Monday, July 29, 2013

Get It Right From the Start

I often hear students say that they know something isn't correct but that they'll fix it later.  It's usually heard from newer students who haven't realized that once things are tacked together a simple 5 minute fix can turn into an entire class affair.  Straight edges are especially important in finished pieces because even though most people can't draw a straight line  anyone can tell when a line isn't straight.  So make sure your window is squared and even before you tack it together and you'll find that the rest of the project will go very smoothly.

So let's start with Brenda's latest Ballerina Window which turned out wonderful.  The choices in color, almost all involving purple,  are spot on without having the window fall into purple overload.  But what impresses me most about this piece is how Brenda matched the legs covered by the skirt to the sections that aren't covered.  It really looks as though you are seeing through a sheer material.  And I also have to point out the piece of clear background glass that her head cuts into.  Now that's great cutting and grinding because it fits perfectly.

Ann polished off another Fleur De Lis Window and a lot of the women on Thursday night were very intrigued by her choice of glass for the Fleur De Lis itself.  The glass 'pattern' is called Baroque and it's a clear glass with color literally poured into the glass to make random swirls and lines.  In this case it accentuates the brown border glass perfectly.


Our second Fleur De Lis was made by Betty.  Utilizing an abundance of bevels the only color in this window is the background glass which is actually 3-toned.  It's a very traditional window realized with some very traditional bevels and coloration.  The work is wonderful and all I can say is, "Great Job!"

And then we watched as Mary completed her Sunflower Wndow this week.  She had the front side completely soldered and just had the back side to go before calling this piece finished.  I let her watch me solder because I've found that it's easier to teach (at times) through demonstration rather than lecture.  Mary knows what she's doing and is very competent but watching me solder may reveal some things that I may do differently than she does.  I think the thing that students are most surprised about is how long I wait at a joint for all the solder to blend or merge together.  I stop and do a slow one..two...three count before I raise my iron which makes all my joints look picture perfect.  Much like in this window.

This is Cindy's second Corn and Crab Holder.  The colors are slightly different but the workmanship remains the same-- flawless.  Cindy makes this by soldering both the Crab side and the Corn side as 2 separate 'windows'.  Then once they're completely soldered she adds the bottom and 2 side pieces joining it together as a single 3D piece ready to hold whatever you want to place inside of it.

Becky has her background circle all cut and ground and she's taken it home so she can wrap it.  When she returns she'll tack it and then add four corner pieces and a double border to finish it all off.  This is a beautiful pattern and it's hard to believe that this is Becky's first stained glass project. She's unsure about what colors to go with the the remainder of this window but I actually have a few idea's of my own that I think she might like.

Cindy resumed working on her Deer Window this week and now that the border is wrapped and ready to be tacked together I can honestly say that I'll be thoroughly shocked if Cindy doesn't have this completed when she walks in the door.  We've decided to put a larger zinc channel on this piece to make sure it's nice and sturdy but that will happen when she returns next week.

Betty continued working on her Hummingbird/Flower window and it's just about ready to be soldered.  She cut and ground the final border during class and her attention to detail about that outside border made me proud.  Everything fits perfectly and all of the edges of the outside border line up perfectly which is SOOO important on a window like this.  Also, the shape is a perfectly symmetrical oval which is exactly what she was going for.  I can't wait to see this one completed.

Bonnie really impressed me with the soldering that she accomplished on her lamp this week.  She's never done anything in 3D before so I assumed that this would go slowly but boy was I ever wrong.  Not only did she move at a steady pace but she also soldered beautifully!  With all the grid work completed she's bound to see this lamp completed a week earlier than I original estimated.

Brenda began working on her newest Fleur De Lis Window and I think this one will have a nice scrollwork border surrounding it when it's completed.  Normally borders are quick and easy but the curvy ones (although easy) end up taking a little more time.  But as I always say, the border really makes the window so this has no choice but to turn out spectacularly.

Helen has moved right along on her Fancy Bordered Iris Window.  It's all cut, ground and tacked (save for the final border) so this is pretty much finished.  The soldering may take a little time since it's her first window but the hard part is easily behind her at this point.  I hope we can see this completed but with her busy schedule and the distance that she travels to come to class Helen has had to drop out for a while.  But she enjoys doing this and already has a pattern for her next project.

Wow, color me impressed.  Mary Grace is still a relatively new student but she traced out her pattern this week, picked most of her glass and then got all of it cut out save for 8 straight pieces which will be a piece of cake for her once she decides on what color they should be.  I'm so impressed at what she's accomplished this week!

Well here it just about is!  Shelley's Dog Window is all cut, wrapped and tacked together which means that she'll add her final border when she comes back in and then begin soldering it!  She's done a great job working on this and I know that she'll be thrilled when it's completed and hanging in a window.  I can honestly say that this is the first Dog in a Cemetery window that we've seen done in class-- And I like it!

