Monday, March 1, 2021

We Put The F.U. in FUN!

Establishing the grain of your glass is just as important as picking out the colors for your project.   Even the most perfect color can be ruined by bad grain direction and nowhere is the grain more important than in the sky or the background of your piece.  Too often I see the lines marked on patterns haphazardly.  Yes, they give a general direction but when your pieces don't line up your entire window is off.  Below is a perfect example of bad grain lines.  They run horizontally but they should run  perfectly from the 9 to the 3 position on a clock.

Myself, I'm a stickler for perfect backgrounds and judging by the reactions of the students who look at my work they see the difference that this precision can make.   Not only do I place my grain lines perfectly, I mark each pattern piece with two lines-  Once near the top of the piece and again near the bottom.  Having two lines makes it much easier to position the pattern correctly.  Below is what my pieces generally look like.
They say the devil's in the details and I've always said that if you are going to take the time to do something you might as well do it right.   No matter how small a detail may be, if it's off someone WILL notice.   If you have many little details that are off in a window, the entire window will be off.  "Take your time."  That is the biggest stained glass tip I can give anyone.
So then, Betty completed her large Transom Window and just look how perfectly things line up.  There are no wavers in the straight lines and everything fits together flawlessly.  This is the kind of work I like to see!  The fact that this doesn't have a border surrounding it forced Betty to follow her outside lines perfectly because there was no way we could adjust the size by slightly altering border pieces.  This is a job VERY well done.

Speaking of jobs well done let's look at Lisa's United States Coast Guard Window.  Obviously this is another example of flawless stained glass cutting, grinding and soldering.  Of course, with her son now being in the Coast Guard, this was certainly a labor of love for Lisa.  Me, I just love that subtle red, white and blue color scheme-- It's almost subliminal.
Susan R put the finishing touches on her Flower Teapot Panel and the pure black glass really makes the flower stand out.  People often reject black saying that they want color in their window but used correctly it can make all your other colors stand out.  And if you think this is nice just wait until you see the pattern Susan is doing next.  It's revolutionary!
Next up we have Judy M's first window with us!   I have to say that she's caught onto all aspects of making stained glass both quickly and efficiently.   The fact that she completed this so quickly with the end result looking this great just proves that Judy is a force to be reckoned with!

Mary Grace finished two projects this week the first of which is this stunning Angel Fan Lamp. She had to have her husband expand the notch in the wooden base for this Angel to fit properly into place but as you can see it now fits perfectly.  No one in class realized that this would be on a base and when they turned around to see this angel lit up everyone ooh'ed and aah'ed in unison!

Here's Mary Graces second piece-- a stained glass Heart with a hanging Crystal Pendant in the center.  Stunning, don't you think?

Bee is on a roll with her Boxes.   She had started this one at home two weeks ago and brought it in asking if it was worth finishing or now.   YES!  There's nothing wrong with it at all and I love the unique shape she made it in.  After touching up some solder lines and adding a hinge, some feet and a small 'lift' Bee was able to get the top attached and walk out the door with a stunning little Keepsake Box.

Next we look at Annette's version of the Butterfly Lawn Ornament.  This time around it's been suspended from three chains so that it can be suspended from above to give the impression that it's in mid flight.   Talk about teaching an old dog new tricks!
And Annette also finished up another Praying Baby Angel Suncatcher.  I've lost track of how many of these she's made now but I do know that she makes them with ease.
Our completed projects section ends with one of two more Swirling Christmas Trees that Susan D finished by putting wires and jewels onto them.  Again, I'm losing count here but when you find something this good Susan says that you stick with it!


This is a variation of an old Swan Hand Mirror pattern that I found in a book decades ago (literally).  When Cindy wanted to make a Peacock Hand Mirror I figured that the Swan would be a good starting point.   I just altered the head and the handle and it was done.  While looking through old projects Angie stumbled upon the pattern and knew she had to make one.   She got it all cut out, ground, wrapped, and tacked together in one class which means that when she comes back in she'll be able to insert the mirror , finish this and start on something new.

Barbara got all of her Louisiana Iris Panel cut out and now she's moved on over to the grinder.   This is another window in her series of small panels and it's her most ambitious one yet.   It takes a lot of small pieces to make this iris but I have no doubt that Barbara will handle it with ease.
Mr. Bingle is really coming together now.  We had a problem figuring out what to do for his face because cutting the eyes, nose and mouth into place would make too many lead lines and make it appear as though Mr Bingle's face was all cut up.   In the end Cheryl cut glass for the features and Russ fused them onto a piece of white glass in a kiln.  The end result is perfection! 

Once Lisa finished coloring her Coast Guard Window she began working on this Fancy Monogram 'V' Window getting everything cut out in just one class.  She's also already begun grinding it which means that this window is going to be finished before she knows it.
And Cindy is approaching the home stretch with her Ornate Butterfly Suncatcher.   Everything has been cut and ground and now she's positioning stained glass globs where she wants, tracing around them with an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie and then cutting the glass so that each different sized glob each fit perfectly into place.  We'll dive a little more into exactly how that's done next week (if I remember!)

Linda F put a nice candy cane inspired border around her Gingerbread House Window and then began soldering.   With the front side essentially finished I have little doubt that we'll see this window lit up in our next post.  I'm glad that she remembered to cut the gingerbread man because I forgot about doing that before tacking it all together!

Jan's back and she has her Santa Window all cut and ground.  In fact, she also got 98% of it wrapped as well.   She's thinking about using the same glass that Linda F used for the border of her Gingerbread House Window and I think it will be a perfect fit. Ho Ho Ho!

Ann came in and we spent some time on the computer mapping out the colors she'd use in her wrap around triple border for her Cross Window and then we began cutting and figuring out sizes.   In a triple border like this one some of the sizes of certain pieces are the sum of the width of the small inner border and then larger middle border.  It sounds confusing but it's not as bad as it sounds,  It just slows down the border making process.  That said, Ann is just about set to add her final thin border.
Rowena's Easter Bunny Window would most likely have been all tacked together and bordered but she ended up changing the depth of the sky to open it up and make it look much more opened and natural.  Sometimes you can't really see what's going on until you have your glass cut and this is one of those times.   I'm thrilled that Rowena was so quick to be willing to ditch the pieces that she'd already cut to make this look better. 
Kerry is fast at work on a Humming Bird and Fuchsia Window.  He's going to use a heavily textured Baroque glass for the background and since we want the pattern to line up throughout all of the background pieces he's assembling the bird, leaves and flowers first.   Once they are tacked together he'll position them on top of a full sheet of baroque glass and trace around the bird, leaves and flower.   With a little careful cutting he'll have a beautiful connected and flowing background.


With her border tacked into place Linda L has begun the soldering process of her Patriotic Rugged Cross Window.  After this she'll be moving onto a similar window with an eagle replacing the cross.  When she begins that I'm going to show her a trick on how to make cutting and grinding the blue portion of the flag much easier and faster.

Mary has flipped her window over and is about to begin soldering the back side of this incredible Holy Spirit Window.  This is one of those windows that I just can't wait to see completed because I know it's going to look amazing.  From the looks of things it won't be long now.

Duh, duh duh...another one bites the dust!  MiMi completed another of her Door inserts while at home and came in with another all laid out and ready to be ground.  This view is starting to look familiar but the proportions are changing all the time.

Tracey's Cardinal Window is very nearly wrapped and ready to get it's missing leaf cut out.   After that she'll add a simple 8 piece border and begin soldering!

Shawn had a slight change of plan this week when the person she was making this large Minnie Mouse Suncatcher mentioned that he thought it would be a window, not a suncatcher.  Sooooo, we squared things off and changed the format!   It's hard to see the clear border surrounding this right now but you will surely see it better when it's hanging up completed next week.

Mary isn't the only student flipping their window to work on the back side.  Sheri turned her Koi Fish Window over so she could get some solder on the final side of this beast.   The end is nearly upon her now and I know she's anxious to get this out the door and hanging in a window.

"Two of these trees are not like the other.  
Two of these things just do not belong.  
Can you tell which things are not like the others, 
by the time I finish my song?"  
These are the four Swirling Christmas Trees that Susan D worked on, however only two of them were completed as you can tell from the wire work attached to the left most pair.   That means that we have two finished Trees and two that have just need a little more work to do on them before they're completed.

And we wrap things up this week by taking a look at the Easter Egg Wreath Pattern that Susan R traced out and is about to begin cutting glass for.   This looks like it's going to be a fun one due to those spirals!

We had an awful lot going on in our classes this week but each class was filled not only with hard work but with laughter and fun as well. Be sure to come back for our next post where we'll see more new projects and the completion of some of the unfinished projects that we showed you this week.


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