Monday, October 16, 2017

The Completion Backwards Principle

I stumbled upon a picture of a stained glass rose while surfing the internet and my first thought was, "Well, that's all wrong."   Stained glass is supposed to flow and be beautiful.  What I saw was all harsh, straight lines.   Below and to the left is the original picture.  To the right I've tweaked it just a bit to remove some unnecessary lead lines and to add curves to the ones that are needed.    There are still a number of improvements that I would make but I only fixed the most glaring of problems with this window.  Workmanship aside, don't you agree that the one on the right looks much softer and more appealing than the one on the left?   Always remember that straight lines should almost always be avoided when making stained glass (unless you are working on a piece dealing exclusively in straight lines.)

Okay then, Jan was able to finish her Sunflower Window and I really do think that it's spectacular!   I love this so much that I can easily see myself making one in the (near) future.  I think it's the overlapping yellows that really make this stand out.  You can almost actually feel the petals overlap.

Then there's Mary Grace's Hibiscus window which is another definite winner!  I knew it was a beautiful design but seeing it with some light behind it really makes this window sparkle.   At one point Mary Grace wanted to reverse some of the purple border so that the texture would be on the front, but if she wanted to do that she would have needed to do it to  ALL of the purple pieces, not just some of them.  In the end, you can see the texture perfectly through the glass and the bumpy solder lines caused by the rough texture is hidden on the back side of the window.   That's why I always recommend keeping the smooth side forward.

Roxane's Cross Window was certainly an exercise in making straight cuts that line up perfectly.   This window was almost exclusively cut with a pistol grip cutter and a straight edge, and because of that you can see that all of the lines in this window are uniform and unwavering.  Not only that but the different layers all line up perfectly without the straight lines changing angles.   It's VERY easy to screw up a window like this but Roxane made it look easy (even though it wasn't).  Great work!

Melissa completed her very large Birds and Bird Nest Window and what an exquisite job she did on it.  I don't like to dwell too long on picking out glass for a project but in this case the background glass is what really makes this window.   Fractures and Streamers always works out great as a background because it gives the illusion of trees and foliage behind the glass.   It's a built in special effect that works every single time.  Melissa should be very proud of the work she did on this window.

Angie finished her version of the Woman In A Hat Window and her interpretation is every bit as stunning as Tasha's was.  This is a gift to someone who sells Mary Kay Cosmetics and the colors compliment that perfectly.


Rowena finished another Sunflower Suncatcher and the picture easily says a thousand words about it.   This is another job well done as Rowena did it ALL by herself.

And then Rowena also made this Modern Angel as well.  Again, beautiful work with nice straight lines.


Not be be outdone, Roxane also completed a Modern Angel as well this week.  Hers is just a little bigger than Rowena's but other than that and the color, the pattern is the same.

Susan R put this finishing touches on her Welcome Window this week and she's taken it home so it can be displayed in the easel that she made it for.  She did wonderful work on this and I love how she changed the sun into an eclipse all on her own.

Sheri completed another butterfly this week and did an incredible job going around the edges with lead on this whimsical Butterfly Lawn Ornament. 


Our last completed project this week belongs to Beth who took her first stained glass lesson from us this week.  As you may have already guessed, her first project was a butterfly  and she took to each of the stained glass steps as if she were a professional.   I have a good feeling about Beth and the windows that she will be making here in class.

Mary continued cutting out her purple Irises and once they were finished she moved to the yellow sections of the flower, and then on to the green leaves.   You can already see that this is really coming together and it won't be long before Mary begins cutting her background glass.

Jeannette has the front side of her large pumpkin window completely soldered and is now working on the flip side.   That means that she'll most likely finish this off when she comes back in.  Her timing appears to be perfect because she's easily going to have this beautiful  window hanging up in time for Thanksgiving AND Halloween as well! 

Rowena has started working on this new Peacock Suncatcher that she found on the internet and it really looks like it's going to be a great design.  I can't wait to see this one completed (which will almost certainly be next week).

Linda F has started working on a vibrant red NOEL window for a wrought iron frame that she has.  Sadly, the metal slot that the stained glass must slide has prevented her from using globs for the Holly Berries since they are too thick to fit into the frame.  Also, since her background is red, red berries would get lost so she's using her artistic license and making the berries yellow.   We'll see how they look when she returns but I can guarantee that they're going to look wonderful.

Myrt is so quiet throughout class-- she just focuses on her window and before I know it she's got another completed project.  In this case her Fleur De Lis is just about ready to be foiled.   I have no clue when she got all of these pieces ground but here we are looking at a window that fits together wonderfully. 

Terry is wrapping up her work on this large Santa Face and I don't mean foiling her pieces.   That part of this project happened while she was at home.  This week she spent her time soldering and it will surely be completed next week allowing her to move along to her next project.


Martha's cutting is going slowly but surely.  Just look at how superbly these pieces fit together without even having touched the grinder yet.   This will be a cinch to grind if she keeps cutting this accurately and that's they key to a wonderful window.

Barbara H is grinding away at her Tulip window and doing a great job at it.  There are a LOT of pieces in this so it will surely take a while for her to get all of them fitting together but in the end this is going to be spectacular. Let's face facts here and admit that it already is! 


Linda L is working on a second LOVE Window and I tried to get the reflection of the fluorescent light bulb on her project so you can actually see some of the clear glass pieces that she has cut out and fitting so perfectly.   The second one always goes quicker and again we're seeing proof of that here.

Look below and you'll see Cindy's study in straight pins.   Wait a minute, is that a mermaid under there?!   Good eyes!  This tiny mermaid that measures just 8 x 2 inch suncatcher actually has 36 pieces in it!   That's 4.5 pieces in every inch and also why Cindy has it smothered  in pins-- to keep anything from shifting out of place where we might never figure out where it goes again!

Tracey began working on a Butterfly Lawn Ornament  and I love her color choice.  The only problem is that try as I may to bring the colors out it still looks as though she's used shades of grey!   Trust me, these are green.   Perhaps when there's some light behind it the camera will pick up the colors correctly.

Bonnie worked on leaves for her Flower Cornucopia and then picked out her next pattern-- a Thanksgiving Turkey with a pumpkin.   I have no doubt that she'll make short work of this project.

Brenda has her first of two Transom Windows ready to be soldered.  She sized it out with her final border and has decided to begin working on her second transom when she returns to class.   With her bevels all wrapped already she'll be cutting out background glass as soon as she walked in the door.


Susan D is still working on leaves for her Flower Cornucopia and as you can see she's been busy surrounding the edges of her hundred leaves with lead.  It's a slow and time consuming process but each week brings her closer to the finish line.

In the end we have Tasha who worked on two different window this week-- a Smiling Mouth and a Cat Window.  Then there's Becky S who worked on her Geometric window.  You might be wondering, what do Becky and Tasha have in common?  Well they both cleared out of the shop so fast that I never got a picture of their work.   That won't happen again, that's for sure!

So that's about it for this post.  We had another weekend workshop on Saturday and Sunday and if all goes according to plan you won't have to wait 4 months before I write about it!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hold Your Nose, Mary!

We had a Weekend Workshop WAY back in July that I've yet to write about.  With another coming up on us TOMORROW(!) I figured I'd best get off of my butt and commit this Workshop's activities to the internet.  As per usual we had four  students.  Out of those four we had one newcomer, one two timer, and two six timers!   Below are the windows that were made, now let's see how they all came together.

Emily took a Workshop with us back in 2016 and since she signed up again for a third Workshop I'd say that we have a yearly date with her!  She had decided to make a Beveled Fleur De this time around and she wasn't going to use any color at all in it-- just clear textures.  The first thing she did was to wrap her Fleur De Lis bevels and then pin them to the pattern so she could solder them together as one piece.

Next she cut a rectangular piece of Glue Chip and laid her cluster on top of it.  Once it was correctly positioned she traced around it and added 6 lead lines that run to the edges of the rectangular piece.  She cut along those lines and then skimmed the pieces of Glue Chip on the grinder ensuring a perfect fit.  We then used a strip cutter to cut 1/2 inch strips  to form the inner border and then Emily wrapped them and prepared to tack them to the window as well.

