Monday, March 31, 2014

Mickey The Pooh

We've noticed a few students in the past few weeks have had more trouble than usual when it comes to cutting their glass.  In each case it turned out that the cutter was problem, and by cutter I mean the tool and not the human!  Oil fed cutters will last a good while before they need to be replaced ( I usually get a good six to eight months out of mine) but it all depends on the amount of wear and tear you put on your cutter.  If you consistently run your cutter off the edge of the glass you are cutting you'll find that the head won't last as long.  An easy way to determine if your cutter is bad is to place a drop of oil on the wheel and then run your cutter over a long piece of scrap glass (about 18 inches long or more) at a fast but steady pace.  Listen to the sound the cutter makes.  If you hear or feel the wheel skipping then it's time for a replacement.  Remember, changing your cutter head will easily save you money by making tough cuts less susceptible to breakage. 

So let's start off this week off with Becky who has completed the first of her two rose windows which is every bit as beautiful as I suspected it would be. A simple bud done to perfection with a strong choice of colors. I see a lot of stained glass that's 'overdressed' with too much color and extra frills that steal the focal point of the window, but that's not the case with this window. A simple red and two greens are all it takes to make this window stand out.

Next we have a much larger window similar to the one that Terry made last week but with a few subtle differences. Brenda's work is top notch and yet she still finds faults in her projects, this one being no exception. I like that she's always trying to do better but I can see no wrong in her latest window. It's perfect.

And Linda F wrapped up the work on her Ladybug Suncatcher and brought it in for it's closeup. She found the pattern online, fell in love with it and knocked it out quickly and efficiently. Her soldering has improved immensely and Ive found that quick projects like this really help with a student's confidence levels. Truth be told, confidence makes cutting glass go so much easier. I can't tell you how many students I've had tell me that they'll never be able to cut something and then fail at it. Without confidence you set yourself up to fail without a doubt. But then there's Linda who didn't stumble at all on this project.

This week Bonnie got the first of her two candle holders put together and although she had a few problems with the soldering she was able to fix it all herself. A 3D object is never easy to solder but Bonnie managed to complete the job and that's what I like about her-- she never gives up. She'll be working on her second Candle Holder this coming week the only difference being the color. Her glass is in so she'll be all set to get to work.

This is Terry's latest Cut Glass Vase Window. This one is done is blues rather than clears and it was originally done with 3 different textures of the same blue glass, but in the end Terry recognized that the differences weren't showing near enough. Without hesitation Terry re-cut a number of the pieces in a lighter shade of blue and now her vase has depth. I love the texture on the lower large section of the vase. And Terry gets kudos for changing glass when she realized that the effect she was striving for was beyond an arm's length away. It hurts to have to change things, but its better than living with a bummer of a window.

Becky B has all of the glass cut for her Fleur De Lillie window and she has it all ground as well. That means she's begun wrapping her pieces which in turn means that she'll be cutting the background for her window when she returns. Becky has made one of the Stylized Fleur De Lis Windows before but not quite in the same way that she's going to be finishing this one. She's about to learn the ease of cutting your background glass using the focal point (in this case her Fleur De Lis) as a pattern itself!

Ok, I feel like such a heal about this next window. After starting off the last blog entry explaining how I sometimes misattribute windows to the wrong students I ended up doing far worse last week. I completely skipped our newest student, Paula's Iris Window! The picture on the left is what you should have seen last week. Paula had all of the Iris portion of her window cut out and did a wonderful job with it. When she returned this week she began cutting all of her clear background pieces. I had steered her wrong the week before by recommending a light green for the leave flips but the contrast was far too great (as you can see in the first picture) so I recommend that we change it. And that we did. Paula now has two similar greens for her leaves but when they light up you'll see a color difference to denote the back side of the leaf. Paula has already begun grinding her window and will certainly begin wrapping it during her next class.

This week Betty added a final green border to her Lillie Window and is ready to get that tacked together and soldered. She also cut out the leaves for a new Iris Window that she began working on as well. She's using the same green throughout the leaves but is utilizing the natural color differences throughout the sheet of glass to achieve the shading for the flips of her leaves. You can already see how nice this effect looks in the picture..

Brenda worked on the pattern to this Oval Framed Fleur De Lis Window while she was at home and did exactly what I do when I draw up patterns--she mixed and matched! She saw a window that a previous student (Sheila) had made with a bordered oval and then redrew the oval to her size. Next she added a Fleur De Lis that she liked. And then she cut it all out, ground it all, wrapped it, tacked it, and started soldering it! This window will easily be completed by the time we post our next update. I'm becoming a little worried about Brenda, I think she might be addicted to stained glass!

Carol is one of our newer students but you certainly can't tell that from this Winnie The Pooh Window that she's begun making. Two weeks into it and she's already got it all cut out! We're leaving the backgound sky section around Winnie's face for last because we want that face to line up PERFECTLY. Once the face is ground and tacked Carol will cut the sky section to fit around the head which will ensure that there are no gaps or heavy lead lines . This will make a perfect bear window. My only problem with Carol's project is that I can't stopping calling him Mickey!

Cindy is certainly making progress on her life-like Bentley the dog window. I'm still amazed at how wonderful he looks--his eyes really appear to have soul. Cindy is working on the lettering for his name and is almost finished because she's been grinding as she cuts her pieces. I'm predicting that borders will be cut for both of her dog windows before you know it.


Susan is wrapping all of the tiny pieces to her Abita window. She just about to the point where she has more fill-in's than regular pieces left to cut. We've discussed the border situation and have decided that a double border is going to look best. I feel that a window of this size needs more than a single border. It's a preference thing but I'm the teacher so she has no choice. :-) And since Susan was unsure what color she was going to use for her border we've decided to use a thin accent color and then use the background glass as a thicker outer border to finish it off. I know this is going to look great.

Janet is another newer student that is moving along quickly. She added the border to her third Fleur De Lis window using the same jig method that she used on the last two to make sure that the size is perfect. There's barely any lip at all on the antique wooden frame it's being made for so sizing is extremely important. If she's off just an eighth of an inch the window won't fit properly. Once she got her border attached she worked on cutting the background glass on her fourth and final FDL. I'm guessing she'll be needing some border strips when she comes back in next week.

Jeanne returned this week and has found the perfect glass for the background of her Horse Head Silhouette Window. The graying blue certainly personifies a night sky and puts no doubt in the viewers mind as to whether the horse in in front of a moon or a sun. Jeanne will be adding a border to this when she returns.

Jeannette came in with the cross that she had cut and ground last week all wrapped and ready to be tacked together. She decided to go with a beveled border so once she tacked her cross together she wrapped all of her bevels and assembled them to form a rectangle that she then cut a piece of RainWater glass to fit in to. Finally, she traced the cross on top of the glass, got it cut and began grinding. Look for this windows final border to be applied when she comes back in.

Linda F got considerably further along on her Christmas Wreath Window (which doesn't look like a Christmas wreath). Last week I mentioned to Linda that the yellow 'triangles' in the center of the 'wreath' reminded me of a biohazard symbol. We laughed a bit and that was that. This week I noticed that the yellow glass had been replaced. She said her husband saw it and the first thing he said was that it looked like a biohazard logo. I agree with Linda on this-- it's fine to make a Christmas Wreath window that doesn't look like a Christmas wreath, but it's not cool to make a window that inadvertently reminds people of biohazards. And with her background glass pretty much all cut out I'd say that Linda's bio-wreath will be gaining a border upon its return.

Our newest student, Rowena, had taken a weekend workshop with us back in February so when she started regular classes this week we decided to just have a quick glass cutting refresher lesson and forgo the butterfly that most new students make. After doing spectacularly well on her cutting lesson Rowena began working on this large cross window. Her cross is cut and ground so she took it home with her to wrap which means that she'll be cutting out background and wrapping bevels before you know it.

And Linda L began working on a window that she's been looking forward to starting for some time now. It's a poodle in a dress and she's got all of the black fur sections cut out already. The eyes and mouth are going to be a bit tricky on this but Linda is going to manage just fine. And the overall effect will be wonderful. Just wait until you see this start to come together.

So this week marks the end of cutting for Mary Grace. Everything is ground, wrapped, and attached which leaves just the final zinc channel to attach to the four sides. And once that's done she'll begin soldering her super-sized Fleur De Lis. One of the lessons we learned this week is to never mix up your border pieces-- they are custom fitted to each side!

Myrt finished her Fleur De Lis window last week is almost ready to begin a long, beveled transom window, but before she starts that she's going to work on this Cross Window. Is it square? No. Is it round? No. Is it oval? Nope. I don't know what shape this is but it's been a VERY popular pattern here in class and Myrt's rendition of it is shaping up to be every bit as nice as the cross windows that came before it.

The glass for Shelly's Flower and Bird Window still wasn't in by the time class rolled around but she was able to make her time in class more than worthwhile by grinding the pieces that she already had cut out. With most of it ground (and her replacement glass now waiting for her in the shop) I think she'll be wrapping this completely cut window when she returns.

Ann made great progress on her Fleur De J Window this week. With her background glass and the border all tacked into place the only thing she has left to do before she starts soldering is to cut out the 8 fill-in sections between the FDLs and the border. And you don't find cuts any easier to make than those. So it looks to me as though Ann will get a channel added to this and then start soldering when she returns. 

Lynn's begun cutting glass for her Black Swan Ballerina Window. The clothing of the ballerina is cut and ground as well as her legs. We both thought it best to tack together the ballerina so nothing will shift as she continues cutting. Lynn managed to add a swan in the lower corner of her window and I have to say that she handled the addition perfectly. I'd originally omitted the swan because it would have been too small to work where she initially wanted it, but moving it to the corner of the window also moved it into the foreground which means that it can be made larger and easier to manage in glass. Great designing, Lynn!

And we're going to wrap this up by bookending our update with a look at the second Rosebud Window that Becky S is working on. With just the final border to attach and a little soldering to go I have no doubt that this will be completed when she comes back into class.


That about sums things up for this installment of BSGW's On The Cutting Table. Russ pointed out to me that we now have 22 active students which certainly keeps us busy. I have to say that all of the classes are fun and we look forward to seeing our students each week. Between all the glass cutting and all the cutting up I don't know a more fun way to spend a night (or day).

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

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