Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

Even with the holiday falling on a class day we still managed to see 2 projects get completed during this round of classes. Our attendance was a bit sparse but that's to be expected during a major holiday like Thanksgiving. That food doesn't cook itself and it certainly doesn't clean up after itself either.

I believe that Paul was really shocked at how nice his abstract box turned out once it was all washed and polished. The top itself is nice and colorful but then when you add in the effect of the reflection in the mirror which is visible through the clear sides, well, it just made everyone turn their heads to look twice! So in the end the idea was well worth the labor that was involved. Now I don't want to say 'I told you so' but right from day one I told Paul that his design was not inferior and that it would look great when it was finished. And here's the proof.

I also knew that this next window was going to look really good when it was completed. Anita worried about her soldering but she's caught on to the process very well. All she needs is just a little more practice and she'll really be a professional at this. The things I like about this window are the way she used her accent color for her inner border and then the way she repeated her background glass in her outer border. It's a tried and true combination that always works and give the finished window an airy feel rather than a boxed in effect.

Cheryl has just about completed her "HAY, LADY!" window. The only thing left to do is paint a face on her and then wash it and color it. Let's review what she got completed this week because I don't want to shortchange Cheryl. First she picked the yellow background glass and then she cut it all out. Then she ground her background, wrapped it and the tacked it all together. Next she cut her border, ground those pieces and wrapped and tacked them all on her window. And if that weren't enough she had time to solder the front side and most of the back! Whew, talk about a busy night! This "HAY, LADY!" is looking like it will be features in our next Blog post.
Trecia is moving along at a tremendous pace with her Fleur De Lis window. She came in and ground all of her background, wrapped it and then tacked it all into place. Then she got her thin inner border cut, ground and wrapped before taking it on her window as well. There's just one remaining border to go before she starts to solder this and that will surely be next week. I have to say that Trecia really understands curves and how to grind something on the grinder without making the curve have angles. It usually takes some time to learn but she's done wonderfully.

And while I'm handing out praises, let's not forget about Terry. After she tacked her center piece together she laid it on top of some white glass and traced the whole thing out. We originally wanted to stay away from added lead lines but the design was a little tough for that so we split the 2 largest pieces. She might have tried to carefully cut them out but had the piece broken it would have stood out like a sore thumb if it were replaced since the background is cut out of one continuous piece of glass. See, replacing a broken piece would mean that the grain lines would no longer match up in one section of the window. But this way it all flows perfectly and Terry will add her border during her next class.

Janice was doing double duty this week-- she was helping Grace wrap pieces of glass and she was working on making a biplane kaleidoscope. These are the pieces that will form her plane. Next she'll work on the colored glass wheels that make the propellers.

And here we see Graces window almost 100% cut out. Some of the pieces that have been ground are wrapped now so the next thing left to do is to get this all ground. It's coming together nicely and there's no much left to do before she starts soldering this window.

So that was it for out Holiday week. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again during our next classes.

Baou Salé GlassWorks

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Career Day at Glencoe Charter

November 9th was Career Day at Glencoe Charter and Bayou Salé Glassworks was invited to speak before 2 classes of third grade students about making stained glass windows. Our experience was so wonderful that we'd like to share a bit of our day with all our readers.

We gave 2 presentations and started off the day with an excellent breakfast buffet provided by the wonderful staff at Glencoe Charter. Obviously there's no better way to start the day. While we were there in the cafeteria we got to see Anita, Bonnie, Ceil, and Myrt (who all happen to be students of ours) among many other people that we didn't know.

Although we weren't able to actually demonstrate the construction of a stained glass window we were able to handle it in a TV-like fashion where we would explain the next step in the process and then suddenly we'd have that step completed by showing a piece we'd worked on the night before.

One thing we were able to do was to score a piece of glass and then break it into 2 pieces. It was a simple straight cut that couldn't possibly go wrong but both times the room filled with Ooooohhhhhhh's and Ahhhhhhhhhh's. Cutting glass is pretty amazing stuff!

We passed around pieces of glass, some that were just ground and others that were both ground and wrapped. We demonstrated how a piece of glass is wrapped and then explained how it is then soldered together with a soldering iron that melts the lead onto the window.

When we were finished we answered questions from the kids who were not shy at all about satisfying their curiosities. The questions came fast and furious ranging from "How long does it take to make a window?" to "What's the biggest window you've ever made?" When we answered the question about the biggest window we'd ever made we opened the pattern for a Vineyard Scene that was 6 feet wide by 5 feet tall. When we had the pattern opened just half way the room filled the sound of amazement and when it was completely opened I almost had to laugh at how impressed the kids were.

Words can't describe how wonderful the children at Glencoe Charter were throughout the 45 minute presentations. And the older children that helped us set up for our presentations can't be ignored either because without their help we wouldn't have been able to manage.

Thank you to everyone at Glencoe Charter.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't Judge a Book By its Cover

Roxie's Fleur De Lis/UL window is completed! Having soldered this all up during class this week she's already moved along to her next project-- a woman in a claw foot bathtub. It may sound a bit strange but when you see that pattern you'll have to agree that it's going to be very nice. Meanwhile, look at the great job she did on this window.

Anita has just about completed her first real window. This is a big change from the butterfly and Anita is completely into this! She got the final border attached and then soldered about 95% of the first side of her window. There's no doubt in my mind that she'll have this one completed during her next class on Tuesday.

Ceil was going to add her final border to her window but we didn't have enough of the glass that she really liked so she's decided to hold off until the glass comes in. It's always best to wait for what you really want rather than to settle for something you're not completely happy with. But what would she do this week? Well, she also wanted to overlay 1 or 2 frogs on top of her window so that's what she worked on this week. She's got 1 orange frog ready to be soldered and she may make another one before her flower window is completed.

Cheryl's Acadian Woman is all wrapped and waiting for a background. We need to paint some features onto her face because it's far too small to cut them in. Hopefully that will be completed for next week (and I'm seeing no reason why it won't be.) Cheryl is moving along quickly here and will be ready to start something new shortly.

Janice completed her frog window last week and has decided to help Grace finish her window so it can be given as a gift. The thing is, there's a deadline involved so 2 people on 1 window will cut the work load in half and speed up the process. Just about everything is ground so grace will be working on the top half of her final building during her next class while Janice grinds each of the pieces. This French Quarter window looks better and better with each passing class.

Trecia decided to make a Fleur De Lis window as her first project and to say that she's moving right along is an understatement. She got the 6 piece FDL cut and ground so after she tacked it together she was able to get her background cut out as well. With all the hard work done during her first class she'll be able to rest assured knowing that the rest of this project will be all down hill from here. Trecia really understands how important it is to have smooth curves. It's something that students usually take a few weeks to comprehend but Trecia just got it right from the beginning.

And Paul has his box top completed and his sides are ready to be to be soldered together. I know he was amazed at the transformation this project took when he washed it and then colored the lead. Yes, it was a bit messy at first but EVERY window looks like that until it's cleaned up and has some light behind it. Wait until you see this sitting on top of its clear sides with a mirrored bottom. It's colorful and definitely a success in terms of ideas.

Terry really buckled down this week and spent all her time at the grinder. I barely got a chance to talk to her but at the end of the class she had her window ground perfectly and ready to be wrapped. She'll need to cut a background for this and then just the final border before calling this window completed! Great job!

And Myrt got her Fleur De Lis all cut out including her border. She's going to be soldering this one when she returns and then taking it home to hang up. This is another example of a new student who's catching on to the entire process rather quickly.

Next week is a holiday week and I know we won't be having classes on Thursday night. Everyone is trying to find a night to reschedule their class since Wednesday night will also be a hectic. I know we'll be seeing a lot of students and I have a feeling that some of them who have never actually met will be doing that during this Thanksgiving Holiday week.

If you don't get to see the next update before the Holiday let me wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! (And have some pie for me!)

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Sunday, November 14, 2010

More Than Just A Pretty Cashier

Look, it's Lakyn the frog all completed and ready to hop on out the door. Janice, as always, did a great job on this window and now that there's light behind it you can see that none of the color blend into each other at all. Another job well done, Janice.

Here we get to see another Fairie envisioned and created by the ever competent Patty. This is her second 3D Fairie and this one only took her one class to do. This only proves what I always say about a project taking much less time to make when you do it a second or 3rd time. Once that first one is made and you see how things line up the rest of them go by much quicker.

We had a new student this week so let's take a look at her butterfly. Trecia made hers with clear bright red wings with a vibrant yellow body. You can see that for a first project this turned out VERY nice. (But then again all of our students do nice work). She had no problems understanding and executing all the steps in making something out of stained glass and she did it all quickly and efficiently. Trecia plans to make a long Fleur De Lis window starting next week.

Jane made this window entirely on her own while she was at home and came came in with it basically completed save for the brass channel that we put around the edges. Once that was attached she gave it a bath, colored the lead and then cleaned it up so I could take this picture. You just never know what Jane is going to be walking in the door with next. :-)

And after she cleaned up that last window she worked on getting the first section of her Wold Rose lamp together. Make no mistake about it-- this is not a beginners lamp and although it's rough going at first she'll be just fine when she has one section completely tacked together. Once again it's a matter of seeing where things go and how they all fit together. Here we see that she has about a quarter of her grid work tacked together and that she's started filling in the flowers on the bottom floral section of the lamp. With all the pieces cut, ground and wrapped she only needs to place all her pieces on the mold so she can then start to solder this.

After Terry got her pattern drawn up she made a second copy of the pattern and cut it all in pieces with a pair of scissors. Then she traced out all of the centerpiece of her design onto the glass that she decided on last week. This week she not only cut out all the glass she'd picked, but she also got a large portion of this window ground (it looks like about half of it) during her class as well.

Roxie is finished with Fairies (for now) and is finishing up her UL window. She cut out all of her background out of crinkle glass and tacked it all together before cutting her border and then taking it home with her to wrap. I don't see any reason why this shouldn't be completed next week.

Meanwhile, Paul completed the top of his mosaic box and tacked it together. This means that he only needs to make the box bottom (and there's only 5 pieces of glass in that) before calling this a finished project. Oh, and please ignore the yard sticks you see surrounding his box top-- their purpose is simply to keep everything straight and his corners at right angles.

Myrt tacked her Fleur De Lis together and then she learned how to cut a background out of a piece of glass that's the exact size of the window being made. As you may recall, doing your background this was makes grinding a lot easier and and keeps the flow of the grain of the glass running perfectly throughout the finished window. The two pieces that are missing in the picture are actually cut already- they just need to be ground to fit (those deep inside curves are hard o cut).

Grace continued cutting the glass that makes up the buildings in her French Quarter window and I have to say that there's really not all that much left to cut. In fact, now that Janice has completed her frog window I think she's going to jump on over to help Janice complete this is time to give it away as a gift. With Janice helping there's a good chance that this could be completely cut out next week. All those tiny pieces are going to be fun to wrap! :-)

Cheryl is making a window for someone whose father designed a logo that you see here. Some people may recognize the "Acadian Maid" but if you don't, you soon will! All we did to make a pattern was to enlarge the logo and then trace it out on pattern paper. I wish all patterns were this easy to make. I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed with how much Cheryl got accomplished in just one class-- this window is almost set to be wrapped already!

Ok, I was wrong in my last post when I said I knew what glass Ceil had picked to cut her flower petals. Ceil had picked the glass I used to color in her last picture but then she saw another green that had come in with the order and she decided to use that instead (which I forgot all about). So here you get to see her actual window with the actual glass she's using. It's all cut save for the border but since we aren't 100% sure on the finished size of this window she opted to solder what she had tacked together rather than to cut out border pieces and have the window possibly not fit its opening.

Bonnie is still hard at work on Fleur De Lis. She's a regular FDL machine! She got these ready during class and took them home with her to possibly solder. I was impressed at how much she's doing at home but what really got me was what else she walked in the door with...

Bonnie's Amalie name window was nothing but a pattern on paper when I saw it last. When she walked in the door with it this week it was nearly a completed window! She had to wrap some of the background pieces while she was in class because she didn't want to go any further without having someone look her project over and tell her that it was safe to continue. So I looked at it and told her the truth-- her work is flawless! She and Brian must be slaving away there at home to be getting this much work done so quickly and so precisely. Another job well done.

Now I have to say that I knew that I was going to like this next window when Anita started working on it, but I had no clue how much I was going to like it. The pattern is perfect, the colors are perfect (of course blue has always been my favorite color) and everything about this window says that it's going to be beautiful. After cutting out and attaching the inner border Anita began working on the final border which is now at home with her so she can wrap it and start soldering this when she comes back for her next class.

It's Monday and the Blog is posted. That means we're still on schedule (that's a first). And with a new week of classes about to start along with a slew of students I can safely say that it's going to be a productive week here in the shop on the cutting tables.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Thursday, November 11, 2010

With Her Window Out Of Its Sleeve, She Walked Out The Door...

Suzy. Reflecting back I can hear her worrying about being able to complete a project. I can also hear her laughter but most of all I can hear her cries of anguish as we pretend to have broken her finished windows. Fun times. :-) And now she's laving us for a few weeks to take a break until the New Year or somewhere there about. We're still going to party on here at the Studio each and every Thursday but it just won't be the same. This one's for you Suzy. :-) (I don't know why I'm doing all this sucking up for her-- she's told me a few times that she checks out the blog on her phone and can only really see the pictures on its small screen!)

So anyway, this is the window that Suzy left with. It the 2nd Caduceus panel that we've had made here in the shop during classes and it looks great. This is going to be a gift and I can't see how it won't be loved.

Terry finished soldering her Fleur De Lis window and then had to decide what color to finish off the lead with. She was leaning towards copper since all the glass used in this are shades of amber but the rest of the students interjected and insisted that she finish it off in black. It was a choice that I agreed with as well so Terry took our advice and when it was finished we all agreed that it was, without a doubt, the way to go. It gave the window a nice old feel about it.

Patty and Roxie both came in and completed the Fairies they had started in their previous class. After making sure that every thing lined up they soldered their wings together and I then attached the to the back of the Pewter bodies to show them how it's done. I've probably made a hundred of these things over the years (I remember doing 21 of them of them at least twice for different shows in the past) and I have never really had a problem with them but on this particular night I was having more than my fair share of problems. Finally, 25 minutes later, they were attached and then they were washed and waxed. I expect these to be a hit. Here's Patty's Fairie Lady:

And here's Roxie's. Hopefully all my swearing didn't scare them away from making any more of these. I'm sure that the problem was just a case of my being a bit rusty since I haven't attacked wings in about 8 years or so.

And speaking of Roxie, I have a picture of her UL window that she started a while back. She had taken her pieces home to wrap and tacked them together a few weeks ago but when she started working on the Fairie I forgot that she had 2 projects underway to post. She'll be cutting the background for this during her next class.

Yvette has all of the pieces she has cut out for her peacock all tacked together now. She's going to start cutting the green and blue feathers to complete the rest of the actual peacock during her next class. Look out because this is about to fill in and start to look like it's about finished after next week.

Janice soldered the front side of her Lakyn-Frog window and has the back side about halfway completed. That means that we'll see this one in the light during our next Blog update. I've seen it lit up already and it's nice!

And last but not least we have a look at Grace's window. The pieces that she has cut for her French Quarter window are almost all ground now. There's still the top row of her building on the right and the pieces in the center church portion, but it's a big step forward in getting this completed. There are a lot of thin pieces in this so soldering it will be a bit time consuming since she'll have to bounce all around so as not to break any of the delicate pieces of glass with the heat from the melted solder. But soldering is relaxing so I don't think it will be a big deal to Grace.
And now it's official-- The Blog is completely up to Date! I still have classes left for this week which includes a butterfly from our newest student, Trecia so look for that update during the weekend.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oct. 28th - Thursday Night Disappeared

No Thursday night class this week. Everyone was working extra hours so we missed out on a visit from Roxie, Patty and Suzy. Look out next week though because they'll probably (definitely) be back with a vengeance!

As always we're starting off the blog with a look at a finished window and this week we have another Fleur De Lis by Bonnie. The difference with this one is that it doesn't hang as a square but rather as a diamond with a corner at the highest point. It wasn't a huge difference to make but something that required a few extra lead lines in the background to make it work out. All in all another terrific job by Bonnie.

Next we sort of get a look at Anita's window. Alas, I forgot to take a picture of it before she had it disassembled, boxed and headed out the door so she could wrap it at home. So what I've done is adjusted her picture from last week to show you approximately where she stands now. While she was in class she completed cutting all of her glass (except the borders) and she also got everything ground which is why she took it home with her. During her next class she'll tack this together (but it won't be next week because I predict I'll have gotten sick and ended up canceling Wednesday night class). I took some liberties with the colors of her leaves because I honestly don't remember what glass she actually used. My bad, but I'll do better next time around.
We have the same problem with Ceil's window this week. Her's walked out the door in a box before I could take a picture but I do remember what glass she used so this is a fair representation of what she has completed. She didn't have it completely ground yet but she had more than enough to take home with and wrap so she'd be ahead of the game when she comes back in.

Grace is making great strides with her New Orleans Window. I think we're going to rename this the "French Quarter Window" from hereon out. The top of her building on the right is now complete and the middle church section is taking shape. Next week she'll have a lot of this ground . This is currently the window that all the students have their eyes on here in class and for good reason.

Which brings us to Janice's window that didn't have a border when she came in to class. After much consideration everyone in class agreed that using blue for a border was just a bit too much blue for the window. Had the letters in Lakyn's name been done in a different color a blue border would have picked up the frogs eyes and worked perfectly, but the eye color was already picked up in the name. We tried different greens but nothing stood out until Janice said, "Why not pick up the color of the brown branch?" And that was the combination that everyone agreed worked. This is ready to be soldered next week.

As you can see, Paul has made GREAT headway on his box top. What started out as an assortment of glass now fits together. There are only a few sections left to fill in and then he'll solder this together and make his box sides. Paul's getting close now.

One of the biggest problems with being behind in the Blog updates is the fact that sometimes I sort some of the pictures incorrectly and place them in a folder under the wrong date from when the picture was actually taken. That's what the case was here. Myrt was in on the 14th and began cutting out this Fleur De Lis window. Somehow the picture just turned up here this week so let me fix things by showing you what she accomplished 2 weeks ago.

So you can imagine my surprise when I looked at the pictures for this week and saw that I also had a picture of her Fleur De Lis all ground and wrapped! Well that's what she did while she was in class this week. And if all this is confusing to you don't worry-- just know that Myrt has made major progress on her Fleur De Lis Window. :-)

And speaking of Fleur De Lis windows we'll end this with a look at the one that Terry is currently making. The border is cut, ground and not just tacked but soldered as well. There's only a little bit left to go on this which means that this may very well be finished and on display in our next update. (Trust me, it will be.)

Well this is it. One more posting to go and I'm back up to date save for the classes that are still occurring this week. By this weekend (Nov 13th) we'll be back on schedule and completely up to date. Hopefully this will stop me trying to figure out who made what on any given week. But this also means that I won't be able to 'predict the future' any more and know if a window will be finished with certainty the following week.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks