Wednesday, September 17, 2014

She's Got Wiggle Room

Let's not rock.  When grinding your glass it's imperative that you use pins to keep your glass secured to the pattern, but so many times I see people using just one pin to hold a piece in place and this mistake can easily lead to disaster.  Using a single pin allows your piece to rock or shift which will throw all your other pieces off.  I always use 3 or more pins to secure a curved pieces and two pins on straight lines.  Remember this simple rule: A single pin is NEVER enough.  The picture below shows exactly why you need two pins to secure straight edges.

Okay, it's time to get to our students work this week!  We're going to start off with Bonnie's Round Magnolia Window which is nothing short of stunning.  It's been a design that's created a lot of talk throughout the classes and Martha has already decided that she wants to make one.  The black patina against the white petals works perfectly as does the third shade of green for the border,  And I haven't even mentioned the fact that the window is round rather than square which also sets it apart from other windows.  Bonnie's soldering is top notch and her work has inspired others to make this design  which I know we'll be seeing more of in the future.

Wow, didn't Linda F's Birdhouse window turn out great?  I will admit that I wasn't initially thrilled with the border color when she picked it  but it turns out that I was 100% wrong because it fits this window like a glove.  I love when a students color choice opens my eyes!  I remember when something of this complexity would have taken Linda two or more months to complete and now she's able to finish it in less than half that time.  From her cutting to her soldering she's been turning out amazing work.

Always one of my favorite pieces, Lynn's Terrarium refuses to disappoint.  There's just something about all of that clear glass.  Of course, it IS a pain in the glass to clean (and Lynn even admitted this herself), but how can you complain when the end result looks like this?  Quite a few students have mentioned terrariums after seeing this being worked on but they've all talked about something with a little less complexity so we may be seeing a few more terrariums of a different variety being made later on down the road.

Jane completed her second Cylindrical Lampshade and here we get to see both of them side by side.  The one on the left is the new one and if you look closely you can see that the solder hasn't been colored yet-- that's something that she plans to do when she gets it home.  Now that she has these out of the way Jane plans on making 2 windows featuring two different logos (which we'll see when she returns).

And then we have Ann's latest Fleur De Lis Initial Window.  This one is brought to you by the letter B.  Her border glass has darker pieces on the top and bottom while lighter sections flank the sides.  The (large) piece of glass she selected for the border had a very irregular color pattern to it so she carefully pieced together the effect that you see below rather than haphazardly letting the differences in shading randomly destroy the flow of the border.  Careful planning always pays off, and Ann proves it in this window.

Remember what I said about the use of pins in the beginning of this update?  Well, Myrt's Sunflower Window is a perfect example of how you should use pins to secure your pieces.  Nothing is going to shift out of place on this window!  Myrt is wrapping all of her pieces now and when she returns she'll easily get her eight pieces of border attached.  Once that's done she'll be soldering.  This is what I call perfect workmanship.

And Mary Grace has her Bird Of Paradise just about ready for solder.  She has the center section all wrapped and tacked together and has the first thin amber border cut and ground.  That means there's just one border left to go and then she can begin the final soldering process.

I have to say that the black and white pattern of this window didn't move me one way or the other, but once Becky S got the legs and the red shoes cut out I fell in love with it!   The only problem is that there is no way to secure hooks to this window as it was presented on the pattern.  Sure, hooks could be added in the corners but they would certainly come loose soon after the window was made.  But we've come up with a great way to add a border without detracting from the pattern at all.  And you'll see how Becky accomplishes that when you see this again.

Carol cut out three variations of our standard Fleur De Lis suncatcher and decided to make them into one window.  She cut a length of clear glue chip glass to the size she wants the window to be (sans border) and then traced her FDL's onto the glass.  After making three vertical cuts through the centers where the FDL's will be added into the glass Carol was able to cut the glue chip into 12 pieces that all fit together perfectly.  And she also got a quick lesson in making symmetrical designs as well!  Next up for Carol, border(s).

Brenda's CC Window is all ready for its back side to be done.  When I left she only had 4 lines left to solder on the front of this window.  That means that this will certainly be a completed project when Brenda comes back in.

And Shelley's Mermaid Window really only needs a few pieces of glass ground and then some bubbles added before she starts wrapping it.  She's decided to go with the glass that I liked best for her bubbles-- a nice iridescent waterglass.  It shouldn't take long to get them completed so she may be wrapping this when she comes back in.

