A common misconception occurs when I tell students to begin cutting a multi-pieced object as one large piece rather than immediately breaking it down into its smaller pieces. Take the leaf in the pattern below for example.
The leaf consists of 6 cuts, but you can simplify it and make grinding it MUCH easier by cutting the leaf as one large object and then splitting it into its individual sections after it's been ground.
The common misconception occurs at this point when most of our students next cut the leaf down into its 6 individual parts. Don't do that. The trick is not to split the leaf until your entire window (leaf included) has been ground as shown below. Just pretend the pattern calls for just one big leaf.
Only after everything had been ground and fitted together do we work on separating the leaf into its 6 sections. Start with the long center cut because the smaller curved cuts are impossible to make until the leaf has been split down the center.
Once that's done you can make the four remaining cuts.
Since the leaf already fit into position these 6 pieces will fit right back into place even if you don't grind them. That said, we do need to skim all the edges that we just cut for two reasons. 1) To provide room between the pieces for the foil and 2) To ensure that our foil will adhere firmly to the glass. Just apply a constant pressure as you sliding each piece along your grinder. One pass will easily do the trick because you don't have to worry about trying to get them to fit into position-- they fit before we even took them back over to the grinder.
By cutting the leaf using this series of cuts you'll save an incredible amount of time and the fit will be perfect. Rather than grinding and adjusting six small pieces you've only had to grind the outside edges of one large leaf for its initial fit. The rest of the leaf literally falls into place. The only draw back to this method is that you have a limited choice when it comes to choosing the grain of your glass. On small pieces you'll never notice but on large pieces you may want to trace out and cut the pieces separately.
With that out of the way we'll look at the work that was completed by our students this week starting with June's first full sized stained glass window and boy it was a complex one. Her Biplane Window utilized a lot of different tricks to get it to look this great. She cut her sky pieces contiguously so they would line up seamlessly, she added the two propellers after everything else was ground into place, and she used wire work to achieve the lines between the struts on the wings. That's a lot to take in but just look at the sum of the end results!
Steve's fused glass Doors are absolutely amazing to see in person. There's a simplicity about these which makes them as charming as can be, Alas, the pictures here don't even begin to do them justice because these truly need to be seen to be believed! Steve's got enough glass cut to make at least two more of these so who knows, we might see another pair of his grandmother's Front Door in the near future.
Shawn has begun cutting out the glass for what is going to be a very eccentric but very relatable window. This Hands and Arms project is actually larger than life because the hands ARE, in fact, slightly larger than what we would classify as 'real life' arms. She's got one arm cut out and I believe that it looks great. She's going to use a lot of color in this piece so expect to see many ethnic and cultural arms being formed in the weeks to come.
And that's all there was this week. But it was a lot, wasn't it? I mean, let's face it, it was all very impressive, right??? ;-)