Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Does Your Dog Bite?

It's been a busy week but before we start looking at what our students have been working on let's review something that sometimes causes problems.   When working on a stained glass piece you need 2 paper patterns. One that you cut up into the individual pattern pieces that you trace onto your glass and then a second copy that you build your project on top of.   Most times we use a sheet of poster board for the copy you cut up and to make that copy we use a piece of carbon or tracing paper.

The thing is, people are always taping the pattern to the carbon paper and just laying it on top of the poster board.   If you do that then any shift of the pattern results in a copy that does NOT line up with the original pattern.

To prevent this place the pattern on top of the poster board and then tape them together securely along one side or the top of the pattern.  Once they are firmly attached with tape (pins don't work well for this at all) simply slide the carbon paper between them and then begin tracing.  If the carbon shifts nothing will happen, but if the pattern and and poster board shift you will always have a mess.   Remember to tape the pattern to the poster board to prevent any problems from occurring (unless you accidentally put the carbon in upside down!)

So then, Carol's Hummingbird and Flowers Window is complete and the bevels in the opposing corners add so much to the elegance of the overall design.  The border is perfection and the work is among the best we've seen.   Carol even redesigned the hummingbird in the pattern by herself!  Expect to see this done again because other people have said that they really love this window for good reason!

Jan's Crucifix Window is smaller than you may first think but that only makes it all the more impressive.   It sure turned out great but the finishing touch on this results from Jan not hanging it in a window but rather using it as a table piece by displaying it on a sturdy metal plate holder.  It's perfect!

Martha's Deer Head Window has been completed and it's such a great masculine piece.   After endless flowers and birds it's nice to see something a little different walk out the door.  Martha certainly did some wonderful work on this.


Beth finished two projects with us this week and although they have nothing in common they also have a lot in common as I will soon point out to you.  Up first is her Iris Window which features an iridized  blue glass for the flower petals.  Beth is really happy with how this turned out and I'm glad that she didn't give up on it.


Beth's second project was another one of her beautiful Celtic Knot Crosses which matches her Iris Window because she used the same iridized blue glass in both projects.   I can see Beth's ability to follow her pattern growing with each project she makes with us.

Linda made this gorgeous Mickey Mouse Window that she found online and he is one proud American Mouse!   Pay attention to how Linda ground the nose into the center of Mickey's snout.   The extra lead lines needed to cut it into place threw off the design so the 10 minutes it took to grind out an oval in the middle of the piece more than paid off in the end.  

Linda also completed another of her Cardinal Suncatchers which she can now essentially make with her eyes closed.

You've just GOT to love Susan R's Stained Glass Scissors.  I made a pair myself and they were the first thing we sold out in Alexandria, when we did our show.  Susan saw them hanging in the shop and decided to make a pair of her own and they are nothing short of perfect.

Susan D has two completed projects this week and we're starting off with her beautiful Ballerina Suncatcher which is displayed here in a beautiful gift box.  Maybe if I take up ballet I'll get a fancy suncatcher from Susan.   I know she loves to see me dance... (I have THE move.)

And this is Susan D's second completed project this week.   This tranquil Sunset scene has gone over very well in our classes with just about everyone requesting the pattern but I do believe that Susan is the first person to actually complete one.

Brenda wrapped up her final Beveled Transom Window and finished it off by coloring the lead black.   I always say that when you make a window out of nothing but clear glass you should consider coloring the lead black because the contrast is so striking.


Brenda also completed this Heart and Ribbons Window during class but didn't have the time to wash or color it before she left.  That's easy to do at home though and that means that she's got this job completed even if we don't have a great picture of it here on the Blog.

Brenda's sister Terry was in the same boat as well because she also managed to get her window completed before class ended but she was also unable to wash and color it.  Again, that's easy enough for her to do at home and then she won't have to wait another week before being able to deliver this lovely window.

Melissa's Sacred and Immaculate Heart Window is already taking shape with just one week of work into it. The hardest part (the small flowers that consist of 32 pieces fitting inside of a 1 x 5 inch area) is behind her so now Melissa will be able to relax and breathe a bit easier while working on this window from here on out.

Myrt has all but the background of her Dog Window cut out and as always her work is exceptional.  She's going to tack this together before she cuts out her three background pieces and once that's done you'll be able to see the white dog better while it's on the white pattern paper.

Susan R liked Shelley's Chef Window so much that she started making one for herself.  After finishing her Scissors Suncatcher she immediately began cutting this out and as you can it's all falling into place already.


Cindy's just about ready to wrap up her Metal Shark Logo Panel and I do mean that literally because this is all ground and ready to be foiled.   We'll see what becomes of this next week when I truly expect to see this completed.