The final border was cut the same as the inner border but with one difference--we made it twice as wide.  Once everything was tacked together some brass channel was added to the edges of the window and then Emily began soldering.   The solder goes on as a silver color but that will change after the window is all cleaned up.

Once the soldering looked good Emily washed the window and them colored the lead with black patina.   The black takes about 45 minutes to set so Emily found herself with a little time to sit back and relax a bit.   An hour later she had washed her window for a second time, waxed the lead to prevent it from tarnishing, and then hung it up for this picture.   Emily did great and she was a pleasure to spend a weekend with. 


Next we look at what Janelle (our new student) made with us.   She decided to do the Stylized Fleur De Lis Window and below you can see that she's begun tracing her paper pattern pieces onto a piece of glass with a permanent Sharpie marker.    How does the marker come off of the glass if it's permanent?  Well, quite easily, actually!   There's not much that can mark glass so even a permanent marker comes off easily with water.

With her two shades of amber glass and her brown glass all cut out Janelle then moved along to the eight pieces of background glass.

After her glue chip background was cut out Janelle spent about two hours at the grinder to get everything fitting together perfectly.  Once that was done she wrapped the edges of each piece of glass with copper foil and then tacked the center section together with solder (lead).  Normally this window is made with just one border but Janelle saw that everyone else was going with two borders and decided to follow suit.   Once they were both attached (borders take very little time to do) Janelle began soldering her window.   Here you can see her at work with the soldering iron in her hand.

Once everything looked good we washed her window and then colored the lead copper since it matched the colors of the window so nicely.   For a first time student Janelle did wonderfully.  I was a little concerned that she might get worried if the other students moved along quicker than her due to their having done this before but that never happened.  Janelle more then held her own in class and ended up leaving with this beautiful Stylized Fleur De Lis Window.  What a GREAT job!

As a 6 time workshop attendant, Angie decided to go with a Cardinal Window this time around.  Angie cut out the two birds first and then built the background of the image around them.

She didn't cut the lead lines through the top red Cardinal because we wanted to grind everything else and then make the cuts to form the lead line branch.  this ensured that eack of the lines would connect to one another perfectly.  It's an advanced technique that really helps make aligning things so much easier.  As you can see, the red cardinal currently looks like it's floating but it won't when this is completed.

Here's the back side of Angie's Window as she begins to solder it.  Once you see the back of a window you know the front has been completed.  It's hard to see now but all of the cuts have been made through the red cardinal.

And here's the completed window.   With the final cuts added to the red cardinal he no longer appears to be floating in mid air.   Look how nicely the the lead line flows across the bird.  All the cut's align seamlessly because Angie split them AFTER the window was ground and wrapped.   Doing it any other way would have resulted in a branch that would be staggered and unconvincing.   Angie did some great work, don't you think?

So, lastly we look at the Virgin Mary Window that Roxane made.   It's a beautiful design and in this first picture you can see that Angie started cutting her green ground first.  You can cut your glass in any order you want but I always recommend cutting the glass that you know you want to use first so you can match other colors around the glass you know that you like.

Here's her window all cut out and waiting to be ground.  Roxane was careful and made sure she cut the line off of all of her pieces as she cut her glass.  That's why this fits together already without a single piece having been ground yet.  All she needs to do now is to skim her pieces and everything will fit together the first time.

And here's her window just 45 minutes later all ground and fitting together.   Grinding can go very quickly if you just cut off the line while cutting!  Look at the picture above and this one-- they are practically identical because Roxane started with pieces that already fit together.

Here's Mary all completed with a double border surrounding her.  The colors are wonderful and so is the finished window.  Roxane does wonderful work and this window proves it.

We all had a great time in class (as we always do) and even though a lot of work was accomplished there was still plenty of time for laughter as well.   When you know what you're doing as these ladies do, well, things just go smoothly from start to finish!


Monday, October 9, 2017

We're Off To See The Wizard

Slow Down.  That's the best advice I can give to any of our students and reader out there.  This past week I watched numerous students cutting glass and saw the majority of them race through their cuts as if the line was a suggestion rather than rule.   If you take your time while cutting and keep your cutter head on or better yet inside the line that you've traced, well, you can shave hours off of your time at the grinder.  I cut out a window just yesterday and spent 3 hours cutting glass and then spent just 40 minutes getting everything to fit together at the grinder.  The kicker is that this window had almost 100 pieces in it.   Just because you like to grind doesn't mean that you should allow yourself to cut poorly.  Slow down and master this craft that you love so much.   Never forget that slow and steady wins the race.
So then, Tasha's Woman In A Hat Window is certainly striking and sure to turn many heads.  She did a wonderful job on this and is moving along quicker and quicker each week she's with us.  Like all of our students she started out with some skills that needed some extra work but as you can see, she's got all of her skills down now.

Cindy has officially completed her Six Sided Panel Lamp and look at what a wonderful job she did on it.   The key to a good panel lamp is precision grinding and wrapping so that each of the panels line up with one another.  Because Cindy paid attention to all of that, this lamp aligned together perfectly.   She's applied a brass channel to the bottom edge of the lamp to help strengthen the bottom edge and this lamp is rock solid (unlike the cheap ones that you find in store now days.)

Linda L's Love Window really turned out wonderfully.  In all my years of doing stained glass I have  to say that I've never seen anything quite like this.  The idea is very novel and we've had at least 2 students ask how she got the word 'LOVE' cut into the glass.  Tricky!

Terry got all of the soldering done on her Round Poinsettia and Ribbon window and it's another beauty.  The hardest part of making a circular window is keeping it perfectly round.  As you can see, Terry managed to easily stay within her lines and make this as round as round can be.

Martha put the finishing touches on her Deer Window this week and it certainly looks beautiful.   She's contemplating making a different Deer Window a little later on down the line but up first will be a Daylily Window.  As for this window, well, what can I possibly say that the picture doesn't.

Rowena easily completed her Beveled 'S' Window and it certainly didn't need any extra bevels to fill up any blank areas in the background glass.   The oval that she put around the 'S' helped free the window from extraneous and ugly lead lines while filling up the window as well.  Very nice.


Tracey's Deer Window was made from the same pattern that Martha used but Tracey went with a completely different color scheme which makes the windows look very different.   Tracey's soldering abilities are really starting to take shape and I suspect that it won't be long until she's an old pro at this.


Bonnie managed to keep pretty busy this week as she completed her Pumpkin Suncatcher (which she will be displaying in a plate easel), and two of the cutest Ladybugs I've ever seen.  Although the pumpkin is large for a suncatcher, both ladybugs are so small that they can easily reside on top of the pumpkin.  Small is never easy but I really do believe that Bonnie had fun making these.

Sheri completed her Curved Wing Butterfly while she was in class and even had time to move along to cutting and grinding another.  She had a great time seeing how this was tacked together to form all of the curves that make these Butterflies so impressive.


This week Susan R manage to get all of her Welcome Window wrapped and then tacked together.   She's was unsure what color border she wanted to go with so we'll see what she picks when she returns next week especially since the front side is essentially soldered.

Shelley's Kokopelli Window is now all ground and fitting together perfectly.   I love how she always gets her panels squared by grinding it within wooden yardsticks-- it helps insure that her border will go on as straight as possible because there's no way that any pieces can extend beyond the line.   I'd honestly love to see this done on every window that is made.

Mary got to work cutting out the purple glass that she's making her Iris Window with.   The glass is very rough and certainly feels as though it should be hard to cut, but by using a light amount of pressure on her cutter Mary was able to score these pieces and have them break just the way she wanted them to.  This is going to be another beautiful window for sure.

Susan D spent her time soldering the edges of all of her leaves and making sure that the outer edges had a bead on them.  Without a bead the copper foil would surely pull away from the glass especially since this project will be outside in the element (i.e., the weather) when it is completed.   If you ask me these are as sturdy as they can possibly be.

