Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Screwdriver Incident (and Other Tales of Woe)

Well, we didn't have lobster Tuesday night but we did have plenty of shrimp!  Tuesday night classes have been known to resemble a high end buffet rather than a stained glass class and the main dish this week was Shrimp Gumbo (and it was G-R-R-REAT!)  We're sorry Martha missed it but we're sure she had fun.  We had our laughs as well but if any readers want to know the Screwdriver story I'm going to plead the 5th.  Perhaps you can try talking to Brenda about it but I'm not sure she'll be able to repeat it without laughing herself into a tizzy!

As for the Blog, this is going to be (as I suspected) a short one since we only had two classes this week.  I was starting to think that we weren't going to have a finished project to unveil, but then Jeanne came through and gave me a completed window so let's start there.

First of all I have to say that Jeanne's soldering is rather amazing, especially when you take into consideration that this is the first real window that she's made with us.  I was MIA with other students while she soldered away by herself  and her work turned out wonderful.  It's a classy design and I love how Jeanne managed to knock this one out so quickly.

Brenda has all but 9 pieces ground in her 57' Chevy car window that I keep wanting to call Christine.  I suspect this will have some solder on it when it wheels its way back into class next week.  And once it's tacked together Brenda can get a border on it which means that this window is next to finished.

Cindy resumed work on her Stylized Fleur De Lis window and all that it needs is a background at this point.  She ground the FDL as she cut it so she'll most likely wrap this at home.  In fact, I'll be shocked if the centerpiece ISN'T tacked together.  And borders and background are easy enough for Cindy as is the soldering.

Linda L had her ribbons cut and ground last week and this time around she got them wrapped and tacked together.  Then she cut some clear Granite glass into three 8x5 pieces, laid the Ribbons on top of each piece, traced around them and then cut the Granite to fit each ribbon perfectly.  Once that was done she quickly skimmed each piece, wrapped them, tacked them, and soldered everything together.  By the time class was over her 3 box lids were complete along with the hinges attached to the tops.  When Linda L comes back she'll start working on the bottoms for these.

Here we are, two weeks into Shelley's Fleur De Lis project and all she has left to do is to solder it!  Now that's progress!  Again, I'm so impressed with her abilities.  Shelly has come a long way from her first day in class with us.  She's taken her window home so she can solder it there and then bring it back in for a picture next week.  Next up for Shelley, a tasteful nude.

Terry was working on the pattern for this window last week while she was in class but I didn't get a picture of it and then it completely slipped my mind while I was writing the blog.  So now we get to see the horse that she drew from a photograph as it runs splashing through the water .  Terry works quickly which explains why this horse is almost out the stable!

And lastly we take a look at the window that Myrt is about to start.  If it doesn't look familiar then you must be a new reader because Russ' Stylized Fleur De Lis pattern has taken our classes by a storm.  Inside of 2 months we've seen this pattern done multiple times and each time someone sees it completed we have someone else who wants to use the pattern!  Myrt plans on making hers with greens and blues as well as the glass you see sitting on top of the pattern in the picture below.

And that's about all we have this week.  I wish all of these posts were as easy to assemble as this one was.  Next week we'll most likely have all of our 18 students show up so if you were disappointed at the brevity of this post be sure to come back in a little over a week to check out what EVERYONE in class is working on.  See you then. 


Monday, November 25, 2013

Short People and The Solder Police

It's a big post this week.  With 18 students (some with multiple projects) we ended up with a grand total of twenty pictures to present to you.  Let's jump right in starting with our finished projects.

Okay, it's official-- I love Brenda's Tulip Window!  Everything about it-- the colors, the glass textures, the design, and the skill involved lining everything up is spot on.  I couldn't take a bad picture of this if I wanted to.  And Brenda did most of this at home since she didn't want to keep transporting the large board it was on back and forth from her house to the shop.  What a wonderful job! (And it's bigger than you might think.)

They fly!  They FLY!!  Myrt's completed Hot Air Balloon Window is not only picture perfect but is also the project that Myrt says she's had the most fun making.  (That's exactly what Cheryl had said when she made this window a few years back!)  And I must comment on Mryt's soldering:  She took her time and didn't try to rush the soldering process so when I looked over her finished work all I had to go over were a few small run throughs.  Since it's a large window I told her I'd wash and color it for her since I would be able to use the hose outside in the daylight the following day.  I scrubbed it a bit with a brush and everything cleaned up perfectly.  To myrt's credit there are no thick lead lines in this window and all of her curves are symmetrical, making this Myrt's best work yet.

And just look at this.  Janet was having nightmares (literally) about soldering her Cross Window and it was all for naught because she's done wonderfully!  Learning how to solder takes practice-- a lot of it.  The most common problem that people have is moving too fast (and worrying too much).  Once I get a student to slow down and relax things go much more smoothly.  And that's what's happened here.  In the end Janet was re-soldering and straightening out her lines herself.  I can't wait to see what she makes next.

Here's a look at our first completed LSU Tiger Claw window.  Or at least the first one completed in a few years now.  Betty handled all the work herself and I'm proud of her for being able to fill in the missing pieces of her LSU window all by herself.  This week she brought it in for me to look over her soldering but all I really did was add some hooks so she could hang it and then 'tin' the brass channel so everything would match when it got washed in patina.  All in all, another job well done!

We have more purple and gold up next, just in lighter hues.  Cindy's Circular Fleur De Lis Window has a few minor changes in it from the first time that Cindy made it.  What she did was break up four pieces that had deep inside curves which, in the end,  made them MUCH easier to cut out.  Did it hurt the design of the window?  Nope, not at all. 

Cindy also learned how to put together a 3-D Beveled Star this week.  She had wrapped and beaded the 13 bevels with lead before she came into class and then I showed her the trick of how to put it together.  You simply start from the center and work outward.  I know that sounds like it might be difficult but it's one of the easiest things in the world to do-- once you know the secret.  I believe it took less than 10 minutes to put this together once all the bevels had been prepped.

What's that, a butterfly?  We know that means a student has been added to the mix.  Let me introduce Susie to everyone.  She told me that she had some stained glass experience but we always start with a butterfly so I can see just how much experience we're dealing with.  In Susie's case it's a lot!  She made this butterfly look like child's play.  Because she has an understanding of the tools and the glass already I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to teach her anything, butut there were a few instances when she said 'I didn't know that' which makes me feel better about her taking classes.  Hopefully she'll be able to make use of the shortcuts that we teach because in my experience I've learned that there are many different ways to achieve a similar outcome but some methods are better (and easier) than the obvious way.  And discovering the best way to handle a situation is what our classes are all about.

We also saw Terry complete her very own Stylized Fleur De Lis panel this week.  It's fairly large (2 hooks were required) and Terry utilized textured glass nicely without overdoing it.  As always, Terry manages to make everything look easy.

Mary Grace has almost all of her Eagle Window ground now.  She's going to wrap and tack together what you see here and then decide how thick the glass forming the water across the bottom of the window will be.  It's only 3 pieces of glass so I don't expect that to take long at all and then she'll work on the border.  The toughest parts of this window are now complete and I have to say that Mary Grace did a great job.  She's come a long way and is now soaring like an eagle herself.

Becky's Ribboned Border Fleur De Lis is very near completion.  There's only one border left to go and then she'll be soldering it.  She worked out the breaks in her border all by herself and now has a good understanding of what makes a border work.  I was impressed that she was aware as to not split the borders in the middle because that would make the lead lines meet up perfectly with lines coming out of the center section of her window.  Staggering your lead lines is the correct way to handle borders.  Becky's work is so precise that I defy you to find a flaw in this piece.

Linda F resumed work on her LSU Tiger Claw Window and was grinding away when I realized that she still hadn't cut out her background glass.  This was the 'trap' that Betty had fallen into with her LSU window so we stopped grinding until Linda got all of her clear background cut out.  So far  things are looking good (not that I expect anything less of Linda).  Having all of the center cut will make for a much easier experience in grinding and fitting everything together.

Jeanne's Beveled Fleur De Lis has made some serious headway this weak.  Everything is cut and ground save for her final border (and that won't take but a half an hour to do.)  She only has 4 more pieces of the background left to wrap before she can tack this together.  It looks like someone will be soldering before she knows it!

Linda L has begun work on three Ribbon Boxes and they're moving right along.  Each of the ribbons are already cut and ground so she'll be cutting out the background glass for her box tops when she comes back in.  Once the tops are made the rest will move quickly.  But then again, these tops are moving quickly as well!

Ann's multi-bordered Stylized Fleur De Lis window is very near completion.  From the inside out the borders will be red, clear and then a final thicker black border.  You can see that the red border is attached but what you can't see is that the clear border is cut, ground, and halfway wrapped.  That means that Ann really only has one final border to go when she returns and then she'll be soldering.  And that border is already cut into strips...

Betty made this beveled Fleur De Lis Window while she was in class and even got it completed.  But I had to call it a night before it got washed, colored and then patina'ed.  But it IS complete.  Regrettably, this is the best picture I can show you.  All it really needs is a bath but you get the idea.

Susan's wheat is missing!  No, wait,  it's turned up-- and that's a good thing because there were a lot of pieces of wheat in this pattern.  She's cut them as complete ovals and will split them in half AFTER they've been ground to fit in place.  This way they're fit perfectly and she won't have to number twice as many pieces.  With her background almost completely cut and ground Susan will begin working on the letters and other remaining sections of her window when she comes back in after the holiday.

Bonnie's LSU Tiger Claw Window is also moving along nicely.  She has the LSU portion all ground and mostly wrapped (as you can see in the picture).  Bonnie took this home hoping to complete the wrapping and then to tack it together.  Well, she brought it back to the shop today and it's tacked so I guess her mission was accomplished!  That means she'll be working on the Claws and borders when she returns.

Brenda not only made that gorgeous Tulip window-- she also worked on this Car Window for her husband and, as always, she's made short work of it.  With all of it cut  and 90 percent of it  ground I'm sure we'll see this one completed in no time.

Although Costa looks a little mean here I know that will change once he has some eyes!  They aren't even positioned correctly in our picture and that's what accounts for his somewhat scarey, Hell Hound look.  Martha has been working hard on this project and the speed at which it's being completed is amazing.  She's really hit her stride on this and Martha will have those puppy eyes straightened out before you know it.  In fact, I think that she only has about 10 pieces left to grind before she can start wrapping her pieces and getting this puppy ready for a border.

Cindy decided that she needed to make the Stylized Fleur De Lis Window that's become so popular in class.  She's got the pattern ready and the accent pieces all cut out of glass.  It may not look like much now but just wait until you see it again next week.

I have a sneaking suspicion that our next update will be somewhat small.  Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday and that means no class that night.  And it appears that 95% of our Wednesday students need to get holiday things done and will be missing from class as well.  But Tuesday night will be full and that helps make up for the fact that they missed two weeks in a row while we were on vacation in the beginning of the month. 

So in closing I want to wish a very happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  Try not to eat too much!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

But Wait...THERE'S MORE!!!

Wait a minute, didn't we just have an update yesterday?  Yes, but as you know we're a few weeks behind so this post will bring us up to date and get our shoes on the right feet so to speak.  This will be a short one because we didn't get back from our vacation in time to have a full set of classes.  That means a number of our regular students will be 'mysteriously' absent from this update.

One of our students who is featured this week has been missing in action for a while now because she's recently become a grandmother.  But Linda L. is back in action here at the shop and she celebrated her return to class by finishing her first project (an LSU window) with us.  As you can see, she had no problem making this whatsoever.  She'll be moving on to a stained glass box next week but right now let's give a round of applause to her first stained glass window.

This is a sort of Mystery piece for me.  Betty brought it in and said that it was a group project that she had worked on with numerous other people (that I don't recall!)  Possibly Mary and Linda F had something to do with this, but then again, possibly not.  All I know is that this Angel is no fan of Atlanta-- she's an LSU fan through and through!

This window is no mystery though.  This is another Nativity scene that Betty completed this week.  I know she loves this design and I think she's at the point where she may very well be able to make it without a pattern!  Another job well done, wouldn't you say?

Ann came into class with her Stylized Fleur De Lis all wrapped in copper foil and tacked together.  She had originally picked a very heavily textured background glass but it wasn't a big enough piece so she couldn't use it, which was probably all for the best.  Why do I say that?  Because it was almost 1/4 of an inch thick and cutting complex curves in it was definitely going to be a trying experience since there would certainly be a lot of breakage.  But as you can see, Ann's replacement choice looks great and since it's all cut, ground and tacked together I'd say it ending up cutting beautifully.

