Monday, August 18, 2014

Looking All Cattywampus

Curves.  Almost every window made consists of a curve or two and for the beginner they can be a sticking point.  Curves need to flow gracefully and they shouldn't have bumps, angles or divots in them.  Here are some graceful curves:

And these are, shall we say, NOT so graceful:

The biggest problem I see students face in getting a curve to flow naturally is understanding that the entire curve shouldn't come in contact with the grinder (after the initial skim)--  JUST THE PROBLEM SECTION OF THE CURVE!  In the picture below the only the only part of the glass that should touch the grinder head is marked with a red line.  

Once students stop grinding the entire length of a curve over and over they'll discovered the secret behind smooth flowing lines.  In layman's terms:  Only the problem sections need to be ground.  Sections of a piece that fit within your pattern's lines should never come in contact with the grinder head again.
Now let's get on to our student's projects.  We have a total of nine completed windows to look at this week along with 17 windows that are currently under construction.  That's a lot of work happening in the shop!  So let's take a look at all these projects starting with (as always) the completed windows first.

In no apparent order, we're going to start things off with Rowena who finished her Grape Window this week and I think I can safely say that it's everything that she'd hoped it would be.  Her soldering was superb and her colors are perfect.  It took a week of work for each cluster of grapes, but the end result makes it all worth while.  A beautiful window for sure.

I remember when Linda L came in for her first class.  When she completed her butterfly and I asked her what she'd like to make for her first project she told me that she planned on making a Mickey Mouse Window but that she wanted to get some experience under her belt first.  And now here we are looking at her Mickey Mouse Window.  She combined her love for mice(?) and cruising into this wonderfully relaxing window.  A job well done.


Then Mary Grace put the finishing touches on her Iris Window and it's another beautiful project.   The design on this has been tweaked from the original pattern and it flows so much better.  Mary Grace has been taking her time and not rushing things which shows in her final project.  We want quality, not quantity!

Becky S's Autumn Leaf Window was also completed this week and the colors are all about Autumn.  Becky picked all Cathedral glass for this window so it lights up brightly but not vividly.  There's nothing worse than a window with too many bright colors.  They always scream, "HET! Look at ME!"  All in all this is another window that Becky can be proud of.

Betty's Octagonal Iris Window has left the building.  Yep, it's officially complete and looking great.  She changed a few things from the original pattern and I love when students do that.  When people first start doing stained glass they think that the pattern is something that can NEVER be changed.  They think the same about colors as well.  And then they finally get comfortable and say, "I don't like the way this looks here" and they change it.  That's what this is all about-- making a pattern your own!  Change it up a bit, make it with different colors, add another border or even change the shape!  Have fun with it!  And that's just what Betty did.

Next we're going to take a look at Paula's Parrot suncatcher.  It's a LARGE suncatcher and in the end she decided to leave it as is and not turn it into a window with a background and a border that surrounds it.  And in this case I think it was a wonderful decision.  Her color choices are flawless and her workmanship is the same.  Paula's on a roll!

Carol worked on her two small butterflies while she was at home during the week so when she came in all she had to do was wash all six of her butterflies, color them and then add the chains that they all hang from.  Now she has two sets of three Butterflies.  Her work has really come a long way since she started with us and the soldering that she did this week deserves a special round of applause.  I think she's really got the hang of this!

And here's Terry's latest window, the Humming Bird and Hanging Fuschia Panel.  She's swapped out the bird for one that she saw in a book and then changed the overall appearance by using a completely different shade of green.  The end result looks completely different from the ones we've seen before and as always, Terry did a stunning job on this through and through.

And rounding things off in our completed projects section of this update is this Ribbon Heart Suncatcher that Linda L designed and made while at home during the week.  She had an issue with the bottom left ribbon being weak but we shored that up by adding a length of wire around the outside perimeter of the suncatcher which was then hidden in the lead bead that surrounds it all.  Linda has another of these to finish so we'll most likely see that one next week.

Ann has made major headway with her 'Fleur De B' Window and a second Fleur De Lis of a completely different variety.  She told me that she's going to be doing at least two more of the Lettered Windows so my heart goes out to her.  I think doing all those little corner FDL's  would just about drive me crazy!

Becky S has a number of these large Sunflower Suncatchers cut out and she's grinding them pretty quickly.  And you may be able to see in the picture that the red one is already wrapped and tacked together.  She's really on a roll with these.

And speaking of Sunflowers, Betty has started this double Sunflower Window and only has the flower petals and the border left to go.   She would have started cutting the yellow leaves but her glass didn't manage to get delivered in time.  But it's here now so she'll be cutting the leaves for her sunflowers when she comes back in.

Bonnie got her Magnolia Window tacked and her background pieces cut and wrapped.  I think she's going to add a final border and keep the window round which I think is the best choice largely due to the fact that the leaves are cut off to make the window round.  Adding corner pieces will just make the cut off leaves look odd.  At any rate, I know this is going to turn out just fine because Bonnie isn't afraid to ask for opinions from everyone else in class and then go with the majority.

Carol finished her Butterflies and then began working on an LSU Window.  There are a lot of straight cuts in this window and Carol has decided to use the pistol grip cutter to make sure that none of her straight lines have wavers in them.  She's already had her cutting lesson and did great cutting all of her test pieces. When she returns I think she'll have this all cut out and then move along to working at the grinder.  And she'll be pleased to know that this is an easy window to grind.

Cindy's Calla Lily Window is moving right along.  Her leaves are all almost all cut and ground, and two of her Calla Lilys have been cut as well (they're just hard to see because they've been cut from white glass).   I have a feeling that this will be done before we know it and then Cindy will be moving on to a panel lamp.

With just a few final left side pieces left to go on her Stylized Cross Window, Jeanne is making great progress.  Once this is tacked together she'll just add a center and then begin the task of cutting out her diamond top and bottom borders followed by her background.  After that she'll be home free!  This is really looking great and I dare anyone to say otherwise. 

Jeannette is so close to completing her Grape windows that I can almost taste the wine.  With the front completely soldered and the back about halfway done I have no doubt that she'll be taking this home next week.  It's an amazing looking window and you'll see it lit up when we return.

Lynn's Terrarium is nearing completion as well.  She has the bottom completely soldered now and will wash and color it when she comes back in.  I have a dollar bill taped to it so you can get a feel for how large this actually is.  Once this bottom section is completed Lynn will quickly tack the lid together and then rest it on the top of the bottom to ensure a nice fit.  (I'm purposely trying to be confusing there!) I think this is going to be a standout project.

Myrt has dropped yet another project and has now begun working on this Sunflower instead of her beveled window.  Just how many irons does this woman have in the fire???  All kidding aside, she knew  that she was going to be making this for someone but didn't realize how quickly they were going to need it.  I don't think this is going to take her long at all and then she'll get back to her Beveled Transom Window (and her Outhouse Window).


Terry's latest panel (again of her own design) is looking stunning already.  The feathers in this Heron looks amazing and it's largely due to the placement of them on the single sheet of glass that the bird has been cut from.  Terry just seems to understand everything about drawing up patterns for stained glass and knows how to hide lead lines and (even better yet) avoid the superfluous ones altogether.

I'm impressed at how quickly Shelly has tore through her Mermaid Window.  She has everything but the bubbles all cut out and she's begun grinding already!  This window just screams double border to me so I want Shelley to begin thinking about what she may want to do for a border color.  I have an interesting idea in mind but I'm not sure how it will look until I lay some glass down next to the window  and actually see it.  And I think we'll do that when Shelly comes back in. 

Who was that strange woman who came in this past week with two semi-completed Fleur De Lis Windows and tons of food?  Rumor has it that it was Martha, but we haven't seen her in ages so I'm not really sure.  She also had these amazingly thick eyelashes and I don't recalls Martha's lashes being that voluminous but everyone said it was her so I guess I have to believe it.  At any rate, she's ready to solder these bad boys now and she can't wait to be finished with them.


And here at the very end we take a look at the birdhouse pattern that Linda F is starting.  I discovered a problem with her pattern that I need to fix when she comes back in, but it's a tiny one and easily remedied.  Whoever (me) drew it up for her (me) must have fallen asleep at the wheel (me).   So guess who has to fix it now?  ME!  But it's still beautiful, don't you think?

And that about wraps things up this week.  Come back next week to see what our newest projects will include!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

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