With just a little bit of soldering left to do on the back side of her beautiful Rose Heart Window I'm anxiously awaiting the moment this gets some light behind it.   I think the design is beautiful and Linda has done an incredible job putting it all together to perfection.   As you can see she also has her Stylized Cross just about ready as well so I guess we can say that Linda has been burning the wick at both ends!


Linda L started this three piece Graduation Cap after Mickey was completed and I really think that these are going to be popular (especially since graduations are coming up now).   With only three pieces a person can easily make one of these inside of a half an hour.

Mary grace has all of the known pieces to her Iris Window wrapped and will begin tacking together these pieces when she comes back in.  From there we will fill in her missing pieces one at a time until this is ready for its border.

Rowena got all of her corner border pieces cut while she was in and then completely soldered the front side of her Victorian Themed Window.   With just the back side left to be soldered I'll say that this window is well on its way to becoming a highlighted window here in our Blog.

Shelley's cat is almost all wrapped now and although it looks like this cat only has one eye, that's only because she was wrapping pieces while I took this picture.   Look to see this cat with both eyes in place when she returns next week.

Susan D also has two complete sets of Mickey and Minnie Mouse Silhouettes all ground and ready to be wrapped.   These go together fairly quickly and they look adorable!

Lastly we have Becky S's Seahorse Window.   She's got most of her grinding done and is all set to  begin wrapping each of these pieces.  This window has a lot of detail in it but as I always say, "The extra work you put into a window more than pays for itself in the end."


And that about does it this week.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, May 14, 2018

Revising Obsessively

Our tip this week is simple but oh so important.   When you mark a piece of glass with a sharpie marker you should give the marker at least 30 seconds to dry on the glass to help prevent the water in the grinder from washing it away.   What I do is mark a piece and then grind the line off of the next piece I plan on working on.  Once that next piece is ground I know the line has set on my first piece and that it will stay on the glass longer as I work it into shape.

Well now, Patrice's 4H Clover Window certainly turned out to be something that really catches your eye doesn't it?.   The intricate three layer border system is almost an optical illusion.  Patrice is really catching onto this whole stained glass thing, don't you think?

Betty's Diamond Beveled Window is stunning indeed and that's because of the unique way that it hangs.  Sometimes you have to put a new slant on old things to make people turn their heads, and that's exactly what Betty did with this piece.


Beth completed this Celtic Knot Cross and has decided that she likes them so much that she has two more in the works.  This one turned out lovely indeed and I can't wait to see what color crosses she brings in with her next week.

Cindy actually completed her Medicine Cabinet Insert but there's not much to see.   Because it will be mounted into an opening with a finite amount of space we've forgone the channel which would make this sturdy enough to lift and photograph nicely.  Thus we have the picture below.  It still looks great though!  

And Jan was back with us this week and she's been busy wrapping the pieces to this deceptively tiny Jesus Window.  With just a few pieces left to go I think we'll see this get a border cut for it when Jan returns.

Becky's back and she's getting her Seahorses fitting together perfectly.   She's got a great portion of this ground already and the pieces are complex indeed.  Becky certainly enjoys a challenge though and that's probably why this is looking as good as it does already.

Beth was upset with how this Iris Window was turning out and was all set to put it aside indefinitely, but after a little coaxing we were able to fix the problem areas and get this ready to be soldered.  I think it's rather nice!

Betty's got all of her Cross Window cut out and learned a valuable lesson while making it.  She used cathedral glasses in this project and wanted all of the textured sides to be on the front of the window.  To do this she reversed all of her pattern pieces before tracing them out on the smooth side of the glass she used, but there was really no reason to have to go through all of that trouble when she could have easily just make the window as normal and then hang it with the back side forward!


Tracey is working fast and furious on her Address Window and she's already grinding all of her pieces.  She's decided to go with a double border on this and at the rate she's moving we'll see those borders get attacked quickly.


Lara's Flower Of Life Window is also moving right along as she now has all but 4 pieces ground on the toughest part of this design.  Once these are wrapped and tacked together she'll work on the bottom sections and after than there will only be background to go.

Carol has her Humming Bird Window all tacked together and she even has the front side soldered. I love the fancy bevels in the opposing corners-- they really add a quality to the window that makes it stand out.  If you ask me, there's no doubt that this will be completed upon her return.

Roy started working on his Crab Window and he's got the majority of it cut out already in just one class.  There are only a few pieces left to go and then he'll be grinding this.  He's working fast and efficiently, that's for sure and I think this is going to be spectacular.