Myrt is busy grinding away at her ribbon bordered Fleur De Lis Window and she's making excellent progress.   A great portion of this has been ground and it won't be long until Myrt is ready to begin wrapping.  Sadly, wrapping that heavily textured clear background glass can be tedious.   A wooden dowel with a sharp point on it is VERY important for getting into all the nooks and the crannies on the back side of the glass.

This is the second Butterfly that Sheri worked on this week and as you can see the lowermost part of the wing doesn't quite fit the pattern.  She had one piece of glass that broke while she was cutting it and it was so close that we altered the other two pieces that it touched so we could still use it.  Once this butterfly comes off from the pattern you'll never suspect that we changed it.


Jeannette came in and worked on getting her final border attached to her Large Pumpkin Window.  once that was done she began soldering the front side of this window.   Before the front side was completed I cut four pieces of Zinc channel and Jeannette got those attached as well.   This window is very close to becoming a completed project and it is very lovely indeed.


Betty began work on this geometric design and she's not only moving along quickly with it- she's moving along precisely as well.   Symmetry is VERY important on a window like this and in just one class Betty has managed to get everything cut out and even partially ground.


Roxane was back in class this week and she got the entire front side of her Cross Window soldered.   With just the back side of this window left to solder, and with some of that back side soldered already, I'm going to say that it becomes a completed project when she returns to class.  I can't wait to see this lit up.

Angie is back with us for the month of October and she started her version of the Woman In A Hat Window while she was at home and almost completed it while she was in class.   She decided to go with two borders and is just about ready to get the final border attached to her window.  Once that's done she's free to solder.   I'm going to say that this will easily be completed upon her return.


Cindy has started a very small Mermaid Window which will be measuring just 8 inches wide.  That's not a lot of space,but Cindy is still managing to get a lot of detail in that little Mermaid.  She's cutting the scales for the mermaid tail one at a time and grinding as she goes just to make sure none of the detail is lost along the way.  

Brenda got the background cut for her first small Beveled Transom Window  and you couldn't even begin to guess that the bevel clusters were altered to fit inside of her beveled border.  I'm not sure what will happen next for Brenda though.   She can either finish this off with a border and some solder or move along to get the center of the second window while she's fresh off cutting the background to this one.

Mary Grace got the front side of her Hibiscus Window soldered and we were able to knock out the two pieces of the leaves that stopped at the edge of the left side border (see the red arrow below).   Since all of the other leaves overlap the borders it was odd to see one leaf cut flat.   After knocking out two pieces we replaced them with longer leaves and now the effect is complete.  This will almost surely be done next week.

After she completed her Beveled 'S' Window, Rowena started working earnestly on  this Sunflower.  She's already begun wrapping these pieces so we'll surely be seeing her working on something new when she comes back to class.

When Jan came in she had all but one piece of her Flower/Sunburst Window wrapped.  The only reason she didn't wrap that last piece was because it wasn't cut yet.   After she tacked the other pieces together we were able to put a piece of glass under her window and then trace around the edges of the missing piece, then a quick skim on the grinder gave her a perfect fit.  With the front side of this almost soldered I'd say that Jan is well on the way to carrying this window home as a completed project when she returns.

Ann re-cut a few of the pieces to her latest Stylized Cross Suncatcher and then set upon grinding it.   Once that was completed she started wrapping all of her glass pieces with copper foil and by the time she left it was all wrapped and ready ti be tacked together. The most amazing part of this story is that she got all of this done in just one short hour!  If she hadn't had to leave early she would have easily finished this in just one class.   

Barbara H has officially finished cutting all but the borders for her Tulip Window.   Once she cut out her final piece she put a metal square on the lower left corner of her window and then moved on over to the grinder.   If you look closely you can see that she already has a good start on her grinding and I think Barbara is more comfortable than ever when it comes to making stained glass.

And that's it for this week.   Classes start again tomorrow so expect to see even more windows completed when we return again.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks