Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fijian Women And Their Curly Hair

It's been another productive week even though none of our students from Houma were able to make it in.  It's almost eerie, like they've all agreed to meet somewhere in secret or something.  I wonder if Ellen knows what's up or if she's the ring leader!

OK, It's been a while since a student has made a lamp and I have to give Patty a BIG pat on the back and reassure her that she did a wonderful job on her first Magnolia Lamp.  I mean, who can find fault with this?  It's subtle but beautifully striking with it's clean, minimal colors.  Patty handled this project like a pro and I'm proud to say that I taught her all she knows (about stained glass)!

Bonnie's Bumble Bee Lawn Ornament is the bomb!  She's even added a stinger for extra effect.  My only mistake in photographing this was not taking multiple pictures from multiple angles so you could see the curve of the body and the wings.  The curve adds so much to the design.  This turned out beautiful and will add a nice splash of color in any yard (particularly Bonnie's).

And Terry completed her Hibiscus Window this week .  Again her use of color is spot on.  The flowers are pink with some green thrown into the mix and her leaves are green with a hint of teal.  Put them together and what have you got?  A stunning window!  (Note to self:  Don't photograph windows with florescent lights behind them-- it's harsh and doesn't do the window any justice at all.)

Are we seeing double?  Nope, this is just Brenda's version of the same window that Terry just completed.  Brenda has everything together and the front side is 100% soldered but the back side still needs a bit of soldering before she can call this complete.  She's taking it home with her so I'm unsure if it will come back into the shop or not since Brenda is more than capable enough to finish it on her own.  Nonetheless, it's beautiful right now whether the back side is soldered or not.

Brenda decided to make another Ballerina Woman but this one has slightly darker skin (as well as an extra spotlight).  She has most of the center ground and she's got the strips for her borders cut (which you can see on the left and right in the picture).  I'm guessing that she'll have this fairly completed when we see it next.

Next we take a look at one of Ann's corners all ground, wrapped and ready to be tacked.  She has the second corner almost completed (it's missing 2 pieces of blue glass that she forgot to cut out) and she also has a great deal of the center piece ground as well.  Before you know it this will be another completed project.  And wait until you see it all together.  Can you say, "Lots of tiny pieces"?

Cindy has been knocking out mid-sized items left and right!  Here's this weeks sampling of the variety of designs that she's been putting together while at home.  there are Fleur De Lis', Hand Mirrors, Tulips, Easter Egg Bows and even a Flying Pig!

And these are four crosses that Cindy also cut out and ground.  She'll wrap these at home and then finish them off with some solder and some hooks.  And speaking of hooks, Cindy learned the fine art of making hooks for suncatchers and was impressed with how easy they are to make.

Martha's Tree Frog is nothing short of stunning.  The orange border that she picked stopped this window from being a 'Did you see the window I made over there?' piece and turned it into a, 'Wow, did you make that window over there?' piece.   Had she gone with a brown border it would have disappeared into the room it was hanging in, but the orange makes it stand out.  Why orange?  Because there's a hint of it in the actual window itself.  And that's how border colors are done best!

Now hold on to your horses because Martha has finally broken free of her classroom surroundings and has done all of the work that you see on this Flowered Cross while at home!  That's right, she's fearlessly jumped into the deep end of the pool and guess what?  She discovered that she's more than capable enough to swim by doing glass work on her own!  This is gorgeous and we'll see the finished product in out next post.

One of the things that I ALWAYS need to repeat to our students is the need to use pins while grinding.  It takes at least 3 pins to hold one piece in place and you must put 2 pins on any straight edge of glass while grinding.  Susan is one person I don't have to keep reminding.  I LOVE IT!  Now she's only got the trim left of the Fleur De Lis left to grind before she starts wrapping it.  Susan's work is some of the best that our students offer.  Her attention to detail is amazing and she knows that although a piece may fit into the opening, it may not be shaped 100% correct.  Susan always knows the difference between a a piece fitting and when a piece fits in place-- And on a window like this the difference can make or break your window.  (In this case it makes it!)

Terry's newest work in progress is a this Tiger Eye window.  And as you can see we almost missed out on seeing the work part since she got this all cut out at home.  When she came in she planted herself in front of a grinder and finished fitting all of her pieces.  Then she started wrapping it and that's what you're seeing here in the picture below.  If you enlarge it you can see that the right side is already foiled.

OK, Shelley's Lady In A Tub window is just about ready to be soldered.  As you can see she's decided to go with a double border and the results are spectacular.  The amber inner border is cut and ground but she can't cut the final green border to the correct lengths until the inner border is attached.  Let me state for the record that  Shelley is going to love this window when it's completed (which will be real soon now).

Just look at Myrt's Hot Air Balloon Window!  It's almost photo-realistic!   I love the effect of the balloons on the water... but wait a minute-- this isn't Myrt's window!  How did she manage to get out the door without me getting a picture again?  I think it's a conspiracy against me but rest assured that I will get a picture when Myrt returns after Easter.


That's going to wrap things up here until after the Easter Holiday.  I just want to remind all of our students that we won't be having classes on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th of April and that things will resume as normal the following week.  Until then have a GREAT holiday!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Don't Take A Picture!

At the end of each week I start sifting through all of the pictures that I took during our 4 sets of classes.  Thanks to digital photography I usually take at least 5 shots of each project so I can be sure that I'll have a shot that's completely focused, lit and balanced.  Lately I've been having an almost overwhelming amount of photos to sift through and sometimes I agonize about which shot to use but in the end I don't think I could lose-- our students work always overshadows any photographic problems that pop up! 

So let's start this update off with Lynn's Seahorse window which really turned out perfect!  From the design straight through to the workmanship, Lynn let us know that she has got what it takes to do amazing work.  And she didn't take the easy way out while making this either.  Little details like the thin pieces that make up the background of the seahorse and the way that the flower cuts deeply into the next piece of glass (requiring a large amount of controlled grinding) all add up to make this a spectacular window.

Terry's windows always generate a large amount of buzz amongst our other students and this Magnolia window shows us that Terry's reputation is well deserved.  Her use of color is always spot on and then when you factor in how quickly she finishes these windows, well, it makes this Magnolia all the more impressive.

Betty's first window with us was, in her own words, a learning experience.  Her Angel turned out divinely and her skills are top notch.  She's picked up a few helpful hints during the last 4 weeks as well as learning how to make oval borders.  Next up for Betty will be a window with a bit of a Victorian design to it.

The we have not one but two finished pieces by Jane.  We'll start with this round geometric window that she had cut out and ground when she was in last week.  She took it home having only a border left to cut and as you can see she did a wonderful job cutting that border.  Circles and ovals ALWAYS require extra attention to detail and you can see that Jane paid complete attention to her details.  I also like the use of the small bevel in the center of this piece.

For her second project Jane made this popular variation of our Standard cross which is less symmetrical than most other crosses that you see.  Again, Jane added a bevel in the center of her project and it really adds a touch of elegance to this design.

Jane's final project this week is a window that she brought into class already tacked and ready to be background and borderized.   There wasn't room for a stock bevel in this window but Jane was able to put a clear, faceted jewel near the center which lends the same effect.  Expect to see this one completed real soon now!

Brenda had her work cut out for her-- and she did it all by herself!  With the center tacked together and the border ready to be ground and then attached, the work on her latest masterpiece is just about completed.  This pattern actually came into the shop because bonnie wanted the flower used in her Humming Bird Window.  Who would have guess that both Terry and Brenda would end up making the actual window that Bonnie patterned her flowers after.


And speaking of Bonnie, she's been busy as a bee working on two of these Bee Lawn Ornaments.  This is 1 of 2 and she's taken this one home with her so she can have it all wrapped and ready to assemble when she comes in for her next class.  She's going to curve the body on this as well as the wings and I think it's going to be amazing. 


Linda planned on cutting out the background glass for her Victorian Stylized window but after thinking it through we've decided to go a different route with this window.  Instead of cutting glass she spent her night at the grinder making sure that everything fit together.  As you can see, she did her job perfectly.  She's taken the pieces home with her and will return with everything wrapped and ready to be tacked together.  Then she will cut the background from the actual pieces that she's assembled and everything will go together much quicker.

Mary Grace decided that for her first project with us she would make a Humming Bird and Flowers Window.  She loved the pattern but wasn't sure if she was biting off more than she could chew.  I didn't think that she was and judging by the amount of work she accomplished in one class I'd say that she's going to make this window look easy. 

This Tree Frog of Martha's just needs a border and it will be ready for solder.  She decided on a bright Orange to match the eyes and her choice is really going to make this window stand out.  The greens in the frog are all muted colors so currently the only thing vibrant is the frog's eyes.  But when you see this next week you'll be amazed at how colorful it is.

The outside of Patty's Magnolia lamp is soldered and ready for its finishing touches.  And just what do we mean by 'finishing touches' you ask?  Well, she still needs to go over the inside of the lamp with solder.  She won't be putting a bead on the inside like we do the outside but we want all of the foil covered with a neat and even layer of lead.  Once that's done she'll need to apply lead to the bottom edge of the lamp and then wash it!  Yes, this will certainly be completed when she returns to class next week.  Wait until you see it lit up!

Susan has hidden her window from us under a slew of pins!  And that's a good thing.  Her Fleur De Lis Glove has really begun to take shape now that she's grinding it and her attention to detail is making sure that the outline of the gloves doesn't get lost in all of the dark glass which is much lighter when you see this with light behind it.  All the pins help do two things:  1) they assure that nothing twists out of shape and 2) they leave space for the foil that each piece must be wrapped in.


Cindy has been making a ton of smaller items so she could do her first show!  She has more suncatchers, small windows and hand mirrors than you can imagine and she still has this (hand mirror) to complete.  I can't believe how fast she's been working and how much she's accomplished.  I hope it all goes well for her!

Tim's LSU Tiger Eye Windows are now fully cut and wrapped.  It's also easy now to see what I'd been talking about for the past 3 weeks when I'd say that a set of eyes would sit on top of each LSU section.  Tim has done a great job on these and all that's left to be done now is to solder these.

Wow, look at how nice Shelley's Woman In A Tub is coming along!  She only has 11 pieces left to wrap and then she's going to cut the leaves and flower into place ensuring that the stems line up perfectly.  She's also going to add a few bubbles as well but since she took her pieces home to wrap I'd say that the cutting will be completed on this when she returns.  :-)

I distinctly recall taking a picture of Myrt's Hot Air Balloon Window but I can't seem to find it anywhere on the camera.  So all I can tell you is that work is progressing on it and this real life Hot Air Balloon is NOT (I repeat: NOT!) in her window.  Myrt has better taste than that...

Terry's Magnolia Window wasn't all she accomplished this week.  She also made some major progress on her own Mallard Window as well.  When you go back and look at Brenda's version of this window and compare it to this one that Terry is making you get to see just how colors can change the feel of a window.  You can do a pattern that 20 other people have done before you, but  the colors that you chose will make the window your own.


Well, we certainly covered a lot this week.  With full classes we always have a lot to look over and hopefully you'll be inspired (and awe struck!) when you see at all the hard work our students put forth each week in our classes.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

(Shelley's Solder Tree)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Alligator Lizards in the Air

Brenda's Mallard Window is certainly every bit as striking as we all thought it would be.  Again, I would like to point out the subtle use of color in Brenda's latest piece.  Muted browns make up most the Mallard which is accentuated by 2 bright orange feet, a deep green head, and a few bright blue and white feathers.  The sky is a mix of light blue and purple which isn't the first color you'd think of for a sky, but when you see it in this window you know it's the perfect choice.

Bonnie completed her second Vigil Candle Holder and it's made out of  a deep, fiery red glass with a clear cross and a clear top.  Bonnie is getting very good at making these Candle holders! It's also given her a heads up about how to solder a 3D item since she plans on making a lamp shortly.

Donna has completed her large Angel Suncatcher and it turned out heavenly (pun very much intended).   She used an Iridized Krinkle Glass for the wings that you have to see in person to believe.  I've always favored Spectrum's Iridized Granite glass for wings but I really do like the look of Krinkle now days. 

Jane's Fish Window is also among our finished projects this week and color-wise it's perfect.  Remember that when she came in last week only the fish was cut out and tacked together with no background or border glass cut.  She didn't want blue glass for the background so we found a perfect off-green.  Then for the border she went back to the deepest green used in the fish's tail and 3 fins.  Perfection!

What's this? It looks like a butterfly to me and that means we get to introduce our newest student, Mary Grace. As you can see from her butterfly her work was exceptional-- and she certainly wasn't afraid to make her suncatcher bright and colorful.  And that's what a suncatcher is all about

Brenda resumed work on her Hibiscus Window by beginning to grind it.  The larger bottom flower is all fitting perfectly and that puts her at about the halfway mark for this project.  Wrapping these pieces shouldn't be hard so I suspect this will be done quickly for Brenda.

Cindy is hard at work making mirrors again.  I think that we can officially call her the Hand Mirror Queen because I know she's easily made 40 of them at this point in time.  And by next week she may have 5 more completed!  Here you can see that she has 2 of her latest ones ready for solder and a third is now ground to fit.  I told Cindy that it might be time to trace out a new pattern because this one looks like it's been through the war!  lol

Next we look at our second Angel of the week, this one being made by Betty.  She had ground everything last week and took it home with her to wrap so when she came in this week she tacked it all together and then learned how to make a border pattern for an oval window.  Like anything else it's easy once you know how.  Betty poured through every color of glass we had looking for a border color before settling on this elegant white.  She ground it and took it home with her to wrap which means that we'll see this window completed next week for sure.

Linda began working on her first window (with us) and it's a variation of a design last made about 5 years or so ago.  She knew she wanted 2 shades of green and a deep pink/burgundy to be used as accents.  When she got it cut out (quickly and efficiently) both Betty and I agreed that her accent color was wrong.  Then when we saw the red glass that Bonnie had used in her Candle Holder next to these greens we all knew that Linda had found the perfect color for this window.

Susan continued cutting out her Fleur De Lis Gloves Window and now she's got most of the cutting completed.  There are only the inside borders that surround the actual Fleur De Lis left to go and then Susan will begin grinding this project.  She's moving fast on this and the small pieces are NOT intimidating her at all.


Meanwhile Lynn made some major progress on her Seahorse Window.  I think this may be the first seahorse we've seen done here in glass save for a small on that was was part of a larger Ocean Scene that was made a few years ago.  That said, Lynn is setting the bar pretty high for anyone else planning on making a seahorse because this is looking better than great.

Ann is moving right along with her Geometric window.  I think that the bulk of this has been cut (certainly the corners are).  She discovered what was almost a problem this past week when she realized that she wanted the bumpy side up on her red glass.  The problem was that she had cut and numbered her pieces on the smooth side (which she had to do to cut it) and then forgot to flip all her pieces around.  Luckily this pattern is all mirror images so things were able to be swapped to the other side without a problem.

Martha's Tree Frog is now wrapped and tacked.  The eyes have been re-fitted so she could use  large orange globs that give the eyes a three dimensional effect.  He still looks a little blind but we're going to paint black sections onto the eyes when it's completed to fix that.  Next up is a glue chip background and then a border to finish this off.

The majority of Myrt's Hot Air Balloon Window is now wrapped and tacked but she still has a way to go before she begins cutting out the background glass that will form the mountains and land.  I think we're getting to the point where Myrt will need to decide what colors they will be so that we'll have the glass when she's ready to begin cutting.

Shelly has made some big progress on her Woman in a Tub window this week.  Not only is it all cut out but she also has more than half of it ground.  She has her pieces a little strewn about so she can make sure everything is fitting together nicely but I wish I noticed that the lady has one of her legs lying on the floor near the tub.  Had I seen that I would have moved it!

While Jane completed her Fish Window this week she also decided to start working on this round geometric design.  I turned my back and the next thing I knew Jane had everything but the border cut and ground already!  Working on a circle or an oval is never easy because your eye will always see any errors in symmetry but so far it looks like Jane has this window completely under control.


And Tim has been so busy that it isn't even funny.  Here's a look at his two Tiger Eye/ LSU Windows as they now stand.  With both Eye sections and both LSU sections ground and wrapped Tim tacked everything together and then began cutting out borders.  You can see that the border has been completely cut around the bottom window but the top one still needs some strips to finish it off.  And that will certainly happen next week when Tim returns.

Terry's latest flower window is all together now.  When she brought it in it was missing its border but Terry quickly decided on Spectrum Root Beer (brown) and then got it cut, skimmed, wrapped and tacked.  In fact, the only thing left to do now is add a brass channel around the edge and then solder the back of this lovely window. 

Normally this would be the end of our update for the week but Donna sent us these pictures of projects that she's been making at home between classes.  I briefly saw her working on this last week in class and now it's completed.  She handled the wire work for this wonderfully right down to the tinning of the copper wire so it matches the rest of the metal.

Donna also made this wonderful mosaic stepping stone for her back yard.  I've never made one of these myself and although a lot of our student make them (at home) I've never even seen a picture of one completed by one of our students.  So thanks Donna for sharing this beautiful piece of art with us.  Donna is another student that makes me proud to say that she's a student of mine!

Okay, so during our Wednesday morning class we had someone ask about some lyrics that occur in America's song 'Ventura Highway'.  We all wondered what exactly it was that they were singing about.  "Alligator Lizards in Your Hair"?  Well, I had to find out and here's what I discovered.   The song's writer/singer has revealed that the lyrics "Alligator lizards in the air" is a reference to the shapes of the clouds he and his brother saw back in '63 while his father stopped to fix a flat tire in California near a town called Ventura.  And now you know the rest of the story.