Susan R's Scissors Suncatcher was started today in class and she's about to solder them already.  In just one class she was able to cut the glass, grind it and then wrap each of her pieces.   And speaking of wrapping things up, Susan will surely finish these when we see her again.

Myrt has made some solid progress on her Dog Window and she's thankfully decided to use the third pattern that she traced out rather than the first two.   Myrt will be responsible for our tip next week when we explain the importance of taping your pattern to the poster board that you are transferring it to rather than the carbon paper.  More on that next week though.


With just 8 pieces left to go, Rowena's Victorian Design Window is almost ready to be soldered.   She'd surely have the border attached already had it been a straightforward border but the center section on this window has curved edges which means that we can't just zip out those border pieces with the strip cutter. Each of the corner borders have to be cut by hand.

Terry's Geometric Window is now officially all cut and ground.  She began wrapping all of her pieces this week and although she has wiggle room between those pieces she's still having to grind key pieces slightly smaller since the foil is making things increase in size.  It's looking great though and I won't be surprised to see her working on something else shortly.


I fell in love with this Rose When I first saw it on the internet and now Linda F has gone and made one for herself.   All the glass has been cut and I hope we get to see this completed when she comes back in because it looks fantastic and I really want to see it hanging with some light behind it to REALLY show it off.

Then Linda L got her border cut, ground, and attached to her Mickey Mouse Window.  When she comes back in we'll get a large Zinc Channel bent around the outer edge to finish this off.   With just a little soldering left to go I suspect that this will be among our completed projects when we return next week.

Can you guess what these Suncatchers are that Susan D is working on?  Hopefully you won't need a hint and if you do well shame on you because Mickey Mouse will haunt you forever!


Shelley's Cat Window now officially looks like a cat!  I'm not sure what's happening around the nose but we'll surely work that out when Shelley returns.  In just two short weeks Shelley's almost ready to begin wrapping this cat!


Mary Grace has begun wrapping her pieces and although it's hard to see, she's making good progress on this.   With so many pieces missing the easiest way to wrestle this window into submission is to tack what we have and then start filling in the remaining pieces.  Not only does it make things easier-- it also helps to booster confidence by allowing her to see some serious progress her window.


Next we have a look at Brenda's last Beveled Transom Window Insert which is finished save for a wash and then some color.   She'll be coloring the lead black on this window so she'll have a 45 minute wait once the patina is applied.

Then there's Martha's Deer head which is at the same point that Brenda's window is-- all it needs is a bath and then some patina to color the lead.  I think that Martha will be coloring this in copper so the process will go a little quicker for her than for Brenda.

Finally we take a look at the new window that Melissa has begun work on.  She liked the circular shape of her last window so much that she's making this in a circle as well.   These Sacred and Immaculate Hearts are each made up of some tiny pieces but I know that Melissa is more than up to the task.  And the pattern REALLY looks good don't you think?

 There you have it! All that happened that was fit to print.  We'll see you all again next week when we return with a SLEW of finished windows!!!


Monday, May 7, 2018

Stray Men

Proper Grinding is important for numerous reasons.   The two most notable being 1) to allow the foil to adhere to the glass better, and 2) to prevent your piece from cracking when solder is applied.

Below is a piece of glass that has not been ground.   The edge is shiny and the corners are sharp enough to easily cut through any foil the you might try to use on it.

Here you can see the front edge has been ground but not nearly enough.  Although there are sections that have been touched by the grinding wheel (they appear white) it isn't a thorough job.  You will still have problems getting the foil to lay flat along the glass and there's still a possibility that the glass will crack when the lead is applied.  If your glass looks like this you might want to try reversing your piece by putting the top side down on the grinder and going over it again.  Sometimes that makes a big difference especially when skimming borders.

Lastly we have a properly ground piece of glass.   The edge is completely white, the foil will stick to it easily, and the odds are far better that the piece won't crack due to heat.  If all of your pieces look like this before you foil your window I can guarantee that your finished window will be sturdier than if the pieces were just lightly skimmed.

So with that out of the way lets move along to the work that our students have done during the past week.

Although Melissa believes that this window is long overdue, I have to repeat that I ALWAYS stress quality over quantity.   It may have taken about 4 months to make this but look at the level of detail in it.   Also, almost everything she did on this was done in a new (and exciting?) manner.    Repeating patterns are very tricky so this was worked on from the inside out and as each section was completed it was tacked together so nothing could shift.  The end result is this perfect window that looks so much better than the window that Melissa originally saw online.   Melissa should be very proud of it because I certainly am of her.  I couldn't have made this any better myself.

Susan D's Peacock is beautiful and even more importantly, it's a milestone for her.   She's designed this window from start to finish on her own and then constructed it by herself as well.   I cut the lengths of zinc channel for her but that was it.   This window is a stunning victory for Susan all around.

Roy is moving faster and faster on his windows and he completed this one on his own as well.   He's only into his second set of classes with us but he achieves the majority of his work while at home.   This window is smaller than you may assume which means that Roy now has experience with any window makers greatest bane-- tiny pieces.   Alas, everything is perfect here and the fact that Roy is always challenging himself means that his stained glass skills are growing quickly.


Susan R's Owl Of Many Colors Lawn Ornament was made almost entirely of cathedral glasses (save for the eyes) and as a result it really sparkles in the sunlight.  In fact it sparkles so much that the pictures I took of it out in the sunlight had too many 'hot spots' (places where the reflected sun would create white spots) for me to use.  Susan certainly did wonderful work on this as you can plainly see.

Rowena completed this stunning Single Sunflower and had no problem dealing with the irregular border that the curved corners created.     This was also made out of all Cathedral glass and the end result, like Susan's Owl, is vibrantly stunning.

Our second Sunflower this week was made by Barbara H and it's more of a panel rather than a window.  What's the difference?  Well, it is basically about size.  Once a window is smaller than 1 square foot we tend to refer to them as panels.   Please don't think that means they are easier to make though-- the contrary is usually the fact because smaller pieces are always more challenging to work with.  Also, it seems that once someone uses a double border they just can't stop using them and Barbara appears to be no exception to that rule.

Carol texted me a day or two before class and asked if I would be offended if she used a different hummingbird in the Flower and Hummingbird pattern I had drawn for her.   I said, "Certainly not," and when Carol showed up she had a new (and far superior) hummingbird all cut and ground.   While she was in class she cut out her background glass and she's now grinding it to fit within her beveled border.

Lara has begun working om her 'Flower of Life' Window and has the first of three flower panels all cut out and ground.   This will be a fairly large window but most of the cuts will be straight lines which will be cut from one sheet of glass so that everything fits together perfectly.  We'll see that happen in the weeks to come.

MiMi has the flowers and the leaves all cut out in her second Rose Window.   She's deciding on what background glass to use but once that's done she'll make quick work of this window.  Alas, Mimi has cut her finger and will be taking a short break from this project until it heals.   Mark my words though-- this is going to be beautiful.


Shelley has begun grinding her Cat Window and she's already got the lower pieces fitting together nicely.  When she returns she'll get to the face which is the most important part of any window featuring an animal.   All she's going to need to do is take her time and then the face will balanced out easily.

Linda L has all of her Rose Heart ground and has started wrapping it.   She's also working on a Stylized Cross of her own using the remains of some Fractures And Streamers glass that she had leftover from a previous window.   I think the use of that glass will make this cross really stand out.

Betty has each if her three arms working on a different project.   She's got a large Cross Window just about ready to be soldered (once the border is attached), a Fleur De Lis Window that will be hung as a diamond rather than a square, and a Stylized Cross Suncatcher of her own done in a monochromatic 'color' scheme.


Rowena was also hard at work on her Victorian Themed Window and it looks to be as elegant as any window could ever be.  After wrapping and tacking the center piece Rowena cut out her background.  Once she has that tacked into placer she'll only need a border and some solder to finish this off.


Each week Mary Grace's Iris Window gets closer and closer to being ground.   I know she thinks this is taking forever but when you tackle a window that's 3 foot by three foot it's going to take a little time to get it done.  Still, with each passing week we see major progress.  Next week I think MG will take a bit of a break and start wrapping her pieces to help ease her weary mind.

Ok then, Linda L's Mickey Mouse is looking MUCH better this week.   You can see that he has a smile on his face which helps, but it's the addition of the nose (which she ground into the center of a solid piece of glass) that really make him look 'human' (for lack of a better word).

Martha is officially tacked together (well, her Deer Head is) and she even has her channel in place.  She's begun soldering so it shouldn't be long now before she hangs this and moves on to her Beveled Lighthouse and Sailboat Window.

Trace has just begun a large Address Window and that means that this week she traced  and cut out her paper pattern pieces.   She's also got  a lot of those paper patterns traced onto sheets of glass so she'll  be cutting actual glass when she comes back in to class next week.

Lastly we take a look at the Crab pattern that Roy is starting to work on.  He has his glass all picked out and I suspect we'll see this well under way when we next see Roy.

And that about wraps things up for this first week of May!   Where IS this year going??

Bayou Salé GlassWorks