Janet's cross window is a hit.  She was originally going to use a different color for the border but now that I look at it I think her first choice would have been somewhat nondescript.  From the picture below you'd think that everything went smoothly for Janet but she had a bit of a hitch when she left last week.  Apparently the board with all of her pieces slid in the car and everything got mixed up.  Alas, it only took a few minutes to figure out what went where due to the grain in the glass.  Repositioning the border was the hardest part and in the end we had to re-grind two border pieces to get the nice fit you see below.  But now it's perfect and Janet's got the front side completely soldered which means that this will be a finished project in our next update.

Bonnie's Tiger Claw LSU window is all cut save for the borders.  She's already begun grinding it and is making serious progress already.  Bonnie tends to do most of her work in class (spare time doesn't come easy for her) but she always manages to get a lot accomplished.  I think we're going to be seeing a string of completed LSU Tiger Claw windows in the next few weeks.

Becky is just about set with her Ribboned Border Fleur De Lis Window.  With her 6 large background pieces tacked into place she cut the small sections of background by placing the tacked window on top of small pieces of glue chip and tracing inside the ribbon curves.  Once cut, these pieces fit the openings perfectly.  When Becky finished that she moved along to the outer edge using a similar technique to give the window a straight edge for the last 2 borders to align to.

Next we take a look at Jeanne's Beveled Fleur De Lis Window.  With her bevels all tacked together and her inside glass picked out she'll make some HUGE headway into this window when she returns.  What you see below is basically what the finished window will look like (although the actual window will just have some texture to it).  And already the word 'elegant' is leaping into your mind, isn't it?

Wow, Shelley has come so far.  She traced out this FDL pattern onto poster board, cut that poster board pattern up, picked out her glass and traced everything onto it, got all of that cut out and then managed to get more than half of her window ground before the class was over!  I remember when that would have taken her four weeks!  Shelley has certainly got the glass cutting process under control now. and look how wonderfully she has this fitting together.

It's not Atlanta!  Don't even think it!  That A stands for Alabama!  Is that any better though?  :-)  I'd best put some more space between these two windows before they begin fighting and break each other into little tiny pieces.  But seriously, Betty's doing a wonderful job on these and her Tiger Claw LSU window will most certainly be completed when she returns.


And that brings our Blog back up to date.  The only problem (for me) is that in less than 1 hour my Tuesday night class begins which means that in 4 hours I'll have more pictures to start working on for the next installment of our ongoing classes.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Used To Love Top Gun

Ok, it's a fact-- We're way behind here with the Blog but with a vacation an an illness occurring during the past 3 weeks I'm going to ask for forgiveness and then do my best to work on catching up this week.  So without further ado I present what happened during the last week of  October.

Lynn's lamp is officially completed, well, almost...  The spider still hasn't been tacked in place but that's only because it STILL hasn't arrived yet!  Nonetheless, from the outside, this lamp looks exactly as it will when the spider that secures it to its base is attached.  And it looks GREAT, doesn't it?  This is what we call a panel lamp.  There's no mold needed to put it together and the more sides there are to it, the less 'sectioned' it looks.  This design has 12 repeats (a lot for a panel lamp) and the staggered scalloped bottom helps hide the repeats even more.  Beautiful!

And Shelley finished her Beach Scene Window and it really looks relaxing.  I just got back from a more than a few tropical beaches last week and I must say that Shelley has captured the atmosphere perfectly.  If this had a glass (or two) of Rum Punch and a chair in it I'd say that Shelley took a picture of me during my vacation.

Cindy finished her latest Saints inspired window which is a variation of a window that Terry had made a while back.  The size and colors have been changed and then the text was added at the bottom and this was the result.  Cindy soldered this in one pass and I must say that she's got it! 

Brenda completed her second Breast Cancer Ribbon window and it's even better than her first one (not that there was anything wrong with that one!)   It's like I always say: Whenever you remake a window it goes much quicker and you have the luxury to change the little things that nagged you about the first one.  And this window is 100 percent flawless.


Terry's version of the Stylized Fleur De Lis is complete as well.  It never takes Terry long to finish anything because once she sets her mind to it she remains focused until the patina turns the lead copper!  This is yet another stunning window done in record time!

Becky's Ribbon Bordered Fleur De Lis window has really taken shape here.  It's hard to see in the picture but almost all of the background is cut out with only the upper right section remaining.  Becky really strives for perfection in her work and it really shows in her finished projects.

Ann's Stylized Fleur De Lis is moving quickly as well.  With the center FDL all cut ground and ground Ann plans of wrapping this and then cutting the background using the actual glass FDL as a pattern.  She'll be finishing this off with 3 borders so it will look quite different from what we've seen so far.

Betty has her Nativity Window almost completed and she's got almost all of her Tiger Claw LSU window cut out as well.  She has a little grinding left to do but the hard part of this window is certainly behind her at this point. Knowing Betty I'll bet we see at least one of these completed next week.

Bonnie's Tiger Claw LSU Window is moving right along.  She has all of her Yellow glass cut and will move along to the purple, black and clear when she comes back in.  I'm so glad to see this design being used again.

Janet has perfected the straight cuts on her Cross window and has her background all cut out this week.  It's even 90 percent of the way ground at this point which means that there are only 16 pieces of glass left to cut and then she'll pretty much have her second project with us completed!  Her border will be the same glass that she used for the cross and it's really going to make this window look very striking.

Cindy started working on this round Fleur De Lis Window while she was in class and she has half of the FDL cut and ground already.  Cindy is one of those people who likes to grind as she's cutting and at this stage of the game I see it works wonderfully for her so far be it from me to try to change her mind about how she works.  The proof is in the pudding and Cindy's windows always turn out great!

Jeanne has decided to make this Beveled Fleur De Lis Window.  When push comes to shove there won't be a lot of cutting involved in this project because it's filled with bevels but that doesn't mean it won't look beautiful.  in fact, when you see this completed with some light behind it the first word that will come to your mind will be 'elegant'.   Mark my words.  There's just something about clear beveled windows...

Martha has moved from Crosses to Doggies!  With the glass cutting part of this project almost finished Martha will see a quick turn around for this window.  She even has the name section ground and fitted already.  Go ahead and tell me that she isn't making quick work of this! If you do I'll knock your block off!

Linda F has been working on her LSU Tiger Claw Window and even though people who have looked at this pattern in the past have told me that they just can't see the Tiger Claws, I beg to differ.  And now that it's cut out and you can see the pattern colored in I don't see how you can possibly mistake the claws for anything else.  Linda's doing a great job and I hope she can see how far along she's come in such a short time.

Mary used to love the movie Top Gun.  I liked it myself.  Now she can't watch it anymore and I have no desire to see it again either.  Is that because of Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis, or Tom Cruise?   You'll need to ask Mary for the answer top that one.  Meanwhile, she's started this wonderful Angel that I'm never going to see completed because Mary is taking some time off from classes.   She hopes to return at some point but she's broken my heart into a million tiny pieces (like so much broken glass on a hard concrete floor) and I don't know if I'll ever recover.  But she's gone out with a bang because her Angel certainly looks lovely.  We'll miss you Mary!

Myrt's Hot Air Balloons are so close to being completed that it isn't even funny!  With the front side all soldered as well as most of the back side I can safely say that this will be finished when Myrt returns.  She's taken her time with her soldering and although that sounds as though she's slowing down that's far from the truth.  Since this window doesn't need to be re-soldered she's actually saving time.  Expect to see this completed when she returns.

Terry not only finished a window but also worked on this Fleur De Lis while she was in class.  She has the hard part all cut out and has even begun grinding it so I'm going to go out on a limb and say that she'll most likely have it ready for tacking when she comes back in.

Brenda and Terry both worked on the pattern for Brenda's next window and it's a winner.  In fact, now that I think of it, Cindy had a hand in the design of this car as well.  I can't wait to see the glass work begin when Brenda returns.  I think her husband is going to love it!


That about wraps up the month of October.  I'll have another post shortly which covers a short week of classes and after that we'll be back to the normal schedule.  I'll see you all shortly.  Thanks for reading!