Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Blood Pool

We're going to start things off with a quick and simple little tip this week.  As we all know, the solder (or lead) that gets applied to our windows during the soldering process doesn't adhere to the glass at all.  It melts onto the copper foil that we wrap around each piece of glass.  The quality of your foiling (a process also called wrapping) determines how nicely your solder looks since the solder will cover the lead.  Flaws in your foiling result in flaws in your soldering.  Students tend to fixate on the front side of the window while paying little to no attention to the back side of it which can easily cause problems when they get to the second side.  I always keep my project on a piece of paper slightly larger than my window so I can slide my project by moving the paper which in turn stops the foil on the back side from getting caught and torn or even peeled back from the glass.  Torn foil causes gaps in the solder and gaps are a sure sign of a novice at work.  If you take your time and are careful when making your windows you'll certainly have something you be be proud of. 

Well, Janet's Rooster Window is officially completed.  The irregular borders really tie in perfectly to the rest of the curved lines in the window and the colors choices are nothing short of vibrant.  Janet's soldering has come a long, long way since she first started and I believe that doesn't have to worry about her soldering abilities any more. BTW, this is a large window measuring in at just under 3 foot high.

Becky S put the finishing touches on her Monogram 'C' Window and now that it has some light behind it you can see the beautiful green/blue glass that she used for her thin borders.  I'm a sucker for interlocking borders and this window prominently highlights that design.  Becky made smooth curves and perfect circles look easy in this project as there is not a single piece of glass or angle out of place in it.  This is a quality piece of work.

And then Becky S also made these stunning Sunflower and Cross suncatchers during the week as well.  She's certainly keeping busy! and again her attention to graceful curves and straight lines shin through.

Next up is Paula who has managed to complete three projects this week.  While she was at home she cut, ground, wrapped, tacked and soldered two Christmas Candle Suncatchers that look incredible.  It's hard to believe she's our newest student!  And I love her stained glass Scissors.  I've never seen scissors done in glass before but they are definitely unmistakable,  remarkable, and (dare I say it?) cutting edge!

Linda F now has the border to her Coke Window cut out and attached.  That means that all she needs to do is solder this and she'll be finished.  I love all of her choices in this window including her clear border color.  I can't wait to see this lit up from behind so we can really see that red glass sparkle.  Sadly, we wont see that happen for two weeks since she'll be out next week.  But it gives us something to look forward to.

Ann has been as busy as can be in class this week since she's managed to get two Fleur De Lis Windows almost completely tacked together.  All she needs to do is wrap her border pieces and then add some channel-- she's got most of these windows soldered already!

And let's return for the last time this week to Becky S who not only got her Monogrammed C Window, Sunflower and Cross completed-- but also got her Autumn Leaves Window completely cut out and ground as well.  I'm thinking that there's a chance that we'll see this completed next week.

Betty had a busy week at home but she was able to complete the cutting and grinding of her Iris Window during class.  The clear sky is now all cut out and once this is tacked together she'll be adding a border to it.  I love showing people how angled borders are attached.  It's very easy but the first thing people do when I show them how it's done is to say, "huh"?  Then by the third piece they understand what's happening and the rest comes out easily.

Brenda's Baby the Dog Window is ready for solder.  This week she got Baby's eyes completed and then the front got soldered.  What you see below is the back side waiting for its share of solder.  This is another window that we may very well see completed when Brenda comes back to class.  And Baby's eyes look wonderful.  There's nothing worse than a cross eyed, stained glass dog.

Carol continued working on her Stained Glass Butterflies and she now has a pair of them all cut out.  I snapped a picture when she got the first one ground and fitted together and what you see under it are the pieces for her second Butterfly.  And then under that 'heap' of pieces we see that second butterfly (again) as Carol begins grinding it (it's all one picture thanks to Photoshop).   These are looking nice and colorful and Carol is quickly becoming more and more proficient with her work as evident in the picture below.

Bonnie's Magnolia Window is really taking shape quickly.  I think one of Bonnie's greatest strengths is her ability to use the grinder.  She makes it seem effortless and she always gets a beautiful fit with smooth, flowing, graceful curves.  She only has her secondary green leaves left to cut and grind and then she'll be ready to wrap it all up!


Look out because here comes some great news.  The Abita Bottles fit into Susan's window perfectly with no need for regrinding any background pieces at all!  Susan only needs to wrap them and then she'll cut her the first (I think she's doing two) of her borders.  Don't forget that these are actual bottles that protrude from the front of the window as well as behind it.  We've placed the window on top of sheets of cardboard the she's cut holes in so that the window is perfectly centered on the bottles which are resting on the table.  The cardboard stops her window from sagging while keeping the bottles perfectly positioned and steady so she can add the final borders and then solder this beast!

Next we have Jeannette's Grape Window which is just about behind her now.  With more than half of her background glass cut and tacked into place I expect to see her adding borders when she comes back in next week.  All of Jeannette's extra work is beginning to shine through as this window gets closer and closer to completion.


Cindy is just about ready to have her Cat Tails Window soldered.  She's made cutting those long thin stems look downright easy.  She's added her final border which is a little more difficult than most borders because the cat tails actually cut into the border and break it up naturally.  Next week she'll add some brass channel around the edge and then some hooks and call this finished. 

Janet, like Becky, didn't think about slowing down when she completed her project this week.  Instead, she marched right into making 2 beveled crosses.  She's started some of these at home once before but had problems dealing with the symmetry of the design.   I showed her the easier (but still time consuming) way to handle it and she now has one ready to wrap with a second halfway ground.  and They're looking perfectly symmetrical!

And Jeanne's Stylized Cross is REALLY coming together now.  This is an exquisite pattern and I can't wait to see it finished.  She's making sure everything fits perfectly and as you can see she's doing a wonderful job.  I have no clue what colors she'll use next but her choices so far have been exceptional.

Shelley's Mermaid Window is really looking like Mermaids under the water now that she has some of the blue glass cut.  She's going with 2 different shades of blue to give it some depth (no pun intended).  Don't you just love her pair of 3 dimensional starfish that the mermaids are holding?  They're going to solder in nicely.  The bubbles are going to be the toughest part of this window and to make them easier we're going to skip them until the window is all ground.  We'll show you why in weeks to come.

And this week we get to see Lynn's Terrarium really take shape as it enters the assembly phase of its building process.  All of her glass is cut and wrapped so the only left that Lynn needs to do is attach one more row of glass rectangles to the bottom of the terrarium and then add the glass bottom that will make this nice and sturdy.  Oh, and just to make things a little confusing I have to mention that the terrarium is upside down in the picture.  We'll see it standing correctly next week when its sturdy enough to flip around.

You may think that Rowena's Grape window is just  a smaller version of Jeannette's design but those smaller grapes give this window a decidedly higher difficulty factor.  When it comes to stained glass you want to work with larger pieces of glass, not small ones.   It's amazing how quickly Rowena ground her background pieces and then wrapped them as well.  Just wait until we add the curls in the grape lines (which we'll add in the end).  As it stands now Rowena is all ready for borders!

And then we have Mary Grace's Iris Window.  Mary Grace has a date with a soldering iron when she returns because all of her glass is cut!  That means that she's just about through with this project and is already thinking about working on her next master piece!  I love her final border glass and can't wait until this is completed.  I think it's easily her nicest window so far.

So that's going to wrap things up here.  We have another Weekend Work Shop coming up so we'll be having a double posting shortly.  I just hope I can remember to take pictures as we move along through the weekend so we have a lot to show you.  Have a great week!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014


We're going to start this update off with a quick lesson on lifting your stained glass windows.  I see so many students taking unnecessary risks while moving their projects so we're going to cover the correct way to lift your windows.  In the examples shown below the starting position of the window is lying flat on a table (as it would be if we had just finished soldering it).

Okay, so first and foremost, we NEVER pick up a window by positioning our hands at opposite ends of the panel.  The two examples below show the hands positioned in ways that are sure to place extra pressure on the glass and allow your window to crack.

Now that you've seen the wrong way to lift a window let's show you how easy it is to do it correctly and save you from having to deal with broken pieces of glass in your finished project.  Any time you  lift a window both hands should be on the same edge of the panel.  There is no exception to this rule-- we NEVER lift with our hands at opposite ends of the glass.  If your window is square it doesn't matter what side you lift from but if the window is rectangular (as shown below) you must position the panel so that the longest edge is closest to you.  Slip both hands uniformly under the closest long side (if you've positioned it correctly it's the side closest to you) and lift upwards while keeping the far end on the table.  The movement is the same as opening a hinged box.

Once the window is standing as it would if it were hanging (with the opposite long edge still on the table) you can then lift the window from the top edge, holding the window vertically (as if it were hanging).  To set the window back onto a table simply reverse the process by placing one of the long sides of the window onto the table and then pivoting in downwards while keeping both hands on the opposite side of the window (as you would close a hinged box).  Whether you pivot it towards you or away from you is your decision.

The most important thing to remember is to keep both of your hands on one side of your window.   Never carry your window as though it were a serving tray-- it should be transported in its  vertical hanging position.  Knowing these simple steps will prevent you from having to make repairs on your finished work.  Trust me!

So the first completed window that we look at this week was made by Carol and it's a show stopper.  Tabasco is the theme it's unmistakable.  The thin green border that matches the small hint of green in the label of the bottle is a perfect accent color.  Carol wasn't sure this window was looking good until she got it all washed up and then she, like everyone else, fell in love with it.  It's amazing how much a window changes when it's off the table, cleaned up, and hanging in the sun light.

Bonnie's Horse Window is now officially completed this week and I really think that the final brown border ties it all together perfectly.  The thin orange border was also a nice choice because it adds another color while staying within the color range of the rest of the window.  I have to say that I really like this design and that Bonnie did a great job with it.

Our last finished project of the week was made by Myrt and the workmanship on her Stylized Cross and Dove Window is impeccable.  When she told me that the circular window would have to be split in four sections to fit into the frame I wasn't sure how well the cross would show but I obviously ended up worrying over nothing.   A fun little story about making this was that after all four sections were completed Myrt discovered two pieces that were out of place in the alternating green and blue rays.  Within 15 minutes we had the problem fixed and what you see below is her final product.  And I must say that her soldering is really top notch!

Becky S had hoped to get her C window completed but ran into a slight snag when she took it home to work on it there.  A small crack appeared while she soldered her first lead line on the second side!  She decided not to panic and simply bring the window back for repair before moving along any further and then she started working on this Autumn Leaf Window.  I love the colors and even though it hasn't been ground you can see how well Becky has this fitting together already.  Taking your time while cutting your glass really pays off in the end because it greatly reduces your time at the grinder. And this Leaf Window is proof of that.

Brenda has everything finished on her Baby the Dog Window save for his eyes.  I know for a fact that the positioning of eyes can make or break a window (figuratively speaking) so my recommendation is to leave the 'sockets' empty and get everything tacked together before grinding the glass that forms the eyes.  Handling it this way ensures that you have a rock solid window that won't allow the eyes to shift slightly out of place giving your subject crossed eyes.  Also, it allows us to put red glass underneath the window and then laugh about how Baby looks like a possessed devil dog!

And Paula's Scissors are just about completed.  There was a lot of grinding involving the smaller quarter inch grinding head which can be a pain to work with but Paula got everything fitting together nicely and as you can see in the picture she has most of it wrapped as well.  I'm sure we'll see these hanging up and featured next week!

Jeanne's Stylized cross is starting to take shape.  She's decided to grind as she cuts so each of the pieces you see pinned to her pattern is already fitted into place.  I know she was cutting out some more amber glass and has another green picked out as well.  We'll see those pieces next week.

With most of her Terrarium cut out and ground, Lynn wrapped all of her completed glass and then moved on to the last 36 pieces of textured glass.  By the time she left they were all cut out and skimmed on the grinder so I think we may very well begin assembling this when she comes back in.  And now that the pieces are wrapped in copper foil you can actually see what she's accomplished in our picture this week!  And there's more there than you might suspect because all those pieces are actually stacked up three pieces high.

I hardly saw Shelley at all during class because I was so busy with other people, but that didn't stop her from making great progress on her Mermaid Window.  She has a lot of the glass picked out and most of the mermaids cut out (save for their hair).  That leaves water, bubbles, and background landscape left to go.  I think she's having fun making this window even though she's just getting her feet wet on it!  On another note, let's hope we can remind Shelley to take her LSU Window home next week.  This is the second week in a row that she's forgotten it at the shop!

Carol didn't waste any time in class this week.  With her Tabasco Window under her belt she began cutting glass on this butterfly suncatcher.  I believe that she'll be making two of these and with her first butterfly just about cut out she'll need to decide if she wants to start grinding her pieces of if she wants to keep cutting and knock the second one out before heading to the grinder

Cindy's latest project is really looking great.  A circle within a rectangle, this Cat Tail Window looks stunning already and it isn't even wrapped yet.  Cindy hopes to be ready for a border when she returns and knowing her I don't doubt for a minute that it can happen.

Well, Linda F certainly knocked my socks off when she came in this week with her Coke Window completely ground!  With all she has going on at home I never expected that to happen but it did.  She had one casualty with a pieces of red glass that we'll replace when she tacks this together next week.  After that it will be ready for a border and some solder.  Linda is really flying through this (difficult) window and I'm impressed!

Then we Linda L's Mickey Mouse Window and it's ready for two borders, one of which is already cut and ground!  She's taken the pieces home to wrap during the next two weeks and when she returns she'll add the final border and begin soldering this beast.  ;-)

Betty began this Iris Window last week and as you can see she's made some serious headway into it.  The colors are perfect and she paid an incredible amount of attention to getting the water to line up so it looks as though it was cut from a continuous piece of glass (which it wasn't, but you'd never know that if I hadn't pointed it out)  I won't be surprised if she needs to add borders on this when Betty returns to class and since it's a stretched out octagon that it means that Betty will learn how to do angled borders.  Yippee!

Janet's Rooster Window is all tacked together and has its channel on as well.  This week she added her two final borders and did something a little fancy with them.  Since the pattern for this window is based on irregular lines (nothing perfectly straight save for the final edge) she decided to make the last two borders match that style and cut curves into them.  It took a little longer but in the end the extra effort was well worth it.  It may be hard to see in the small picture below but I know you'll see it very well when you see this completed next week.  I love this window!

I was all set to get Susan's 2 bottles tacked into place on her Abita Window but when Susan came in she asked if it would be a bad idea to add a few more pecan's trailing upward on the right side. Since it isn't completely tacked together it was fairly easy to do and that's what Susan did. And now the moment of truth is upon her because we're ready to add the two bottles into this window and see what happens. I love a challenge so I can't wait to get to it!

Then there's Terry's Cross Design which is just about completed.  She used some old glass for the border which involved scraping off  paint from the edges of the glass but once that was removed it looked great, as does her window.  She just needs to solder the second side and then Terry will be on to a new project.

Mary Grace has all of her background glass cut out and most of it is even tacked into place.  What's missing are the pieces that she took home so she could come back with them wrapped and ready to be tacked onto the window.  With just border(s) to go I think it's safe to say that this window is just about completed.  And judging by the responce it's gotten in the other classes I'd say that Mary Grace has a hit on her hands.

It's official-- the hardest part of Rowena's Grape Window is officially behind her now.  With only the background and border pieces left to go she's going to be having it pretty easy in class now!  And that also means that this window is near completion.  Just wait until you see those grapes light up...

With only her final border left to be wrapped, Martha has all of her glass cut and almost ready to solder.  These two Stylized Fleur De Lis Windows are a perfect example of how different a window can look by simply altering the colors and textures of glass.  When you get right down to it the only thing different between this pair is the color of the background glass-- the rest match perfectly.  Martha is going to be missing classes for a few weeks and we're going to miss her but we also hope she has fun!  I hope she gets well rested because when she returns she'll be soldering her heart out!

And that wraps things up here.  But I have to wonder if the rain here ever end here in the Bayou.  If not we'll need a machete to get to the shop because I've yet to be able to cut the grass out there.  And today the sun was shinning while we were in town but the minute we arrived home we were hit with another downpour which has the yard flooded again.    Wait a minute, I'm supposed to talk about cutting GLASS not GRASS!  Nevermind.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It Looks Like A Mildewed Ding-Dong

It's been one busy week here in the shop and we certainly have plenty to look at so let's jump right on into the thick of things by looking at Cindy's completed Magnolia Lamp.  You have to admit that it turned out wonderfully.  She was unsure about the soldering but in the end she did an incredible job working on this 3D project.  Soldering a lamp is never easy-- you have to adjust the lamp before you solder each line and then getting there's the part where you want the bead to look good as well.  The straight grid work sections weren't a challenge at all for Cindy and although the curved lines around the flowers proved to be considerably tougher I have to say that she tackled the job with a healthy amount of determination this week when it all paid off.  She has no clue how well she did only because it was covered in flux when she quit.  With a quick bath her lamp turned out perfect!

Betty completed her Three Wise Men Window and it's a perfect match to her Nativity Window in both size and glass.  She's really done a great job on this and her soldering ability has improved immensely.   I think I might have touched up three or four joints and that was it.  I can't find anything to fault in this window.  Will she make a second one?  She usually works in pairs so time alone will tell.

And Terry's latest window is another showcase of her excellent workmanship.  I always say that a symmetrical window is the toughest thing to do because any variation from the pattern is readily apparent to even the most untrained eye.  But Terry made this look easy.  And her choice of glass for the folds in the ribbons is nothing short of perfect! 

Linda F managed to get all of the white lettering cut out for her Coke Window and has begun grinding her pieces.  Since the while glass matches the pattern paper underneath it you can't see much of a difference between this photo and the last picture I took but there has been a lot of work done here.  Next you'll see it all start fitting together and I can guarantee that this is going to look great when it's finished. I won't be surprised to see someone else make this later on down the line.

Ann got not one but two Fleur De Lis' cut, ground and tacked together while she was in class this week.  I have to commend her on her speed on these.  She's going to be cutting out background glass next week and I have no doubt that she'll get those backgrounds ground as well. Ann has really been on a roll lately.

Myrt has three of her four sections not only tacked together but completely soldered as well.  That just leaves this last quarter section to go which means that we'll be seeing these completed when she returns.  These are really going to make the plain little circle window they're going into come to life!

Becky has the front of her Monogrammed C Window completed and has taken it home with her so she can solder the back side.   Meanwhile, she's begun working on a Cross Suncatcher and a Sunflower design-- both of which she started cutting out while in class.  And by the time she left she had everything cut and ground.  It will be interesting to see what she walks in the door with next week.  I can't wait to get a picture of her C window and anything else she might have finished when we next see her.

While this pattern was hanging on the wall waiting for Paula to come in and start working on it everyone was asking me, 'Who's making the Scissors?'   And now they know.  At any rate, Paula is starting her Christmas gifts early this year and that means that she'll be avoiding the stress that occurs during classes in December.  A head start on gifts is ALWAYS a good thing.  And I think these scissors already look great!

Martha's two Stylized Fleur De Lis Windows are moving right along.  She has one of them completely cut and ground and the other just needs a border and a replacement piece of background.  Let me state for the record that Martha didn't break the background piece-- I did!  I was sure I could get one of the inside curves a little closer to the line and the next thing I knew it was dead on the floor.  I should have known better.  :-(   But we'll easily replace that when she comes back in to get a second border attached.

Mary Grace has all but the outside edges of her background cut out and ground which means that she's just 16 pieces away from adding her borders!  She's a little leery about those remaining background pieces but they won't be hard at all since none of them are small.  The only thing that she needs to be sure about is keeping a straight edge and, as always, there's a simple trick to that which we'll reveal when she starts cutting them.

Janet's Rooster Window is ready for tacking!  She wrapped most of her glass this week and has decided to add two more borders to make it fit the window it's going to hang in better.  I have some idea's for the double border that I'm going to run past her when she comes back in so brace yourself and possibly expect something slightly different when you see this again.

Rowena has one small cluster of grapes left to go on her window and then she'll be ready to work on her background glass.  Although her window looks similar to Jeannette's Grape Window I need to point out that Row's grapes are about half the size which makes grinding them a pain in the butt to say the least.  But she's handling it like a trooper and her determination is really paying off.  And I always say that once the grapes are done the rest is a piece of cake,.


Brenda had a slight issue with her Baby The Dog Window during the week when it slid off of the board she was working on.  She had to redo a lot of the glass that makes up the name but luck was with her since only one piece of glass broke on the actual dog itself.  She's got just about everything repaired and even has the majority of it wrapped now.  I suspect we'll be seeing a border go on this project when she returns.

This week Terry came in with a completed window and  another symmetrical  pattern all drawn out.  She's begun cutting out the glass for this stylized Cross design and it looks like she's got things moving along nicely already.  I'm not sure if this will hang as is or if it will be framed out with background glass and a border.  I guess we'll all find out when she returns on Tuesday.


Jeannette's grapes are officially cut, ground and tacked together.   She's already got her background picked out and the pattern lines have been marked.  We'll definitely see some background glass fitted to this when Jeannette returns in two weeks.  Meanwhile, we all wish her daughter the best wedding that she can possibly have this week!

With her two borders now attached to her Tabasco window, Carol began the job of soldering.  The front was completed by the time she left class and her plans are to finish the back side of this window while she's at home.  I can't wait to see this hanging with the sun shining through it because it looks GREAT already!  All she's going to need to do next week is add the Tabasco label (which is done correctly now) and give this window a bath.

Linda L has all but the top 5 pieces of her Mickey Mouse Window all tacked together.  We changed the color of the bottom of her ship to a very light grey to give it some contrast against the top section of the ship.  And now that it's been replaced everyone agrees that the change was for the better.  Linda will be working on blue skies and mountains when she comes back in and she'll surely complete them during class.  Then comes the fun part-- picking border(s).

Bonnie ended up having to add a border to her window when we discovered that without one we didn't have anywhere to add the hooks.  But truth be told I think it looks much better now anyway.  So Bonnie got her border attached along with her brass channel and then completed soldering the front side of her Horse Window.  What you see below is the back side all ready to get soldered which she plans to do at home.

Again, there's not much to see when we look at the work Lynn accomplished in her last class.  Don't misunderstand me, it's not that she isn't doing anything-- it's just hard to see what she's done since it's all clear glass.  It's sort of like trying to take a picture of Wonder Woman's Invisible Plane!  But she's making great progress and on that you'll just have to trust me.. .

And now that we're at the end of our update we'll take a look at the latest Mermaid Window that Shelley will begin working on.  It's sort of a family portrait representing Shelley and her two sisters but we aren't going to say who's who.  At any rate, Shelley traced out her pattern and will most likely begin cutting glass when we see her again next week.

And that about wraps things up.  Be sure to check us out again next Tuesday because it looks like there's going to be plenty of completed projects!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks