Saturday, January 18, 2014

Like A Bull In A Field

This week we had a serious 'tip of the week' posted on the dry erase board in the shop.  Since we tend to write jokes there more than tips I thought I'd repeat our legitimate post here so everyone could see it.  When you're grinding a piece of glass that is supposed to follow a straight line, don't be afraid to draw a guide line with your marker onto the glass to help you with your grinding.  And better yet, use a straight edge to draw the line.  Even the most untrained eye can spot a wobbly line from a mile away.  The hard part is un-wobbling it.  And that's where a straight edge, be it a ruler, a plastic angle, or even the edge of a piece of paper, can come in handy to give your project a professional look.  And while we're at it,  don't forget that curves should flow gracefully without any flat spots or sudden points or peaks.  And lastly, please make sure your circles are round rather than oval.  Here's an example of all of these problems.  Which window looks better to you?  The window on the left or the one on the right? Be sure to click on it to get a better look.
(The correct answer will appear in the last paragraph of this post.)

Okay, now let's look at what our students have been doing in the shop.  Brenda and Terry both worked on this window and even though Terry started drawing the pattern on December 31st, this three foot by two foot monster of a window was completed on the 14th of January.   It's hard to get the size of a window to register here on our Blog but look at all those pieces in those roses.  That's only possibly because the window, when standing on the floor, comes up to my waist.  What a lovely, spectacular window this is.  Terry and Brenda have really outdone themselves here!

Janet's Saint's Fleur De Lis really turned out to be something special as well.  Note how perfect her curves are and how she's managed to avoid straight sections or points in any of the many curves that make up this window-- especially along the outer edge.  Her finished product is perfectly circular and there's no arguing that fact.  And best of all, Janet seems to have 'come to grips' with her soldering now that she's holding her iron differently.  All I know is that she should be very proud of this project.

Bonnie's Cowboys Star is, as I expected it to be, a completed window this week.   The background is actually a wispy white glass but no matter how hard I try I just can't get the gray tint out of it in the picture.  I wish I could have taken a photo of this in the sunlight so the colors would look more natural.  No matter, the quality of Bonnie's work certainly shines through, just look at those perfect points!


Cindy's Texas Star/Flag is complete as well.  It certainly didn't take her long to make this but you can't tell how quickly it went from the quality of Cindy's work.  Cindy seems to have hit her stride because she's fully confident with each step of the creation process.  And confidence (with a gentle hand) is what making Stained Glass is all about.

Ann's Fleur De Lis 'L' Window is taking shape quickly.  There are just a few fill in pieces left to cut as well as the four simple background pieces.  This really is a nice looking window and Ann has been grinding it to perfection.

Becky has the first of her Three Ladies Windows all tacked together.  The only thing left to do is put a border on it before she can start soldering.  But before she does that she's going to grind the other two windows and then tack them together as well.  She plans to use a different color for each of the borders and I'm thinking that the border color could possibly match the dress of the center woman in each window.  It might make everything balance nicely, but we'll only know that for sure when we have them all tacked together in front of us.

Betty will be soldering her Hot Air Balloon at home and I also suspect that she'll have the lions share of the work on her two Stylized Fleur De Lis windows finished as well.  I believe everything is already traced out onto the glass so she'll be cutting that all out during the next week or two.  Her balloon really looks good doesn't it?  I love the checkerboard top of the balloon-- whoever came up with that idea is a genius!

Jeanne has the background cut out for her latest Beveled Fleur De Lis Window which means that this project is very near completed.  I'm not sure of she's going to go with another border around this or not but no matter what she decides I'm sure she'll be soldering this before the end of her next class. beveled windows are always a classy affair and this is certainly no exception.

Linda F now has everything cut on her LSU Tiger Claw Window and she's even begun soldering the front side already.  There's no doubt in my mind that this window will be completed when she comes back in and that she'll then begin working on her Mardi Gras Crown window.

Now let's see what Linda L has been up to.  As you can see she has her Rectangular Beveled Fleur De Lis Window very nearly finished.  It's all tacked together and ready for some solder at this point.  We didn't get a channel on it before she left but we'll have that cut for her before she comes back in.  This window needs a larger channel for support so she'll be using a zinc channel on it which will work perfectly since she'll be coloring the lead black when it's completed.

Costa is officially ready for soldering.  Martha has all the glass cut and ground, and his eyes are firmly attached in his head.  We agonized over a color for the border on this and in the end I think Martha's choice was the best one by far.  I'm always partial to darker borders and the lighter ones we looked at for this certainly reinforced my previous belief.  :-)

Mary Grace's Baroque Rosette Fleur De Lis has really taken shape.  Her beveled inner border is tacked together as is her FDL.  There are only 8 small inlay pieces left for Mary Grace to grind and then she'll move onto the final border.  I've forgotten just how nice this pattern is.

Shelley's Nude Woman Window is all wrapped and tacked together now.  She's got her border picked out (blue baroque glass) and since there are only 20 pieces in the entire border I can't see why Shelley wouldn't be soldering this when she comes back in.

Susan is in the midst of grinding the Hops section of her Abita Window.  So many little pieces and such a large window!  It's a BIG project but she's making steady progress and her work is flawless.  And the amount of detail that these tiny pieces add will make sure that this is one amazing window when it's completed.  That said, Susan's already talking about making a large window with large pieces next.  :-)

Susie's LSU Tiger Claw Window is moving right along.  With the LSU section all ground and fitting together perfectly she then moved on to cutting out the pair of claws that 'quote' the LSU.  I only have one set in the picture but trust me when I tell you that the left paw has been cut out also.  Once those are ground there are only the 3 sets of borders left to go on this window.

And Terry has begun work on another Fleur De Lis Tiger Head Window,  Even though it isn't even halfway cut out you can easily see what it's going to be even if I hadn't already told you.  This will be the second time Terry makes this window so it should go much faster for her this time around.

Wrapping things up we'll take a look at the first of two dog windows that Cindy is beginning.  She doesn't have any glass cut yet but she certainly will when we take a look at it again.  Consider this to be a picture to whet your appetite until our next post.

And in ending this I hope that everyone who looked at the first two windows in this update chose the first (left) one over the window on the right.  If you honestly don't see a difference between the two of them and you are a student of ours I can show you some examples in person to show what you are striving for.   

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Palmer Girls: Addicted To Love

Although our classes resumed for the first time in 2014 last week, this week marks the first of the year when every class was able to have students attend.  That means that unlike the last two Blogs Updates, this one is fairly large.  When the last class ended I realized that it was one of those rare weeks where no one completed a window which meant that I had no picture to feature in the email notification or on Facebook.   But then I remembered that I skipped something about 2 weeks earlier so we'll start with that.

But first, let's see what our class looked like on Wednesday morning:

And I'm just going to let you wonder what that is all about.

Okay, so Cindy had put together this 3D Beveled Star a while back and I just flat out forgot to post the picture.  So I guess in the end it worked out perfectly since it gives us a completed project to look at.  Cindy had wrapped all of her bevels at home and even soldered a nice rounded bead around all of the edges so when she came in she only needed to see how the 13 pieces were assembled.  It was easily completed within a half hour and, as always, it's stunning!

Ann began working on her Fleur De Lis/ L Window.  She's really moving quickly on this since she only began cutting it out this week.  However, she's going to change the straight lines coming off of the points of the four Fleur De Lis when she cuts out the background glass.  The straight lines bothered me so I penciled in a curve and we both agreed that it made the window look even better.  Those lines will be the last pieces of glass cut because we're going to grind the center circle and have it tacked together before Ann cuts out her background glass.

Becky's first Three Ladies Window is also coming along nicely.  With almost all of the glass cut for three of these windows Becky began grinding the first window.  There's really only the hats and the flesh to go before she can wrap this one and move on to the second version of the window.  Once she has the first one ground the other two will go much quicker.  I don't know why that is, but it happenes to anyone making duplicate windows.

I think that the time off we've had over the past two weeks was really hard on our students because the amount of work that's been accomplished in just one class is amazing.  Here's a look at the Hot Air Balloon that Betty began this week.  There are only five pieces left to go(!) and then she can begin grinding this window.  And it fits together beautifully already!

Wow, Terry's latest pattern really blew me away.  It's so nice to see a student's abilities grow week by week and Terry always manages to surprise me.  Her pattern is spectacular and the work is the same.  Yes, this is moving along very quickly (it's only a week old!) and that's because Terry is working on this window with her sister, Brenda.  When they came into class they began wrapping it and by the end of the night they managed to finish their wrapping duties.   With just some fancy border work left to be done, I know we'll be seeing this completed soon.

And Cindy resumed work on her Texas Star Window and by the end of class 100% of the glass was cut and ground now.  There isn't a lot to solder on this so I'm expecting to see this one finished quickly because that's how Cindy is.  I think she'll be working on a pair of dog windows after this is completed.

Janet has her twelve inch Saints Fleur De Lis window all ground and wrapped.  She's a bit concerned about soldering it but that's just the old 'I can't solder' jitters that everyone feels.  Even though Janet is somewhat new she solders wonderfully.  When she finishes this next week and has yet another project under her belt I know she's feel more secure in her abilities.  Mark my words.

Jeanne's  planning on making a horse head window but we didn't have a pattern that she liked this week so she started on this small beveled Fleur De Lis Window.  There are only 6 pieces left to go before she can start soldering it and I'm expecting that to happen when she comes back in next week because this window is almost finished.

Susan's Abita Beer Window is really filling in now.  All of her wheat, letters, and barrel pieces are ground and fitted into place.  The background is just almost all cut and ground save for the small fill in pieces that she'll add after this gets tacked together.  Just wait until the actual bottles get added into this window-- it's going to be something else!


Linda F managed to get all of her borders cut for her Tiger Claw LSU Window and most of them are even tacked into place.  There are only two or three fill-ins that she'll do after everything is tacked together.  She hopes to be able to work on this at home during week and I hope that she can, but if she can't we'll still see this get pretty far.  And if she can work on it at home there's a good chance this will be finished when you see it again.

I didn't get a picture of Bonnie's Star this week but she had it all wrapped and tacked together when she left for home with the window under her arm.  She plans on soldering it during the week (time permitting) so I'm pretty sure that this will be another completed window next week!

Linda L's Beveled Fleur De Lis Window is another one that has made amazingly fast progress.  The thing that helps with these beveled windows is that there are actually very few pieces of glass to cut.  What you see below is only ten pieces of glass (and a whole lot of bevels) which explains why these get finished so quickly.  Linda will be adding a final border to this when she returns and then she'll begin soldering it.

Lynn began working on her second Panel Lamp which will exactly match the first one that she made way back last year (just a month or so ago).  She's got all of the scalloped end pieces cut and only needs to work on the twelve long panels before she can really get this lamp in gear and out the door.  

Martha's Costa the Dog Window is ready to be tacked together.  The missing green pieces in his name were being wrapped when I took the picture but rest assured, this is going to be ready for a border when Martha returns next week.  Then it just needs solder.

Look at this!  Even with a shoulder that isn't completely healed yet, Mary Grace managed to knock out this fancy and complicated Fleur De Lis without hardly breaking a sweat.  Mary Grace was having a problem that's very common among our students while she was grinding this though.  She was looking at the big picture rather than the piece she was grinding.  While you're grinding a window you have to concentrate on just one piece at a time and move on to the next piece only when the current piece fits perfectly.  Myself, I go as far as working on one side of each piece at a time.  It means multiple trips to the grinder but it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to getting a perfect fit.  And as you can see, with just a bit of fine tuning to round out the curves, Mary Grace's FDL is looking great.

Myrt's Stylized Fleur De Lis is ready for it's background.  She finished all of the grinding on it and somehow I lost track of what she was doing because I can see from the picture that she already has this wrapped.  She must have done that under the table because I just don't remember that happening -- but obviously it did.  Can you say "Background and Border pieces next week!"  Because that's what Myrt will be doing.

And Shelley's Nude Lady Window is almost ready for a border.  The only thing left that Shelley has to do is wrap the pieces that make up the woman's hair.  Since she took them home with her to wrap I'd say that she'll have this tacked together and then she'll be picking out some border glass. (And I think I know just what glass to use.)

Susie's out newest student and when she came in she wanted to know if this Tiger Claw LSU window would be too much of a project for her.  I told her she would easily be able to do it but I think she still had some doubts.  But by the end of the night she was already grinding her letters!  She's moving quickly on this and learning how to use the pistol grip really helped her get all of those straight lines cut perfectly.

So, although we had no actual completed projects this week I can guarantee that we'll see some in our next post.  We have a lot of windows just about ready to hang and I'll be sure to get a picture of each of them to post next week.  See you then!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, January 6, 2014

Screw Up

The big question this week was one that is easily answered.  When you have a nice cutter with a removable head, what is the correct way to position it?  On newer cutters I've seen a growing trend where it doesn't really matter because the cutting wheel is mounted in the exact center of the head, but on older cutters the wheel is usually offset enough so that there IS a right and wrong way to hold the cutter.  You need to actually see the cutting wheel so you can follow the line you've drawn on the glass accurately.   This means that the screw on the cutter goes up.  I've found that after 30+ years of cutting glass I still follow the 'Screw Up' rule even when it doesn't matter.  Old habits, unlike glass, are hard to break.

We only had  two sets classes this week but numerous students were unable to attended them due to the New Year Arrival.  But less people makes the Blog easier to write.  At first I was concerned that we wouldn't have a completed window to feature but low and behold Susie came through and finished her Stylized Fleur De Lis Window.  She went with a slightly darker color scheme from the one we have in the shop but even Russ agreed that it turned out very nice indeed.  Susie has made stained glass on her own before she started taking classes with us and I have to admit that what she managed to teach herself has come through in spades while making this window.  She says she's learning a lot though, and hopefully that will continue when she begins her LSU Tiger Claw Window next week.

Becky's Three Ladies Window is almost completely cut out now.  And it's not just one window that she's cutting out.  Nope, Becky is making three (3) of them!  The dresses are going to be done in red, blue and purple but she didn't want all of the window to be identical so she cut each dress in three different colors.  Once all of her cutting is completed she'll be able to mix and match them any way she wants without there being any chance of color duplication throughout the windows.  And if you don't understand any of that don't be concerned--it's just my poor explanation for what Becky is doing here.  She's stacking all three windows on top of each other and I've removed two pieces so you can see all of the colors she's using.  Next week you'll most likely see the first trio in their proper 'attire'.

Bonnie's Cowboy's Star is really looking good!  I initially thought it was just a quick and simple Star window but her use of color and her precision cutting has made this more than just a star.  I'll admit that I'm not much of a sports person but I had no doubt as to what this window represented when we held it up. Her colors are impeccable.  Next week Bonnie will attach the border and then begin soldering it.

Here's another sports themed window-- this one being made by Janet.  She wanted a Saints style Fleur De Lis about the same size of the Fairy's that she had just completed.  After scaling the most popular Saints Fleur De Lis to twelve inches tall and wide I just enclosed it in a 12 inch circle to make it match the roundness of her Fairy Windows.  With her colors looking great and her cutting being far above average, Janet's managed to already begin grinding.  It looks like this will be finished any night now!

And rounding things out we take a look at Shelley's Nude Woman Window.  It's sorta Modern, kinda Nouveau, and somewhat Abstract, while being completely Astrological at it's core.   I guess it's extensional for lack of a better term. Nonetheless, Shelley has this window completely ground and fitting together wonderfully which means that it's just waiting for a good copper foiling before she can add a border to it.  This is another window that will be completed before you know it.

And that's about it this time around.  Next week we'll have all our students back in the shop which means four classes all hustling and bustling.  We'll have plenty to look at because one thing we're not short on is talented students! 

Bayou Salé GlassWorks