Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Would Make Anything In Glass, But I Can't Make That

Lately I've been hearing some of our newer students exclaim that they can't do 'that'.  In each case I take great pride in proving them wrong!  I understand about having doubts-- it's something that seems to plague us all but I want to let everyone know that the worst thing you can do is doubt yourself.  Doubt only places an extra hurdle between you and your goal.  Luckily, my job is to help reassure our students and prove that they can do all of the wonderful things that you're about to look at in this post.  And I must say that I just love the look on a student's face when things actually work out well for them!

So with that said we'll take a look at the second of Lynn's Seahorse windows which is now officially completed.  Trust me when I say that the two mirror images make a beautiful pair indeed.  Designed completely by Lynn herself she even went so far as to point out the one part of the design that was somewhat problematic for her.  We discussed it and the options she had to change things and she now understands how to break apart thin sections in long runs without adding extra lead lines.  These two windows are wonderful examples of what our students can do on their own.

Tim's last Tiger Eye/LSU window is every bit as stunning as his first.  The only difference between the two windows he made are the color of the Tiger's eyes.  We have a lot of different tiger eye window patterns and this one is by far the most labor intensive of them all but it's also the most realistic.  Just look at that face!  And Tim's touching up of his soldering shows that he's come a long way since he first started just a few months ago.

Betty finished her cross this week and after a quick look over I gave it an immediate seal of approval.  The heavy textured glass made it a bit tougher for Betty to get a straight lines in the arms of the cross but Betty did achieve it .  The use of the curved bevels also adds a lot to the overall elegance of this piece.

Betty also continued working on her Geometric/Victorian Stained Glass window and has it pretty much under control at this point.  With the center piece ground, wrapped and tacked together Betty was able to cut out all of her background glass without any problems at all.  I love the fact that she was so worried about this not fitting together and yet look at how this fits--.now she knows that there is room for a margin of error when it comes to stained glass.  Do you see any flaws in this window?  I don't!

Ann's Geometric design is so close to being completely ground that I can't wait to see her start on her background glass!  The background will consist of only 10 pieces and they'll all be extremely easy to cut so this is really nearing completion now.  And the best part of her background pieces is that none of them are tiny which means they'll go together quickly and easily.


And speaking of tiny pieces, Susan's got the majority of her her window wrapped now.  Some of these pieces are almost miniscule but every one of them fit together and aligned perfectly before they were foiled and then again after she'd foiled them.  Susan left the perfect amount of wiggle room to ensure that the pieces wouldn't grow and swing out of alignment once she added foil to everything.  When this comes back in she'll have her background glass cut and add her double borders.  I'd say that the light at the end of the tunnel is at most an arms length away.


Talk about a blast from the past.  It's been a while since we've seen this window laid out on the work table but here it is.  Yvette had to drop her project when she went back to work and now that she has a baby (Miles!) it looked unlikely that this would get completed.  But Bonnie has decided that she would help Yvette finish off this window in between projects of her own.  There's a lot already done on this Peacock but there's also a lot that isn't.  It won't happen overnight but Bonnie is going to spend a little time each month on this until it sees the light of day.  This week Bonnie added the green feather pieces into the tail and then began grinding them.  There are only one more set of tail feathers to go and the rest should be fairly easy.

And speaking of babies, Brenda's Woman and Child window is officially ground and ready for foil.  Once it's tacked together she'll cut her 21 piece border and solder this up!  I love the painted face (I've said it before but I just have to say it again).  Brenda's use of pastel colors really make the woman stand out.

Cindy's not Monkeying around with this window.  It's only been two weeks and she's got this practically ready for solder.  The center has been tacked together and she was wrapping the border pieces as I was snapping this picture (which explains the missing border section on the upper left).  I'm pretty sure she had finished wrapping all of it before class ended so this will definitely be shown completed in our next update.

Donna came in with her Iris, leaves and flower pot not only ground but tacked together as well.  From there on out it was fairly simple to finish off the glass cutting so she could continue this while she's at home this week.  She picked a clear glass for the background and then a heavily textured clear for the border.  I have no doubt that this will be finished when I see it again so expect the final picture of this in our next post.

Jane also made some major progress on her Rose Window.  She came in with all of her flower petals tacked together so she began  cutting out the rounded background section.  Once she finished cutting and grinding them I thought that she might possibly get them wrapped and tacked together before class ended but then she surprised me and even got the second background that squares the window cut and ground.  The piece in the upper left is missing only because Jane was grinding it as I was snapping this picture.

Martha's been bouncing around a bit from project to project but each of them are seeing progress.  She took her Frog window home with her to solder the back side this week and while she was in class she worked on cutting out the background of her latest Dragonfly Window.  It's a little smaller than the one she made before but that doesn't detract from the design at all as you can see here.  She's begun grinding it and will continue working on this while she's at home.  This is looking great and we'll see it finished soon!

Myrt's also moving along quickly on her Pelican Window.  I'm pretty sure this is her second week of work on this multi-pieced project.  She's got it all cut out already and practically has it completely ground as well.  I love the way she took the initiative to redo the pattern to make it her own.  I think she's going to be real proud of this when she completes this project.

Wow, doesn't Terry's Faux-Beveled window looks incredible?  It's all cut, ground, wrapped and tacked together and ready for the border to be added at this point in time.  Her use of clear textured glass along with a bold textured red makes this window nothing if not visually striking.  This is essentially a one colored window since it's done in only red and clear and I can't wait to see it back lit!

Well, with all of what you've just looked at being done in class and at home I find it hard to believe that we have students doubting their abilities.   I always say that if you pick up a piece of glass and expect to break it then it almost surely will.  Just a little confidence can carry you a very long way.  That said, we never let anyone start anything that we feel they can't accomplish so if you've started a project with us then you should always expect it to turn out wonderfully.  It's a class rule that we never break!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Remake It!

We have quite the assortment of projects to look at this week and our theme is the name of our update: Remake It!  We're seeing a lot of work being made a second, third and forth time not because there was anything wrong with it initially.  In fact, it's very much the opposite--  People are loving what they see and wanting the same window made for their homes.  They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all this extra work proves it!  Now let us see what everyone has been doing.

Ok, I just love this pattern!  Bonnie loved her original Bee so much that she decided to Remake It!   We all know that this is the second time that we're seeing this Bee Lawn Ornament but the difference is that this time around I have  perfect pictures of it so you can see how she's 'curved' her glass to give the bee a three dimensional effect rather than making it a simple flat project.  Note that none of the glass is curved, however-- she simply angled the wings and the bottom stripes before tacking the bee together (just as you do with a stained glass lamp).

Next we look at Terry's completed Hanson LSU Window.  Another job well done although it did have a SLIGHT issue that was easily rectified.  The 'H' is formed out of the blue glass and since cutting the long runs into smaller pieces would have make the 'H' unrecognizable Terry left them whole.  Now I have to say that  I would have done the exact same thing.  The only problem is that when you are soldering heat tends to build up quickly in pieces that are long and narrow. It's the reason why we break up borders into smaller pieces.  But sometimes design outweighs practicality and this was one of those cases.  But sure enough we discovered a heat crack in the left bar of the 'H' when the window was washed.  That said, it was an easy repair and as you can see, no one will ever know but you and I.  Terry tells me that she has to make four of these (Remake It!) so we should be seeing some more in various color schemes throughout the coming weeks.

Tim has been very busy at home and these next two windows are the fruits of his labor.  He's modified the halo of the angel in this second version of his first stained glass project.  The modification makes the cutting easier and pattern flow better.  (That makes this the second of our 'Remake It!' windows this week.) Tim had a slight issue when constructing this window but he used his head and adjusted the pattern so he could finish it at home without the need for any more glass.  I won't tell you what he changed because in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter and there is nothing to find fault with in this window.

This is the second of three windows that Tim was working on that he managed to completed this week .  All three are being auctioned off for a charity and Tim has proven himself to be a VERY charitable person.  The work in these windows goes above and beyond what most people would do.  And Tim's skills are progressing more and more with each project that he makes.  We'll see one more of these Tiger Eye/LSU windows (Remake It!) completed when he returns next week and then Tim will move on to some projects for himself.

Ann's multi-small-piece geometric extravaganza window is REALLY coming together now.  With both corner sections completely tacked together and more than half of the middle section ground you can really see what this window is all about.  I'm expecting this to be completed real soon now! It's going to be stunning when the dark blue background is put in place (not that it isn't already).

Brenda is now officially the queen of Stained Glass Women.  He motif for a lot (and by that I mean A LOT!) of her windows involves a woman.  It's a popular subject and her she carries out each of her visions perfectly.  We're calling her newest window 'Woman with Baby Standing in Front of a Window by the Sea That You Can't See Because of The Green Curtains That are Blocked by The Yellow Bassinet That Is Currently Empty'.  Maybe we'll just call it 'Woman With a Baby'.   Brenda's sister, Terry, has put in a helping hand on this by  painting a beautiful face onto the glass.  I can't wait to see this one completed.

Just look at that Monkey Face!   Cindy needed a quick gift for a soon to be born boy by the name of Kealan.  Rather than making an easy and quick Monkey Suncatcher, Cindy has opted to make a window that goes above and beyond by incorporating Kealan's name in a flag which adds another 37 or so TINY pieces into the project.  When you consider that the rest of the window only has 29 pieces in it you can see that Cindy has effectively doubled the work load for this project.  But like I always say, the extra work you put into a window is never transparent-- it always shows.  And this is no exception.  I was impressed at the progress that Cindy made in just one night on this window and can't wait to see how it looks when it returns.

Linda came in with her pieces all wrapped and even tacked together.  She wasn't sure of what to expect when it came to cutting the background glass but she was ready to go for it.  We cut a rectangular piece of glue chip glass, laid the centerpiece that she had tacked together on top of it, and then traced the outline.  After we finished cutting away glass that we didn't need, the background practically fit together without a need for grinding.  I don't think Linda spent more than 20 minutes at the grinder making a perfect fit.  Then she wrapped all of her pieces and got the window tacked  together before calling it a night.  Now that's production!  The only thing left to cut is her border and even though her design cuts into it she'll have an easy time completing this beautiful project.

Linda also brought this project in with her-- it's a Fan Lamp design that she worked on while she was at home. She wanted me to look it over before she committed herself to the work she'd done by tacking it all together.  I looked it over and gave her two thumbs up because there wasn't a single thing I could point a finger at even if I wanted to nit-pick at her.  Linda knows what she's doing and the work she's doing at home proves it.

Betty  worked on this Beveled Cross suncatcher while she was at home and the work is stupendous.  She had tacked it together and even soldered it but she was unhappy with the soldering job so she brought it in for me to look at.  There really wasn't any problem at all but the solder wasn't as straight as it could have been only because the clear glass she used was heavily textured.  The foil lies in a straight line on the front, smooth side but the back will always be somewhat uneven as the foil must adjust to different thicknesses in the glass.  Betty is going to put a finished bead on the edges and then bring this back in so we can see it completed next week.

Betty also worked on this Geometric Window during class and she's got most of the hard part completed.  She picked her colors and starting cutting out the center pieces of the window.  She was going to go with some purple accent pieces but worried that they would wash out being mixed in with her bright yellow, blue, and greens.  Once it's all ground and fitting together we'll get a better feel for how the colors flow but I think things are looking great.  Her color choices really make this a different window from the one that Linda is working on (which is the same design).  Remake It!


Donna came in with a pattern in mind that's VERY familiar to me.  I've been making this window for years and years because it's always been a best seller.  It's exceptionally balanced (the large flower is offset perfectly by the squat pot at the bottom), it's neither too small nor too big, it's not expensive to make nor too cheap, and it's delicate and bold at the same time.  There are a lot of tiny inner curves to the Iris that require the use of a small 1/8th grinding bit but when it all fits together it's a work of art.  Donna got a lot of this cut out but she packed it away before I could snap a picture.  I promise that we will see her glass choices when she brings it back during her next class. 

Meanwhile Jane started working on this rounded but square flower window.  I had made this for someone in New York and liked it so much that I made it again just to have in the shop and to take to shows with us.  Well, I don't have it anymore because it sold at the last show we did.  I used less clear than one might use when making this but I don't know what Jane plans on doing for all of her backgrounds and borders.   But when you have a pattern that looks this good it's hard to lose!

And this is Lynn's second Seahorse window (Remake It!).  The Seahorse in this one faces the other direction which is a less fancy way for me to say that it's a mirror image of her first window.  Now I have to say that  I was shocked when Lynn walked in with this so far along because I had no clue she was even making a second one! In fact, when I first saw it I got worried that something had happened to the first one and that she was in the process of repairing it.  I'm so impressed with the work Lynn has been doing at home and I think that this is a great example of showing just how quickly a second window can come together.  The first one always takes a little longer to make and any others after that first one are a piece of cake.

Martha has got many (soldering) irons in the fire, so to speak, and these are the current projects that she worked on in class this week.  Her Angel on the left is now completely ground and ready to be wrapped.  But rather than foiling in class she decided to work on her Dragon Fly window so could could foil all of her pieces at home during the week.  Now that's what I call class time well utilized.

And just look at how far Mary Grace has come along with her first project with us.  Her flowers, leaves, and humming bird are not only all cut out but they're ground and ready to be wrapped.  In fact, that's what Mary Grace will be doing while she's at home between classes-- foiling pieces.  When she comes back in she'll cut the 5 remaining stems, tack this together and then cut out the background glass.  I'm predicting that the circle will be tacked together when she returns and that's the lion's share of the work on this window.  She's moving along wonderfully!

Myrt is leaving her Balloon window for now and jumping over to a variation of Terry's Pelican window.  The Balloons will return but not until this window is completed.   Myrt has changed the right side of this window so much that you might not recognize the design.  And what a great job she did!  At the rate things are going I'm going to be able to hire our Tuesday night ladies to draw all of my patterns for me!  Myrt has her glass picked and will begin cutting this when she returns (unless she starts this at home which she is apt to do.)

Susan's dedication to detail is what is making this window really stand out. She's been working on the bulk of this while at home and she's got it fitting together perfectly.  I was concerned that the gloves wouldn't be obvious but Susan not only has her pieces ground to fit but she's also left enough space between the pieces to avoid having the glass shift and spin out of place when she foils each of the tiny,tiny pieces of glass.  Truly a labor of love, this window is going to come out even better than I ever imagined and it's all due to Susan's exceptional work ethic.

We're going to wrap things up by looking at Terry's latest pair of projects.  This window is based on a bevel design but Terry has cut it out of glass instead of using bevels.  She's cut the beveled edges out of red granite glass and the centers out of clear granite.  It's hard to see what's happening here but trust me when I saw that this is one elegant looking design with an exceptional use of minimal but striking color.

Terry also had a window to repair for someone but the repair work was just going to be too involved so she opted for the quick and less expensive way to fix the window--  remake it!  The original was done with lead came which is a more tradition way to make windows (we focus primarily on the Copper Foil Method) but the pieces didn't fit together well and the window was apparently never sealed correctly.  Rather than spending an elaborate amount of time taking apart and reconstructing the original window Terry copied the design and matched the glass accordingly.  And this is what she has now.  The border only needs to be ground and then wrapped before she can solder this and call it finished. 

And that as they say is that.  There's so much being done in class with multiple students working on multiple projects that it's hard for me to keep track of things.  Every now and then I'll credit something incorrectly but I try to fix the errors and right the wrongs when they do occur.  Let me tell you, it's tough getting old!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Her make-up is a little off!   :-)

Monday, April 8, 2013

No Easter Eggs Here

With an Easter Weekend ahead of us we decided to take a trip up to PA to visit my family for the Holiday.  Classes were cut a bit short due to this trip but there's still plenty of projects to look at.  Having just returned this update is a week late but since there were no classes following Easter we're now (as you read this) up to date and ready to start a full week of classes.

Let's all give Martha a big round of applause for her Cross and Flowers window hanging.  With the bulk of the work being done almost entirely at home this is a project that put Martha's skills to the test.  And the good news is that she passed with flying colors!  She had brought in the pattern for me to look over but the original had the flowers made as a separate entity and then tacked on top of the cross.   That's all fine and dandy if you don't mind the flowers always staying dark since there would never be any light behind them.  Then there's the problem with the fact that they wouldn't be seen from the back side of the cross.  So we re-angled the flowers and stretched them out here and there to make the cross cut-able. Now it lights up wonderfully and the flowers are visible from both the front and back.

Jane came in and put the finishing touches on her Classic Stained Glass Window Design.  I went over her soldering by simply touching up a few joints to make sure that things were flowing together evenly and then it was complete.  After a little consideration and a small vote within the class it was a unanimous decision to leave the lead silver since that look worked best for this window.  Jane also worked on something else that I didn't manage to get a picture of and I can't remember what it was for the life of me!  (My mind doesn't work the way it used to.)  So I guess we'll see what that second project was in our next update!

This is Terry's latest window and it's her variation of our Tiger Eyes window.  Terry's simplified it without taking away any of the Tiger's personality in the design.  And the simplification means that this version is much easier and quicker to make (not that Terry can't complete anything quickly!)  This is yet another standout job by Terry.

  Brenda has certainly been busy.  Here we get to look at the two windows that she completed this week-- Her Ballerina Dancer and her Hibiscus Window.  Brenda's really become an accomplished student and the funny thing is that she had once said that she'd never be able to do this!  Well, I'll just let her work show her how wrong she was.

We've been looking at Ann's project in bits and pieces since the new year so let's take a look at her window in it's entirety.  The upper left quarter circle is already assembled and tacked together.  The upper right quarter circle is ground and ready to be foiled once she cuts 2 final blue pieces (which happen to be the largest pieces in that section so they'll be easy enough).   And the large center half circle is moving right along now that the majority of it has been ground.  Once these three 'circular' pieces are tacked she'll join them into a single window with more blue glass as the background and then finish it off with a final black border.  There are a lot of tiny pieces in this but Ann is sticking to it and seeing a lot of progress now.

Martha took a week off from working on her Frog Window so she could work on this Angel as a gift for someone.  She doubted she could get this far in a single night but she did wonderfully since the angel is all cut out and about half way ground.  I can't wait to see this completed because Martha's moving with lightning speed on this Angel and I know it will do a lot to boost her confidence even further.

Brenda also worked on her Fish Window this week and it's making quite a splash.  A lot of our students get disappointed when they cut out all their glass pisces and it doesn't fit together on the pattern.  Well, that's why we have grinders.  I don't care how perfect you think your glass cutting is, everything will need to be ground to get the window to fit together.  That said, there's no mistaking what this window is even though it isn't ground yet.  That's a testament to how good Brenda's become at cutting glass since the subject matter is plainly recognizable.

Donna came into class with a mission in mind: To cut out these two door inserts.  Not only did she pick out glass and then cut them, but she also got them both ground as well.  And all in the confines of a 3 hour class!  She did have some incentive though-- a deadline before the weekend!  All she needs to do now is foil and then solder these and I know she's more than capable of accomplishing that at home.  Isn't it amazing how the use of color can make a design look so different?

Shelley's Woman In a Bathtub will certainly be completed when she returns.  With everything tacked together and the front completely soldered she knows she's just about ready to come up with something for her next project.  I still like the look of this window with the double border and I can't wait to hang it up for it's official picture next week.  It's been a lot of work for Shelley but in the end every minute she spent on this shows up in the finished product.  Not a moment was wasted time.

Terry also began working on her newest version of an LSU window.  I believe she's actually making 2 of these (remember, my mind isn't what it used to be...) and this one is already ground and primed for some foil and solder.  I'm half expecting to see both of these together when she returns for her next class.

Next we have a look at the THREE(!) windows that Tim has been busy working on.  Two LSU windows to the left and the second rendition of his original Angel Panel on the right.  Tim has been working on these non-stop and the only work left is for them to be soldered.  And I'd like to point out that all of his work is going to benefit charity.  BTW, the 2 LSU windows are identical in colors-- one is sitting on a table and the other is on a white piece of paper which is changing the look of the glass between pictures.

Cindy has started making her Morning Glory Flower Mirror but this isn't a hand mirror.  It's a wall hanging mirror for her bathroom.  She has a number of the flowers cut, ground and tacked together but by the time I got to her section of the work table she's already packed them up for the return trip home.  So I snapped this partial picture of her pattern to at least let everyone see what it will look like. 


That about does it this time around.  Classes resume tomorrow and I'm expecting everyone to arrive so expect and update of epic proportions when you hear from us again.  Even I can't wait to see what our students bring in the door with them!