Monday, September 20, 2021

Is That A Dollop Of Whipped Cream?

Get ready for a BIG, big tip.  As soon as you open a new roll of foil be sure to take out your marker and write the size of the foil on the center core.   If it's black or silver backed foil note that on the core as well.  If you use your foil outside of your own glass workshop (such as here in our shop) then also include your name.  It's a huge time saver and your name ensures that even if you forget your foil in class that you'll end up getting it back.   Your name should also go on all of your tools as well.  One quick glance tells me that this roll of foil is 3/16 black backed foil and it belongs to the shop.   That's surely easier than borrowing other rolls of foil and trying to match their size against your unmarked foil, isn't it?

Shelley put the whiskers, eyes and mouths on her Squared Cats Window and called it a day!  Actually, she finished soldering it and cleaning  it so that I could take a picture of her cats but they didn't have the eyes or mouths on them when she left because she was going to do that at home.   What you see below is me photoshopping eyes and mouths onto her windows.  I was going to post it without them but they looked so soulless that I had to do something!

Lara's Flower Hair Band is incredible mainly due to the delightful colors that she used.  She made quick work of this and once again her unique pattern attracted a lot of attention in our other classes.  Looking at the finished piece it's easy to say that it's no wonder people are asking about it!
Cindy's Bubbling Champaign Glass  is another magical piece.  I'm rushing through getting this post done on time so I didn't go into detail about how this was so easily cut out but that will happen next week for sure.   Meanwhile, let's make have a toast to Cindy's wonderful window!
Sheri's Green Bay Packers Helmet was completed this week and the end result is perfection.   I have to say that her soldering is incredible even though it's hard to see on this piece. Sheri also plans to print the number 13 on the black ear piece of the helmet with a paint pen when she gets home to help personalize this for her customer.  Go Green Bay!
Number 6 is officially out the door.  Or should I say IN the door???  Here's MiMi's latest window as we saw it in the shop.
And here's MiMi's insert mounted into place with its 5 brothers and sisters.  She has more than a few more of these to make but from here on out the inserts will be much narrower than the ones you see here.   MiMi did what I always do-- she did the toughest pieces first.  That makes it easier and easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel! 

Ann completed the cross that she began last week and you can see how she arranged the pattern pieces on her sheet of glass to that each arm of the cross contains only one dark piece (as well as the center).  Many people just place their pattern pieces however chance lands them on the glass but you can make things look much better with planned glass placement, as Ann proves here.

Susan D has two more Angles finished and the gold one was made with Van Gogh Glass.   The picture actually came out very clearly and shows you exactly what Van Gogh glass is--  Glue Chip glass with a colored mirror backing.  Perfect for an Angel, don't you think?   

Barbara H started a small Cardinal Panel and to do that she'll cut, grind, wrap and tack together the cardinal (and the leaves) before cutting any background glass.  As you can see, she's well on her way to completing the first step in the creation of this panel.

Cheryl has a wedding Invitation box to make and she's starting her series of boxes with a nice simple yet elegant design that frames the invitation with two different borders.   She's got the top of the box completed which means that the bottom will be done as soon as she comes back.

Cindy has begun working on a large stack of books which will end up becoming a large suncatcher. She's making this one book at a time using mostly scrap glass and I think it's the perfect way to handle this many multi colored piece.

Last year Shawn made a Christmas Ornament Window  and this year she's making the ornaments that were found in her window as separate suncatchers.  Ann is also planning on making some of these and Martha also expressed an interest which is why I already had the ornaments scanned as individual pattern sets.  Shawn, though, is the first to start these.

Christmas has very much been rung in here at our shop and Annette has also decided to start making Holiday Suncatchers.  She's begun working on a Mary And Child suncatcher and she's already set to begin grinding her first one.

I only have two words to say about Martha's latest project:  Build Life.   Why?  Because those are the two words that are the only things left that Martha needs to cut out.  She started with the word YOUR this week and by the end of class she's pretty much decided that cutting out letters is for the birds (so to speak).

Jan got her Eagle and Flag tacked together and then she filled in four missing pieces before adding her first (and final) border.   This is the last of the Blue Baroque that we're likely to see.  Barbara has been holding onto a small piece since Spectrum went out of business a few years back. Jan asked us if we could get her a sheet of it and when we told her that it was no longer made Barbara graciously gave Jan enough to do her border.

It does NOT take Tracey long to cut and grind a window.   She had about a quarter of this ground when she walked in the door and just three hours later the rest of it was ground as well.  Her window is now ready to be wrapped in copper foil.  This Magnolia design is always a winner but I think it gets better and better with each one that we see made.
Everything has been cut, ground and wrapped for Mary's Dueling Humming Birds Suncatcher and when she comes back in she'll begin soldering.  There's actually a chance that this could be finished next week and I'm just about dying to see this with some light behind it because I already think that it looks incredible!

Judy M got the elaborate border of her Cardinal Window ground and tacked together which means that she'll begin soldering this when we see her next.  Everything has come together nicely for this and once the channel is attached the edges will become perfectly straight again.   That's the beauty of using channel and NOT using a square to line things up.  It allows any flaws to be hidden by the channel. (Not that this has  any flaws!)

Kerry's Witch is another window that is  so very close to being completed.   In this class Kerry got both the front and back sides soldered as well as getting a channel attached.   With the back side soldering looking perfect the front side only needs to be gone over and smoothed out before Kerry can call this a completed window.  Expect to see this finished when we return with our next post.

Melissa is getting closer and closer to finishing her Butterfly and Iris Window.   I have a sneaking suspicion that she'll get her two borders attached next week and after that, well, let's just say that soldering is all down hill for Melissa!

As I said, Christmas is in the air here in our classes!  Or should I say that the threat of Christmas fast approaching is making our students panic to start working on their Christmas Stained Glass Wish List!  Susan D has four more Ornaments started but these will be done purely in glass rather than lead coated glass.   A little color can be a good thing indeed.

And there you have it.  Yet another productive week in the shop!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Shave That Thing!

There's been a lot of talk about hinge points lately so let's discus them.  Hinging occurs when you solder two straight lines together.  They can easily fold because the only thing holding them together is the adhesive of the foil.  That said, a line doesn't have to be perfectly straight for it to be a hinge issue.  Even a slight curve can create a hinge point.  In the pattern below the wings can easily be bent along the both sides of the body highlighted by green lines.  Many times I see people post that the piece needs some wire following the green line to strengthen the piece but that's very bad advise because it does nothing at all to support the weight of the wings.   Wire needs to be run perpendicular through the hinge point, not parallel with it.  


 Below you can see that I've altered the butterflies body so it had more curve to it.  That will go a long way to make the wings more solid but it's still not enough to completely fix the hinging problem.  To fix things once and for all I've also split the body into two separate pieces and lined up the split to connect with two lines on either side of the wings.  Now I can add some wire (about 14 gauge) along the back of the butterfly following  the red line.   The wire with be covered with lead and will not be visible at all.  The strength that this solution adds to this butterfly suncatcher is amazing.


Alright, with that out of the way I'm going to ask, "What do you do when you need a square window with a beveled center but you can't find a beveled cluster that you like because they mostly tend to run far long than taller?"   Well, you can make your own cluster using stock bevels!  That's exactly what Barbara H did in her window.  Elegant?  You bet!  Even though there are many bevels in this it's made entirely of stock bevels which are less expensive than clusters yet still give a refined look to the finished piece.   What a beautiful window Barbara created but I don't think she'll be making something of this size again any time soon.  At 36 x 36 it's a big one!

Cindy's pair of Ice Cream Cone Windows are finished and aren't they something else?  They are stunning and they will be making a very bold statement  in the window of The Lamp Station Ice Cream Shoppe in Franklin.   In fact I've just found out that they're already hanging in the window now.  I'd imagine that Ice Cream Cones will be selling briskly after people spot these from the street!

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be."  Those are the words that run through my mind when I look at Annette's stunning rendition of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of the Moon Window.  This looks so amazing because the Annette used black patina on the lead which makes three of the lead lines (running from each point of the triangle bevel) almost completely disappear into the black background glass for a seamless look that matches the album cover perfectly.  I ask you, what's not to love about this?
Shawn's large Butterfly Suncatcher has been finished and you might recognize it from the tip I posted at the start of this blog.  Although we altered the body so that it didn't contain straight lines I still felt the need to add a bit of wire for some extra support.   Looking at the finished product you'd never know that we added  wire and a lot of that has to do with the fact that Shawn's cutting, grinding and soldering (especially her soldering) was spot on.  This is what a colorful stained glass Butterfly should look like!

Susan D has even more Flower Angels and Leaded Beveled Christmas Ornaments under her belt.  Sadly one of her Angels had a crack in its wing but we're going to fix that next week and add it to her finished items when we see Susan again.

Although it's hard to make out the champaign glass in her window right now, Cindy's Bubbling Champaign Glass is already nearing completion just one class into its creation.  We'll go through the process of how she's making this window as soon as it's completed which could actually be as soon as next week.   It's an interesting process and it doesn't follow the path you might think that it would.

Mary's Dueling Hummingbirds suncatcher has been tacked together and all she needs to do it fit a few background pieces into place and then solder this.   We've held it up and all I can say is that it looks even better than anyone expected it to and let me also tell you that expectations were already running high!
Ann is back in action after taking the summer off to teach out of the area.  As you can see, those few months that she stopped doing stained glass didn't slow her down in any way because in just one class she was able to cut, grind and wrap her newest Cross Suncatcher.  This will surely be completed upon her return.
Sheri is working on a large Green Bay Packers  Helmet and she wasn't sure if the helmet should have the number 12 in it or the Green Bay Packer Logo.  In the end she settle for the logo so we simply drew up an oval with a G in it and she cut ground and wrapped those pieces which she will next tack together before making the rest of the helmet.   She'll then drop the logo into the position where the 12 was drawn in the original pattern.
Lara's so close to completing her Geisha Girl Suncatcher.  She's only got the flowers on the back of this piece left to solder and then this will be finished so expect to see this hanging up with some light behind it when you next see it.
With all of the glass cut out for her Magnolia Window (save for the border which we ALWAYS cut after the window has been tacked together), Tracey stood herself in front of a grinder and began fitting all of her pieces together.  She's a good quarter of the way there so she's speeding through this project in a nice precise manor.
Kerry got his witch window all wrapped and tacked together before calling it a night.   that means that he'll add a border as soon as he comes back to class and then be set to start the finishing solder bead on it.  That means that this will be completed in plenty of time for Halloween.

Shelley has the front side of her Three Cats Window soldered leaving, of course, just the back side to go.   When she's through with that she'll add wire whiskers to the noses and then paint on the mouths.  Boxy kitties are very stylish, don't you think?
With only a handful of pieces left to wrap Melissa is getting excited about finishing this window.  It still needs a double border added to it but that won't take long at all especially since she's already decided on the glass that she'll be using for the borders.
MiMi has got this window is just about in the bag.   Number 6 has got its zinc channel attached and its front side has a good deal of a finished bead on it so MiMi should be starting Number 7 before you know it!
Lastly we see that Susan D has got another Flower Angel well under way.  She's certainly a pro at making these now!

We're missing a lot of students due to the effects of Hurricane Ida.  I know that all of our students are eager to get their lives back together and their stained glass back on the cutting table so things can get back to normal for them!






Monday, September 6, 2021

Halloween Night With A Dog Named Chucky

Well then, as you might have suspected Hurricane Ida managed to screw things up this past week.   We were very lucky and received no damage and no water but we did tear apart the shop to prep for water and ended up spending a few days after power returned to get the shop back together.   Because of that this post is actually a week late.  As I said though, we were lucky.  Sadly, a number of our students didn't fare nearly as well as we did especially those out in the Houma area.  To our students who are in need, please know that all you need to do is ask and we will gladly help in any way possible.

So then, let's get started here.  Annette's Crow and Moon Window has a unique look that really sets it apart from most windows that we see.   Starting with the subject matter and working its way on down to Annette's wonderful work, this is a head turner to say the least.   The blood red, sparkling eye, which is less than an eighth inch round, actually commands your attention most.   Annette wasn't thrilled about making this in the beginning (someone asked her to make it for them) but in the end she and all the rest of the students in class ended up loving this piece.
Lisa's first of two Etched Bevel Panels looks fantastic!  Simple, yet incredibly charming, this panel is something that pulls you right into its beauty and elegance. The use of Fractures and Streamers glass for the background along with the beveled border just completes the look all so well.
Here's Linda F's Bee Hive Suncatcher which is actually a variation of something she found on the internet.  The original had the pair of bee's tacked on top of the hive and the stripes on the bees were painted on the glass but when you make something like this using the 'overlay and paint' method it's only visible on one side and the front just never lights up correctly.   That's why I always say 'No' to overlays and yes to putting just a few minutes more work into a project like this. but cutting everything.

Mary Grace completed her Cardinal on a Branch in a Hoop project and didn't it turn out to be stunning?  We have a new way to do cardinal eyes and I think it works perfectly, don't you?  All in all though I believe that it's the wire work that makes this stand out so nicely and really what defines this piece.

These are Pawn Chess Pieces that Susan D created for a chess board that will be raffled off with the proceeds going to Proud House. I must say that she's done us all proud with her execution of these small  yet completely recognizable three dimensional pieces.

Susan D also put the finishing touches on 3 more Flower Angels complete with wire Halos and decorative wings.  She's certainly on a roll with these and the best part is that they have been finished in plenty of time for Christmas!

Speaking of being on a roll, Betty made either three or four (I'm leaning more towards four) more of her famous Reindeer Suncatchers.  As always the antlers are wire work (each antler consisting of 2 pieces of wire) attached to the suncatcher wherever they touch a lead line.   You may find people selling these online without having a round section of glass cut as a background but the wire work will never stay attached on those reindeer while Betty's reindeer antlers are perfectly secure.
And now we're onto projects that are currently under construction.  In just one class Annette was able to cut, grind and tack together this Dark Side Of The Moon Album Panel.  She'll be coloring the lead with black patina which means that those lead lines coming off of the triangle bevel will almost completely vanish against the black glass background giving this a VERY authentic album cover look.   Pink Floyd-- you just can't go wrong with them in my book.

Meanwhile Shawn ground all of her Colorful Butterfly Suncatcher.  After that was done we redesigned the body so that this would be completely sturdy as a suncatcher.   She's also got half of this wrapped already which to me means that we'll see this completed when Shawn comes back in.

Here's another Butterfly that's under construction and this one is being made by Linda F.   This will be a 3D flowerpot Ornament which will be attached to a stake which means that we want a nice straight line running down the center of this Butterfly.  Once it's wrapped and the wings are soldered separately she'll tack them together at an angle to the stake and then add a body on top of the butterfly to hide the straight line which (because of the stake) will give this piece its strength. 
What's this?  A third Butterfly!  It would seem that we have a new popular theme here in class.  With almost the entirety of her window ground Melissa began wrapping pieces this week.   Why wrap before she's finished cutting and grinding?  Well, Melissa forgot to bring along her orange glass which meant that she couldn't fill in the three missing pieces but they will fill in quickly enough when we next see her.

I have to say that Martha's Build A Better Life Window is coming together at break neck speed and her cutting is nice and exact.  She mixed two different greens for use within her trees and ended up just mixing them randomly throughout the window.  Just that small extra splash of color is really going to give this window an incredible look when it's finished.  In stained glass it's always more about subtle differences than HUGE contrasts.

Next up I have to say the word 'incredible' because Cindy's pair of Ice Cream Cone Windows is just that!  Although you can only see one of them in this picture they are both wrapped and ready to be tacked together.  Man do I want some ice cream now!
Linda L has one Angel Window completely tacked together and the second one just needs to be wrapped.   She's used Clear Sandblasted glass for the background of these angels and that tends to stain a slightly if you leave the flux side on the textured side for too long so Linda tacked the first window and then wiped it down before moving along to her second angel.  Better to be safe than sorry!

The hexagons are taking over MiMi's house but with each passing week she joins more and more of them together to make more windows.  Her latest (a window we call Number Six) has been completely ground and she has about a third of it all wrapped up in copper foil.
Susan R's Bathtub Lady is all ground and ready to be wrapped.   She's picked a perfect color for the border that will surround this and I'll show you just what that color is when Susan returns and gets this tacked together and borderized.  I love all of the detail she got in all of those bubbles!
Now I just HAVE to saw that this is certainly not your normal looking Halloween Witch!  At least not from behind anyway.  She's downright attractive when you get right down to it and this is just her back side.  As she stands this witch is completely ground and awaiting some foil so she can get tacked together and then soldered.  Will Kerry be able to complete this in time for Halloween?  I have NO doubt about that at all!

The Cardinal that Judy is working on is all tacked together and the intricate, fancy border is just about completely cut out as well.  Judy will wrap and grind all of these border pieces when she comes back in and then this Cardinal will be ready for some serious soldering.

Last week I noticed that Shelley had taken her cats home to wrap and tack together without having the noses cut into place.  Luckily I got in touch with her before she had a chance to tack this together which means that this week she was able to cut three little cat noses and fit them into their proper places.   All this needs now is a border and then a little solder to finish off these three wise cats. 
This picture doesn't really allow you to grasp just how large Barbara's Beveled Window is.  I think the next time I take a picture of this I'll put a dollar bill in the shot so you can more easily tell just how large this window is.   This week Barbara tacked it all together and then added the final border before she began soldering.  It won't be long now!
Susan has the spirit of Christmas in her and now that her Angels have been completed she's going to move along to these four Beveled Christmas Ornaments.  Two of them are already close to being completed so that means we should see the four of these at the top of our next post along with any other projects that are completed.
Here's a look at Sheri's latest Yippie Flag Window along with a hard to see pattern for a Green Bay Packers Football Helmet.   Sheri had a slight problem with her Yippie Flag when she stumbled with the board it was on and ended up scattering numerous pieces.  Sadly there was no way to determine which piece went where so she had to re-cut two of the leaves and now has to wrap all of those pieces again.  Still, it could have been much, MUCH worse!


To wrap this all up we come all the way back to Lisa who not only completed an Etched Bevel Panel this week but also got a second one completely cut, ground and tacked together.   It was certainly a productive class for Lisa wouldn't you say?  And this one easily looks just as good as the first one does!
So there you have it.  A week later but here on your computer (or phone, or tablet) screen nonetheless.  See you all next week!