the edge of the window if she decides to make this smaller.


And lastly we look at and empty frame that Cindy hollowed out which will soon contain three birds.  You'll see just what that looks like next week when the pattern is officially drawn up.


And that's it this time around!


Monday, June 22, 2020

The Drunk Of Cocodrie

I promised a tip this week and I actually have two of them which may seem simple, but numerous students over the past 2 or 3 weeks have said that I never specifically stated these important issues:

1)  If a piece is hanging over the line on the pattern you MUST grind it so that it stays within its lines.  Once one piece is off it can cause other pieces to stray over the lines which in turn causes others to do the same.   The lines on the pattern are there for a reason.  Follow them.

2)  When you are at the grinder you get to control how much glass comes off of the piece you are grinding by adjusting the amount of pressure you apply to it.  The harder you press, the more you grind off.  Learning how to utilize pressure is the key to grinding quickly and efficiently.

Ok, with that out of the way let's look at the biggest window we've seen completed since we re-started  classes.  Yes, it's finished!  Susan R's Seafood Window has seen the light of day and it looks stunning.  This is the largest Window that Susan has ever made but she never gave up and rushed through it.   She wanted this to be a showcase piece and it surely is.

Susan D put together this 3D Fairy and figured out how to tack the wings on all on her own.  The hardest part in making these is that if the wings are off it will hang crooked.  This one, as you can see, hangs perfectly.

Angie finished up the work on her first Dragonfly Lawn Ornament and it's a fine piece indeed.  She used a lot of clear glass in this but kept the body solid which helps hide the stake that supports this in a flower pot.

Also, Linda L finished 4 more Bird Lawn Ornaments, two of which are pictured here.   The lead beaks these birds sport may be hard to see but when you see these in person they really add an extra bit of charm.

And Betty wrapped up another Mary and Child Suncatcher.  These go very quickly for Betty which is a good thing because she can't seem to make them fast enough.

Melissa is back and she cut out the arms of her cross which had inspirational phrases fired onto them, and then ground the entire cross before calling it a night.  Who wastes time?  Not Melissa!

Mary's back and her round Magnolia Window made huge incredible strides towards completion this week as she was able to cut out all of the leaves and the petals as well!  All that's left to cut out are about 11 pieces of clear background glass after which Mary can begin grinding.    


MiMi has begun working on a Combat Vet Paratrooper Window and in just one class she managed to first trace and cut out her pattern pieces.  Once that was done she cut the background and the parachute cords out of actual glass.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this will go pretty quickly for her.

Jeannette began work on this Cross Suncatcher and she already has it ready for solder.  This is probably the most popular Cross pattern that we have and Jeannette can knock it out as if it were just four pieces of glass rather than 15.

Roxane is also moving briskly through the creation of her Angel Window.   With just a few pieces left to cut out in her robes, this will undoubtedly be ready to be grind when she comes back in.

With all of her glass now ground and fitting together Linda F is ready to begin wrapping each of the pieces that make up her latest Butterfly Window.  Look at all of those pins.  It's a glorious sight!

Lisa's Butterfly Emergence Window has all of its glass cut, ground, wrapped and tacked together.  She's all set now to solder this piece and then hang it up!  You've got to love how perfect that circle and the border is.

Belinda is almost finished with her Oval Iris Window and as you can see it's fitting together wonderfully.   She doesn't have the actual Iris petals cut yet so she's begun grinding from the bottom up.   I think we'll see those pretty Irises get cut out when she comes back in.

Susan D got four of the Fish for her Pelican piece just about finished while she was here this week.  I may be wrong but I think she only has to wash and color these now.  Next week I'll show you the Pelican itself and get ready to be impressed-- it's a biggie!

Kerry's LSU/Tiger Eyes Window is another project that only needs to be soldered now.  You can't see the pupils in the eyes right now but when they have light behind them they really come to life.  I'll explain how we do that when you see the finished piece.

Shelley's Titus Window is sooooo very close to being completely ground.  I love the red sunglasses.  They bring Sally Jesse Raphael to my mind when I see them!  She may very well get this tacked together when she comes back in.

That's not one but two(!) Franklin Street Lights that you see here.   Martha needs another pair and she's making them the smart way-- by cutting the two out at the same time.  She may be cutting down the overall size of the window as well, but we'll see what she decides in our next post.

Tracey  began work on a completely new Cardinal design and she's decided to leave off the branch in the upper left corner.  With her colors all picked out and some of her pattern pieces traced out Tracey will begin cutting glass when she comes back in.  And just in case you missed it, she already cut out the brown branch pieces that the cardinal is sitting on.

Lastly, we look at the bevel layout for a Bevel Cluster Window that Barbara H will be start when she comes back next week.   She's taken these home with her to wrap and next week I think she'll manage to get the center all cut out.  These beveled windows get made quickly!

And that wraps things up this week!

Bayou Salé  GlassWorks