Meanwhile, Linda L made some great progress on her two Ribbon Boxes.  Once the the lids were completed she cut the glass for the box sides and once they were tacked together she cut out the mirrored bottoms.  With just the smallest amount of soldering left to go on these we'll surely see these completed when she returns.   Then she'll be moving onto mirrored hearts.


Terry's latest window is a decidedly Art Deco 'D' design.  She came in with it all cut out and once she completed grinding it she began wrapping her pieces.  Then she tacked it together and got her border added.  Now that's what you call a productive night.


Cindy's Panel Lamp is all cut out and I'm wondering of she may want to add a small crown to it.  Whether she does or not I know that the lamp will be beautiful.  But a crown will only add eight more pieces to the total and help hide the spider that secures the shade to the base.  I think I'll cut some out of cardboard and attach them to the test lamp that we made to see what she thinks.  At any rate, Cindy has her 'jig' all set up and has begun grinding her first panel.  What a difference this shade is going to make once it's on her base.


Just look at all of those colorful pieces of glass.  What do they form?  Well, it's hard to see right now but in a very short time you'll see that this is an elephant.   Paula has about a third of this ground but she bumped the board causing the pieces to shift just as I was about to take the picture.  Trust me when I say that this will be one of the most colorful elephants that I've ever seen (not that I've personally seen that many!)

And Janet's Window, which she now refers to as the Tree Of Life, is coming along wonderfully.  She has her outer border tacked together and firmly anchored onto her board so that the window will be perfectly square when it is completed.  When I say square I mean that the window will have four corners with perfect 90 degree (right) angles.  When she returns we'll cut the strips for the thin inner border and work from there.


Jane not only finished her Cylindrical Lampshade but she also began putting this Birdhouse together as well.  She has two different birdhouse designs cut out but accidentally brought the wrong roof sections for this particular pattern so the two pieces you see to the left of the birdhouse don't quite fit!  If they had she would have easily gotten this project together before she packed up and headed for home.

Then we have Betty's Magnolia Window which is looking great.  I just love the double border that she's chosen.  This is actually a large window -- probably bigger than you are imagining when looking at the picture.  I'll get an exact size for you when I see it again during Betty's next class.

Martha's repair is coming along but the cleanup on the glass is proving to be more difficult that she initially thought.  That cement can really stick to glass let me tell you!   The background glass has all been ground now and all the border pieces are close to being clean.   Foiling is just around the corner.

These are the next three Initial Fleur De Lis Windows that Ann will be working on.  What does W, B, C stand for?  How about White Boys Can't, or Wonder Bread Country, or Won't Be Careful, or Why Bother Counting?  Maybe it stands for Whistling Bothers Canaries, or Wrinkly Breakfast Cereal.   My personal favorite is Women Being Cruel but let's face it, the list can go on and on...

And wrapping things up this week we'll take a look at the Boat Window that Jeannette began working on. Most of the details of the boat will be comprised of lead lines.  cutting into the glass that she'll use for the sky which means that the sky may be a bit tricky to cut.  We want the grain (or flow) of the sky to be unbroken so the lead lines will appear to be ropes in front of the sky.  It won't be hard to do but Jeannette will need to take her time and work one small section at a time.

So to reiterate, let's never forget to use many, many, many pins to steady our projects while we are grinding them.  That is one of the best tips I can give which will make your pieces fit back together perfectly after they've been ground and wrapped.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, September 8, 2014

Exceeding Expectations

I think we can officially call this update one for the record books.  We have 13(!) completed projects this week which meant that I couldn't even fit all of the pictures in the email that tells about this update to our Blog.  Trust me when I say that I wasn't trying to short anyone-- everything is covered completely in the text and pictures below.  So without further ado let's take a look at these 13 finished works as well as the 16 other projects that are under construction.

We'll start things off with Susan who's Abita Beer Window has officially seen the light of day.  Two actual Abita Bottles have been soldered into the window which means that the front halves of the bottles extrude beyond the front of the window while the back halves do the same in reverse.  In other words, this window won't lay flat on a table.  This design decision brought along more than a few constructions problems that needed to be worked around.  However, Susan persevered and surmounted the odds.  Her window which is slightly wider than 3 feet is a testament to Susan's resolve.  :-)  It shows off her beautiful craftsmanship and I think it will be Susan's high water mark for quite some time.

Paula may be our newest student but she's already making windows that look like they've been made by a professional.  Her Three Wise Men presented her with a problem or two along the way but Paula easily (and cleverly) overcame the obstacles in front of her.  It's a night scene but her colors are bright and vivid which stops the window from disappearing.  I say that Paula has got it down!

Becky S's impromptu Double Sunflower is yet another window that has turned out to be stunningly beautiful.  Putting the two sunflowers into one window may have been a last minute decision but the end effect looks as though it was planned from the start. Note how each flower has 15 points (which theoretically needs a line coming from each point) but how there are only six lead lines cutting into the background.  Careful positioning, expanding outward into border, and placing points on points have turned what could have been a lead line fiasco into an elegant and tastefully done window.

And speaking of Sunflowers, here's a look at Betty's version which also has sunflowers reaching out from the background glass and into the border.  Betty's window only has 2 lead lines in the background glass, and they've been disguised as the Sunflower's stems.  A lot can be learned when we study the positioning of the subject matter in windows.  Too many superfluous lead lines steal the focus from the actual subject and should always be avoided

Now I do believe that Terry is just showing off here.  :-)  This is her completed Heron Window and, as always,  it's a winner.  I love the green border which helps add color to the window without overdoing it. 

Did someone say green?  Cindy's Calla Lily Window is finished and she's gone with a green color scheme.  She smartly decided to use a very pale yellow for her two  flower stamen since they are completely surrounded by stark white flower petals.  Had she used a darker or brighter yellow they would have stood out far too much in a window that features a pastel green so prominently.  In other words, her choices are all perfect.

And Carol has added this LSU Window to her portfolio of stained glass pieces.  Everything from her straight cuts (done with a pistol grip cutter and a straight edge), to her foiling and soldering is perfect.  We've seen this window before but it always turns out nicely.  Carol is proving to be an excellent student and her work on this window proves it.

Jeannette completed her Cabinet Door Insert in just two short weeks.  Clear glass is always hard to photograph and I opted to use a shot that had a reflection  of the florescent light bulb in it so you could see how the texture of the Baroque glass contrasts with the bevels that she used in her design.  And I love how quickly everyone in the new Thursday class has caught on to things!

Ann's latest Fleur De Lis window features and alternating border with corners that match the brown accent piece in the center of the FDL.  Ann knocks these completed windows out faster than some people can draw the pattern!  I think it's safe to say that she can practically make one of these in her sleep now.

Next we take a look at the stained glass shade that Jane made to replace the old Mika Drum Shade on her antique floor lamp base.  There wasn't a mold used to make this lamp-- instead we went with old fashioned geometry:  
A = π * r²  
Once we knew what the circumference should be we just laid out strips evenly, tacked the inside and then rolled it into a circle and joined the ends.  And when it was soldered and it fit into the lamp it was a very rewarding moment indeed.  Math rules!

Brenda completed her latest Cross Window using a blue and gold color scheme.  A lot of people feel that stained glass requires you to go hog wild with colors but this window shows that elegance can be achieved with a very limited color pallet.  Three simple colors, one gorgeous window.

And then we have Terry showing off yet again!  She used a blue/green glass for the background and then rounded out the window by using a separate matching blue and a separate matching green.  It would appear that neither Terry nor Brenda have any problems with the pointed cuts that the bevels in the cross force you to cut around in this design.

Crosses, crosses, crosses!  Carol completed her LSU window while she was at home and then she managed to find the time to make these four Cross suncatchers as well.   I have to admit that I'm partial to the 'knotted' Crosses with the empty center.  And Carol certainly did a great job on those. 

Bonnie was away during the weekend so she didn't get a chance to finish soldering the second side of her Magnolia Window but she accomplished a lot of that during class this week.  I'm sure that she'll leave with it completed when she returns.  Now, if you recall, Bonnie wanted to square this window off but I said that it would be a mistake since some of the leaves were cut to form a circle around the window.  I insisted that she would love the window if she simply added a rounded bordered and left it circular.  Although doubtful at first, I think she sees that this was the correct decision.

Next up is Betty's version of Bonnie's Magnolia.  Betty heard me tell Bonnie that the leaves had been cut short to make the window a round finished piece and asked me if I could finish out the leaves so she could make the window as a square.  In fact, if you look closely in the photo below you can see the ring of whiteout that we used to get rid of the circle and how we extended some of the leaves.  Betty loved the design change but upon seeing Bonnie's round version she's pretty sure that she's going to make a second on but in the circular design!    Circle windows are somewhat rare to see but they have a certain charm about them that everyone seems to like once they see one completed.

Rowena, never one to be left behind, is also moving quickly by finished all of the grinding on her Deer (Horse?) Window.   With all the grinding completed she's taken it home with her to wrap throughout the week.  That means that depending on how much is wrapped when she comes in, she may end up having this tacked together and possibly even get a border cut for it.

Janet jumped right on into this classic stained glass design and has almost all of the hardest parts of it cut and ground already!   My hat really goes off to her for doing such a great job and for being such a good sport when I tease her in class.  And kudos to her for teasing me back!  She doesn't let the fun stuff slow her down though, as evident with the work she accomplished this week.

And Jeanne now has her background glass cut to size and positioned with the pattern drawn onto it.  The first thing she did was cut and grind her 10 diamond accent pieces that run across the top and bottom of her window.  They're all ground and wrapped so she'll be set to cut and grind her background when she comes back in.  After that there will be just 12 pieces of glass left to go and then the border(s).

Mary Grace is making this Bird Of Paradise Window look simple.  Last week she cut it all out and this week she has it all ground.  She'll wrap this, add a border and then she'll be ready to solder!  I'm thrilled with her progress on this as well as her confidence level.  I think this will go a long way to proving to Mary Grace that she has nothing to worry about while she's in class.

Nope, you shouldn't get your eyes checked out.  The reason this B looks backwards is because it IS backwards.  That means that the front side of this is already completed and Ann is already soldering the back side.  She'll take this one home next week and then pick up work on the three other initial windows that she's already started at home!


Cindy has a mission and that is to make a stained glass panel lamp for the lamp base that she brought it.  She's come up with the design and has begun cutting the pieces for the 6 repeating panels that will surround her base.  Here you see the stack of glass that she's got cut out already.  Talk about working quickly!

And Brenda has begun work on another CC window and although all you can see is the red background glass you'll have to trust me when I tell you that the two white C's have also been cut and ground.  That just leaves 4 pieces of background left to go.

We tried many colors and textures of glass and in the end Linda F decided to go with good ol' spectrum Rainforest Green for her border.  It really does look great with the birds, flowers and the bird house.  Linda is about to embark on a cruise shortly and I'm hoping that she gets this completed before she leaves, but with the added rush of getting everything prepared for her trip I just don't know if that will happen or not.  I guess we'll find out on Wednesday.

Shelley now has a GREAT majority of her Mermaids ground.   Things got very hectic in class and I never got to ask her about her bubbles but we will most CERTAINLY cover that in her next class.  Something tells me that she's going to be needing those bubbles very, very soon.

Linda L has two boxtops all ready to go save for the hinge sections that run across the top length of lids.  It's a safe bet to assume that she'll be cutting her box sides when she comes back in.  Linda did all the work on these lids herself and her work is astoundingly wonderful.

Where are the finals?  That was the question.  Look as we might we were unable to turn them up,  However, they did turn up in the third drawer under the grinder.  Yes, the same drawer that just about everyone in class looked through without discovering them.  I still say that we have Leprechauns in the shop who hide things until we stop looking for them.  So, with a new found finial attached, this is Lynn's Terrarium top which we'll see completed next week.  The only thing left to do is color it, clean it up and then place it on top of the bottom section.

We have one more Sunflower to look at this week and it belongs to Myrt.  With everything cut out and ground to fit perfectly in place  I'd say that Myrt is well on her way to resume working on those Transom Beveled Inserts that she stopped working on to do this.  Do you see all of those pins holding all of her pieces in place? That's called GREAT grinding!  Nothing is going to shift out of place on THIS window as she's working with it!

Martha's repair is just about ready to be foiled and soldered.  Having almost all of her glass pre-cut has made things a lot easier on this window than it has been for any of her other windows! The placement of the new glass works just fine with the design and when this is soldered you may just never know that anything was wrong with this window because it all looks perfectly planned out.

And in the end we take a look at the Fleur De Lis Suncatcher that Jeannette cut out and ground after she completed her Cabinet Door Insert.  It wasn't that long ago that it took Jeannette a full class to make a butterfly and here she is getting this all ready for wrapping in under an hour.  Impressive! 

Wow, that was a lot of finished windows!  I can't wait to see what next week brings us!