Meanwhile, Susan resumed cutting her glass and is about ready to start grinding the last 2 sections of her panel lamp.  I recall Julie making a panel lamp while in class years ago but I believe that was the only one so it will be good to see this one completed.  Now that Susan is nearing the home stretch I'm going to have to get busy working on her next pattern (which will remain a secret until she starts to work on it).

Tami's Flower Window is all cut out (the 5 background pieces were real easy for her) so she's begun the next step which is grinding all of her glass.  As you can see Tami has the better part of half of it ground so there's a good chance that she'll complete the grinding and then start wrapping this when she comes in again next week.

Terry's lamp is more than half way soldered which means that she could possibly finish this next week.  Terry,  like Bonnie, made the soldering process look easy. Once the 3 bands of borders are soldered she'll flip it over and then apply a flat solder to the under side of the lamp.  That will go real quickly and then it will only need a bath in the sink and some color and Terry will have another project ready to take home.

Myrt has not one, not two but THREE(!) irons in the fire at this point in time.  The only thing she has left to do on her Hot Air Balloon Window is to solder it, but meanwhile she has 2 other projects that need to get done ASAP.  She has her Dove and Cross project almost completed but has decided to turn it into a window rather than a suncatcher.  You'll see how that evolves when you see it again next week.  Meanwhile she's also begun working on this fancy bordered Fleur De Lis Window as well.  It looks like Myrt will be keeping very busy over the next few weeks!

Lastly we take a look at the newest window that Linda began work on -- a beveled Celtic Knot.    We added 8 small square bevels and then joined them with some graceful curves to fill out the octagon without detracting from the centerpiece itself.  Now that her bevel is wrapped and tacked Linda will begin cutting her glass for this  next week.

We've missed Martha.  Tuesday nights haven't been the same without her and we really hoped to see her this week but it just wasn't in the cards.  But she's back from her trip all safe and sound so I know she'll have stories to tell when she's in again on Tuesday!  


Monday, July 22, 2013

Be a Deer and Hand Me the Flux

I was going to start this out with another stained glass hint but I realize that I didn't take the required pictures to show what I planned to talk about.  So we're just going to jump straight into our students work this week.  We'll have another stained glass tip in our next update.

Well, it looks to me like Linda's Vegetable Window is ripe and ready for hanging.  This makes her old window look almost abysmal (it was hanging in her kitchen so I can't insult it too much!)  But seriously, Linda did a great job on this window and I could tell by the way she was always smiling that she had a great time making it.  And let's not forget that she's currently redecorating her kitchen to match this window... I think that speaks volumes as to how much Linda loves her latest creation.

Meanwhile this week, Mary Grace put the finishing touches (meaning the bottom tray section) on her first Stained Glass Box.  Apparently she's tried her hand at making one before but the hinge assembly didn't work out very well.  But now that she see's just how easy it is to do so she won't be having any problems with them from here on out.  Of course, it's always easy once you know the secret.  Mary Grace's Flower Box turned out so nice I'm posting 2 pictures of it--one slightly opened and one with the lid closed.

Last week Bonnie got slightly side tracked from working on her lamp so she did some last minute adjustments to it and then started this Cross Suncatcher.  This week she finished her cross, which is a  more traditional squared off design with a beveled center and 4 small accent globs that make a BIG difference in the overall appeal of the project.  The off-white cross makes the blue beads stand out beautifully, don't you think?

Of course Bonnie wasn't going to walk away after her cross was soldered.  She planned on getting all of her lamp assembled and tacked together-- which she did.  We don't have the brass cap attached yet but the rest of the lamp completely assembled and VERY sturdy even with just a flat bead of solder holding it together.  Bonnie will certainly begin soldering this next but first we'll attach the brass cap (for stability) that will allow it to hang from its lamp base.

Terry's lamp got assembled this week as well.   I started Terry off showing her how to place the pieces on the waxed mold and about an hour later I looked over and found that Terry had it all together.  She tacked it and then ran a flat bead of solder on everything leaving us with the task of separating the full lamp from the mold.  We heated it with a hair dryer and inside of 10 minutes it popped off nicely.  Terry, like Bonnie, will begin soldering her lamp when she returns.

It would appear that Lamps are the 'thing' to make now.  Susan's been hard at work on her panel lamp for a while and this week she began cutting out the third and fourth sections.  With the first two panels ready to be soldered Susan is at the halfway point of this project.   It won't be long before she solders her four sides and then tacks them together to form a completed lamp.

Brenda has the front and most of the back of her Purple Ballerina window all soldered which means that this will certainly be a complete window when she returns.  She's already got her next few projects planned out and they're going to be beveled cross windows with far fancier borders than we're used to seeing.  And we'll see those get started in our next update!

Becky came in and went right to work cutting out the green glass for her flowers leaves.  Once they were cut she then ground everything so it fit together perfectly.  She moved quickly and efficiently  and by the time class ended her glass was ready to be wrapped.  She's taken it home and if she manages to come back with her pieces foiled I'm going to say that she'll easily have the background cut and ground.  Everything fits together wonderfully and this is shaping up to be an outstanding piece.

Cindy made a few alterations on her Deer's antlers and then wrapped any tacked it all together save for the background which she is cutting out now.  She has a good portion of it cut but since it's a clear, textured glass it's hard to see in the picture.  I  suspect that Cindy will be adding a border to this next week and then it will basically be complete.  Meanwhile she's also working on a Crab/Corn tray for herself since she loved how the last one turned out.  As you can see she already has the front and back finished so the hard part if this project is already behind her.

Ann worked on her Angel Hand Mirror which she has wrapped and ready for tacking (but I somehow didn't get a picture of it).  She also worked on her newest Fleur De Lis Window which I did managed to photograph.  She only has to cut 4 corners to cut before she tacks this together but  the glass she decided to use for the corners is at home so she just left the corners empty for now.  That didn't slow anything down for her during class so I'm sure that this will be another completed project next week.

Helen came in with most of her Iris Window completed.  She had run out of glass and still needs to cut  three more of the 'ribbon-ish' sections of the inner border but one they're cut and fitted into place she'll be home free with her first window.  Once this is tacked together all she'll need to complete this are two borders and some solder!

Mary seems to be in love with clear, textured glass.  And that's fine because I love clear, textured glass as well,  but it really makes it hard for me to show you what she's accomplished because it doesn't show up in the photos!   That said, her window is 100% cut , ground and even wrapped.  She plans on tacking it it home and perhaps she'll even solder it there as well.  We'll know for sure when she returns next week.

Myrt took a small break from her Balloon Window to make this Dove/Cross Suncatcher and start another Fleur De Lis Window as well.  Both of her new projects are all cut and ground which means that she's only got to wrap them before moving on to the next steps.  I'm pretty much expecting the cross to be finished  and the fleur de Lis to be ready for it's background which will involve a fancy border much like the one Brenda plans on using for her Cross window.

Wow, Tami really impressed me this week with the cutting on her first window.  When she completed her butterfly she told me that she would like to make the top of Mary Graces box as a stand alone window.  Honestly, I thought it was too simple for a stand alone project so I asked if I could 'flesh the idea out some' so to speak,  Tami agreed and this is what I came up with.  And since she already  has all but 5 pieces cut I'm glad I went with the more complex design.   So that was the long way of saying that Tami did GREAT working on her first 'real' project.  I could see her confidence grow with each cut she made and there's no doubt that she'll be grinding this next week.

Betty continued working on her 2 windows.  It's hard to see but she's got all of her background cut and ground in her Flower/Hummingbird window.   That means that the only thing left to do is cut out the border and she's ready to tackle that while she's at home during the week.  Meanwhile she's going to cover the brass channel she put on her Fleur De Lis Window with lead and then touch up some rough spots to finally (did I just say 'finally'?  She's only been working on it for a week!) call this window complete.

And ending on a sad note we take a look at the 3D star that Tim began at home.  He brought in the triangle bevel pieces all ready to be assembled and he also brought in a new LSU window that just needed some channel on it (that I never got a picture of).   What's so sad about that?  Well, it was Tim's last class with us.  I'll state for the record that he's officially graduated with honors and I'm pleased that Tim will be continuing to make stained glass at home.  Looking at the work he accomplished on his latest LSU window proved to me that he knows what he's doing.  He, Jane and Donna are going to missed on our Wednesday night classes. 

That about wraps it up this week--  See you all in again seven days!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Just a Little Is Enough

Flux.  You can't solder a window without it but just like anything else in life we need to use it in moderation.  Flux is a mild acid that removes impurities from the surface of the copper foil that all of our glass pieces are wrapped with.  But too much means that the excess flux will literally boil when the hot solder hits it.  This can result in uneven lead lines on the front side of your project, which may not be too terrible but on the back of your window too much flux will cause nothing but headaches as you try to solder.  If you're experiencing sputtering and you're dealing with tiny explosions of lead as you are soldering your window you'll want to remove some of the flux by going over the surface with a paper towel.  As a rule of thumb I always wipe off my flux brush on the rim of the flux bottle before touching the glass.  It helps insure that I don't have puddles of flux and allows me to get an even bead most every time.  And that's our tip for the week.

Lat's start looking at our students work.  Betty basically made this window while she was at home last week.  There was only the need for a few slight soldering touchups and then the addition of a zinc channel to hold the window together firmly.  These clear patchwork quilt windows have always been a popular design and lately we've been seeing a lot more of them.  It's funny how certain patterns seem to have a life of their own once people see them completed.

Tammy is our newest student and this is her Butterfly.  I love her choice of glass because, truth be told, this blue/green has always been one of my favorite pieces of glass.  As you can see she went with a green butterfly body and a yellow head which compliments the blue/green wings perfectly.  Tammy plans on making a flower window when she comes back next week and I have no doubt that she'll  make a stunning window.

Speaking of working at home-- Ann came in with this Angel mirror design all cut, and ground.  She just wanted me to look it over before she began wrapping it and I gave it two thumbs up!  The rounded space between the wings will be filled in with mirror once this is tacked together which makes this a complex but wonderful hand mirror.  And I'm thrilled with Ann's work!

While Ann was in class she decided to work on a second stained glass Fleur De Lis window.  She's unsure of the exact size that this will end up but the rest of this window is made without a pattern anyway.  When she comes back she'll drop this on top of her background glass, trace around it and put it all together  As it stands now the Fleur De Lis only needs to be wrapped and tacked together.

Becky's first 'real' night of class with us was an eye opener for me.  She picked out the glass for her window, traced out the pattern and cut out all of the yellow flower pieces.  Then she ground her pieces on her own getting them to fit together perfectly with barely any help at all.  I suspect that Becky is going to make very short work out of this pattern which is going to turn into a beautiful window.

Betty brought in this beveled Fleur De Lis that she had tacked together and picked a nice, rich brown glass for its background.  She wasn't sure if she should tack her beveled border together first or cut the background and in the end we went with cutting the background.  On of our basic rules is to tack your window together before we attach the border(s).  No that Betty's background is cut and ground it just needs to be wrapped and soldered.

With the 6 pieces of background glass completed in her FDL Window Betty also got to work on her Humming Bird and Iris window as well.  I love the slanted, leaning design of this window and think her choice of colors is perfect.  While her Fleur De Lis window is very traditional, this one is very modern making for two nicely contrasting designs.

Bonnie took a bit of a break from her lamp this week and cut out this Cross Suncatcher.  At first she thought that the blue accent pieces were just glued onto the top of the cross but glueing glass onto glass is a definite no-no in stained glass so they have been cut into the the cross.  It only took about 10 minutes to grind out the 4 small circles and the end result is a suncatcher that looks just as good from the back as well as the front.  And Bonnie has at least 2 others lined up to be made as well.

And Brenda's Ballerina Woman is really taking shape now.  She spent her class grinding away at the grinder and as you can see she has this window pretty much under her belt now.  With only the bottom leg left to grind and 4 surrounding pieces left to go I'd say that this is another Woman in Glass Window that Brenda can certainly be proud of making.

Cindy began working on her deer window this week and she's moving along at a precise and steady pace.  As always, everything is fitting together beautifully.  Cindy's stained glass talents have really grown leaps and bounds over the past few months and her work is a testimonial to that fact as you can see here.

Linda's Vegetable Window is officially cut and tacked together--border and all.  The Brass channel has been attached to the edges and Linda has already begun soldering it.  I'm willing to state for the record that this will be completed when she returns next week because I can't imagine her not soldering it while she has it home.  She's very pleased (excited!) with how it looks already so I can't wait until she sees it all washed up and polished with some light behind it.   It's a keeper, that's for sure!

Mary came in with her Sunflower all tacked together and ready for some background glass action.  She laid this on top of the clear textured glass that she picked, traced around the flower and then got all her pieces cut and ground.  She's wrapping them now which means that she'll just need to add a border when she returns.

Shelley's Dog window is very close to being soldered now.  In fact, it's so close that I really need to look at the face and determine the best way to get the last few pieces together.  All it needs at this point is some eyes and the inner ear sections and then she'll tack it and add a border.  This window certainly has a 'cemetery' feel about it-- her use of color is perfect!

Next we look at the second side of Susan's four sided panel lamp which is just about ground.  She took the first section home to wrap and I'll say that she'll be grinding her 3rd section when she returns next week.  Susan also has her next window pretty much lined up so she's ready to be done with this lamp project already!  :-)

Mary Grace managed to complete the top lid of her box the week.  She came in and cut the background and the borders, ground everything and soldered it all together.  Then she even washed and colored it to boot!  With the top completed that only leaves the 5 pieces of glass that form the box itself which means that she'll certainly walk out the door with a completed box when she comes back in next week.

And all that's left to report on this week is Terry who can now see the light at the end of the tunnel with her lamp.  All of her background , flowers and leaves have been cut, ground and wrapped.  She has everything all stacked into piles three pieces tall and the only thing left to do is wrap her border (all 108 pieces).   When she comes back in she'll start assembling this onto the mold and you'll see this literally take shape.

We only had 2 completed projects this week but something tells me that next week is going to be a busy week here in the shop.  There are a LOT of projects nearing completion so I'm expecting to see a large amount of finished window in our next update!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks