Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Where's The B?

Normally when we have a tip or a topic of conversation to cover we do it at the beginning of our update but we're going to discuss a technique that Jeannette used in her Shrimp Boat Window at the end of the this post so we can see Jeannette's Window and examine it before we get into how it was accomplished.  So let's get started.

It's been a while since we've seen a lamp made and Cindy's Panel Lamp fits her base perfectly.  We took a pattern that she liked and then adjusted the angle of the sides so it would perfectly mimic the shade that originally came with the lamp.  Then she added a small crown to tidy things up and hide the metal assembly (which is called a spider) that secures the lamp to the harp.  Her colors are a wonderful match to the base and when we joined the final two pieces to make the lamp circular they lined up perfectly.  And that's what this lamp is: Perfect.

Jeannette's Boat Window is now complete and in this window it's the things that you DON'T notice that makes it look so good.  Jeanette's sky was cut out of one piece of glass cut to fit the entire sky portion of the pattern without any cuts inside of it.  Then she traced the lines of the rigging, the clouds the light and the roof of the boat onto it and carefully began cutting the glass so the pattern of the sky would line up again behind the boat when it was done.  Take a look at the end of this update to see what a difference this cutting procedure can make.  That said, Jeannette's window looks marvelous!  (And she has another one on the way!) 

Terry's Horse Window is a slightly altered version of a window that was done before but the color scheme makes it look completely different.  The horse looks extremely realistic and the double teal border is a perfect fit. Terry said that the three clear corner pieces that turn the window into a square gave her problems since they come to such delicate points, but it looks to me as though she handled it wonderfully.

Here's the first completed Transom Window Insert that Myrt is currently working on.  There will be a total of three windows altogether.  This is one of the two smaller end pieces and she's making another of these as you read this.  The beauty of this pattern is that you don't have to reverse it to make a mirror image, you just make it again and turn it upside down!

Jane's Sunflower Lawn Ornament is hard to miss when its sitting in the midst of green grass.  the vibrant yellow glass really stands out nicely and the fact that this is a 3D sunflower really makes it all the more noteworthy.  This is another job well done by Jane.

Cindy saw this Birdhouse design and decided to start working on it in between the assembly of her lamp.  She's done a great job and as you can see, her colors light up wonderfully.

Brenda's B window has been completed this week and it's a variation of the B that Ann is working on, just set in a simple square.  I think she has these initial windows down to a science now!


Becky S resumed work on her Curvy Fleur De Lis Window and managed to get all of it ground.  This piece is made to test the maker's mettle, that's for sure.  Look at those long thin pieces where the background separate the arms of the FDL.  And even look at the arms themselves.  There is no margin for error on this window and Becky is doing wonderfully.

Then we have Betty's Round Magnolia Design.  Yep, Betty is back and her window is very close to getting a border put on it.  There's just some wrapping left to do on the leaves and then she'll cut the few background pieces and 'borderize' it.

Martha doesn't want her window to be pictured but I explained that when she began class she signed a paper which, among other things, stated that her work would always be displayed each and every week.  (Okay, so I lied there a little bit but she didn't know that.)  But, as you can see, the ever resourceful Martha came up with a loophole in the contract-- I got to take my picture but you can't see all the fine work she did this week.

And were we ever right about the double border on this Detroit Lions Window that Carol is making.  There's nothing else to say other than stating the fact that it is a stunning window.  And her work on it is exceptional.  This design would really take off in class if we weren't in Louisiana!  Look to see this finished next week.

Janet feels much better about her Santa Claus face this week now that it's ground and ready to be wrapped.  He's making quite a holiday statement and he's making me realize just how quickly Christmas is to being here.  Janet plans on putting this face on a background and then adding a border to make this a window.

Jeanne has begun the soldering process of her Stylized Cross Window and has most of the front side completed.  As she moved from one side to the other you could watch her soldering abilities improving.  She told me that what she wants to do is finish the front and then make another pass over it to straighten out any soldering inconsistencies.  I think that she's got the hang of this soldering business.

This Angel Window is being made by Linda F and she managed to get all of her glass cut and ground while she was in class this week.  With just the border left to wrap I'd say that she'll be looking for some brass channel to surround it next week. And then, of course, we'll add two hooks.  An Angel should be in the air, not on a table!

Well, we found the B, although it wasn't in the state that we thought it would be which is why we had such a hard time locating it in the shop.  It's funny how you can't find something if you're looking for the wrong thing.  But Ann got her borders all cut and fitted into place and just has 8 small fill ins to go before she starts soldering these three windows.

Bonnie somehow got skipped over last week so I've took a picture of her newest project, a Triple Sunflower Design (similar to Betty's but 'enhanced') before she began working on it this week.  The second picture shows that she got her leaves and flower centers cut out this week.  Now it may look like she has it ground as well, but she doesn't.  What you're seeing is the end result of cutting off the lines when you cut your glass.  Bonnie will basically just have to skim this to get everything to fit-- but not before she cuts her background.

Lynn's Initial Window is looking more and more like a Crest every week that she adds more glass to it.  I love the sweeping, flowing design.  I'd love to take credit for it but it was actually drawn by Lynn herself-- all I did was enlarge it to the size she wanted.

Terry worked on this Picture Frame during class and has it all ready to be washed and colored now.  The beauty of this project is that it was made entirely out of scrap glass that Terry had just lying around waiting to be tossed in the garbage.  You've got to love a good cheap project like this.

And Susan's moving away from her Tiger Window until she completes this 'M' Window for her son.  She's got the important parts all cut out, ground and waiting to be wrapped.  Since she took this home with her I suspect that we'll be seeing it tacked together when she comes back in.  Then she'll just cut 7 pieces of background glass and then be ready for border pieces.

Okay, if I have to tell you what this next window is then you must be blind.  Wow, is Rowena's Tiger Eyes / LSU Window looking GRRRRRRRREAT!  (I wonder if this tiger's name is Tony?)  There's only just the eyes to go and then some grinding.  Rowena is really moving quickly through what is difficult pattern.

And Myrt's got her second end piece almost ready for her Transom Window Panels.  It looks like she'll be starting the big center piece before you know it!  Myrt says she's never worked with bevels before but I think she's a fan of them now.  Pre-cut pieces are wonderful!

Oh boy, there's a story behind this window by Mary Grace this week.  She was all ready to put a brass channel on it so I said I do that for her.  I cut the channel, picked up the window, set it on it's side and pushed the top channel on.  But the glass on her border (which I have to say I LOVE!) was a little thicker than normal  and the channel didn't quite fit.  Instead of stretching open the channel I used the brute force method and just pushed harder.  BIG mistake.  The window folded along the outer border pulling off some of the inside border pieces and some of the bottom as well.  NEVER FORCE THINGS!  But it's fixed now and will be ready to go home next week.

And last of all we take a look at the pattern that Brenda will be starting.  It's the same Iris Window that Mary Grace made a few weeks back but Brenda added a few more leaves into the mix (they've been penciled in using a red pencil.  I love the look and can't wait to see what Brenda walks into class with next week!


Okay Dokey then.  We're at the end of the blog so I'm going to show you why Jeannette took the extra time to get her sky cut from one piece of glass.  Here's a bigger picture of Jeannette's sky.  Note how the grain and flow of the white and blue have been preserved.  It looks as though the boat and its lines are in front of a continuous, flowing sky.

Here's the same scene with one exception:  this one was put together by cutting pattern pieces for each piece of sky, laying them out onto a sheet of glass and cutting each piece independent from each other.  Since there are no common edges the flow of the sky is non-existant and the boat no longer looks to be in front of a continuous sky.  This is an important part of making professional looking stained glass.  Sometimes backgrounds (in this case the sky) should flow together and positioning your pattern pieces on your glass randomly will certainly leave you with a less than desirable window.

And that's about it.  Next week we may cover the order in which the breaks in the sky were cut to show you how this was achieved.  There were two scary cuts, but after that it was a piece of cake.


Monday, October 20, 2014

The Completion Backwards Principal

Wrapping glass is something everyone complains about but there's just no way around it (unless you can find someone else to do it for you and good luck with that).   Surrounding the piece evenly with foil can be hard enough and once that's done most students stop thinking about cause and effect and just hurriedly fold the edges over, press it down quickly and call it wrapped.  But if your wrapping (which can also be called foiling) is sloppy your solder will be also.  There are a lot of steps involved but once you become proficient at it you can go through pieces quickly and efficiently as most of our students say that I do.  So here's my secret.

This first step is simple but essential to good foiling.  Make sure the corners on your glass pieces aren't pointed and sharp.  Just hit them for a half second on the grinder with minimal force.  You should never have a sharp corner because it will rip your foil in half if you are pulling it as taut as you should be.  The example below shows just how minute the difference can be.  The top corners are razor sharp while the bottom ones are still pointed but not razor sharp.  The difference is almost negligible when you look at the piece but when you wrap those corners in foil there will be a HUGE difference.

While you apply your foil you should be pulling it tightly across the piece of glass.   The last thing you want is slack in your foil before you press it down.  If you have razor sharp corners the foil will rip when you pull it around the corner.  Once the piece is completely surrounded you need to run your finger around the edge of the entire piece making sure that the foil is adhered nice and firmly to the glass.

Next comes the step that everyone wants to gloss over.  We don't want any of the sticky side  of the foil to face upward or the solder won't stick to it.  If you accidentally press some of the foil in the wrong direction just use you fingernail or a knife or razor blade to lift it back up.  Slowly start in the middle of one edge  and fold the foil over onto the top and bottom sides of the glass.  When you reach the corner use your fingernail to tuck the foil as close as possibly over the glass on both the top and bottom.  I never have very long fingernails but I can always do this easily.  Next move to the other edge of the glass that shares the same corner and push it down on top of the previously flattened section of foil.  Repeat this process until you've pressed all of your foil down.  Actually, it's very much like wrapping a Christmas present.    You can see what I mean in the animation below on the topmost corner.  This may sound like a lot of extra work per piece but it can be done easily and quickly without a second thought if you simply practice doing it on every piece.  Remember that the neatness of you foiling determines the smoothness of your lead lines. 
And lastly, don't forget to press the top and bottom edges down firmly before calling the piece wrapped.  I don't recommend using a pencil because the paint on them causes its own set of problems.  I love using a plastic pen but some people like to use wooden clothes pins or the handle ends of plastic forks, spoons or knives.  There are even wooden and plastic FIDs sold specifically for pressing down your foil.  Whatever you chose, make sure that the angle that you hold the tool is parallel to the edge of the glass or the foil will not be flattened firmly.    This is especially true of bevels due to their angled edges.  And if you want to see a demonstration just ask me.  It only takes a second to show you the correct way to foil your glass.

Okay then, lets start off with our only completed window this week which is Janet's Tree.  What I like about this fact is that Janet gets a big spotlight on her window which is truly a work of art.  From the cutting to the soldering, Janet made this look easy.  And if you could see this in person you'd get to see how beautifully the bevels sparkle.  This window is a result of perfect choices all around.  Janet says that she'll let us see a picture of this when its installed.  It's going to look GREAT!

Rowena  made these two Fleur De Lis suncatchers while she was at home and brought them in to get my seal of approval before she added hooks and colored them.  And I give these 2 thumbs up!  Her beading of the lead around the edges required no touching up at all an the Fleur De Lis' themselves are nice and symmetrical.   That's quality work.

Ann has two of her Fleur De Lis Initial Windows all ready for borders.  she came in and got to work cutting out her backgrounds and left with only four pieces left to grind on the last window.  She'll be using brown glass for the borders and we'll see those applied next week.

Paula's FDL looks absolutely amazing.  It features 3 quarter inch borders surrounding a black Fleur De Lis, which makes this one tedious project.  Next Paula will insert this into a silhouette of the state of Louisiana.  I cant wait to see how this all turns out but I know for certain it will be impeccable.

Carol has her Detroit Tiger ready for it's final border.  She accomplished a lot while she was at home but she got slightly stumped while trying to fit the largest piece of the background glass.  Once we got that under control the rest just fell into place.  Carol was going to make a blue border with white corners but in the end decided that a thin inner white border followed with the deep blue she used for the lion would look best because it will match the lion perfectly.

And Janet loved this Santa Claus face when she saw it online but now that she`s cutting out the small facial features (the eyes and the mouth) she hates him so much that shes sticking his face full of pins like a voodoo doll.  But now the hard part seems to be behind her now and the rest should go easily from hereon out.  Just remember that faces are always a troublesome to do in stained glass.

Cindy's lamp is SOOOOOO close to being finished.  If it weren't for two breaks she'd have her lamp in her home already.  I heard the cracks happen and think that it was the way the lamp was positioned on the table with pressure landing on the pieces being soldered, but there wasn't much that could be done about that.  No matter, the pieces have been repaired and Cindy will be coloring this when she comes back in.

Linda L worked on her eight heart mirrors getting them tacked and then cutting the mirror inserts.  they're ready to be wrapped and then soldered when Linda comes back in. (I took the picture outside so you get to see the sky reflected in all of the mirrors rather than our ugly ceiling!)

Jeannette's shrimp boat is ready for solder. Now that the sky pieces have been wrapped and tacked you can clearly see the rigging on the boat and how the sky flows seamlessly behind all of the detail.  This window is a perfect example of how working outside the normal methods can make a window look even better.

Rowena has the bottom LSU portion of her Tiger Eye/LSU Window all tacked together so now she's working on the tiger face itself.   Since both sections need to be EXACTLY the same size we've pulled the LSU up on the pattern so she can use it as a straight edge for the bottom of the tiger eye section.  This will also allow her to be sure that the width on both sections are identical. This is already looking great!

Jeanne's Stylized Cross window is now ready for solder after getting its last border attached this week.  Jeanne was going to take it home and solder it there but decided to work on two Fleur De Lis suncatchers instead, which are much easier to transport.

Lynn resumed working on her 'G" Initial Window and discovered a slight  problem with a few of her pieces.  She had used 2 different pieces of glass for for the dark amber section believing that they were from the same sheet, but they weren't.  Once they were sitting on top of the white pattern paper the difference in the color was plainly evident.  Luckily the color she wanted was the one that had the most pieces cut out of.  After a quick change she resumed cutting and grinding new pieces.

Shelly brought in the pieces she wrapped at home and then began tacking together her Mermaids Window.  Once that was done she set upon filling in the missing pieces that make up the water and tacked them into place as well.  Now that it's all tacked together and complete she'll add a border and then start the final soldering process.

Mary Grace picked out two borders for her latest Bird Of Paradise Window which she tacked together this week.  I'm going to give her a shout out for doing such a great job foiling this project-- her corners are all perfect and the foil itself is consistently even.  And as we all know by now, that means that her lead lines will be even as well.   She'll have her borders attached next week and then move on to soldering.

Myrt's first transom is officially wrapped , tacked and even completely soldered.  She'll color this black when she comes back in and then resume working on her second copy of this particular window.   Once that's done she'll be ready for the third, wider and more complex center piece.

Now Brenda works fast so it shouldn't be any surprise to discover that her red B Initial Window is just about complete.  Just like last week, her window was finished with just seconds to spare in class.  Next week she plans on adding hooks, coloring it and then begin to work on something else.

Susan has decided to work on an LSU Tiger Window but wasn't thrilled with how the LSU was mixed in with the Tiger's stripes.  She redesigned the letters during class, traced it all out and is ready to start cutting glass.

And then we'll end this up with Martha who got her Iris and Dragonfly pattern traced out.  She's separated all the pattern pieces which means that she'll be cutting glass when she comes back in.

And that about wraps things up this week.  Come back next week when I suspect we'll have a slew of window ready to be unveiled!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

May I See Your S?

This week we start off with another quick and simple, but very helpful, tip involving the boards that people use to pin their projects on.  Many people use ceiling tiles which work wonderfully for pinning projects down as you grind your pieces, but too many people use the wrong side of the board.  The white pin cushioned side should be face down so that the smooth even side is upward allowing your pins better purchase and less chance of shifting due to falling into one of the holes that fill the front side of the tile.  Trust me, it really makes a difference.

Okay, so Jane's latest birdhouse presented us with a few problems because I drew the pattern quickly during class and mixed up one measurement that affected the sides and the bottom, but Jane realized the problem and immediately made an adjustment which enabled her to get this together and completed during class.  It's a great design and Carol is going to begin one of her own as well.

Martha's repair is now officially complete.  Normally I feel the pictures I take don't capture the textures of the glass but this picture shows the two different blues perfectly.  Martha did a great job of saving this window from being scrapped.

Terry's C/M Window is complete and ready to go to its owner.  The last minute addition of the diagonal bar looks like it was planned right from the start.  Terry let the letters themselves dictate the color of the background and the border.  With the letters being a blue/green mix, using each color separately was honestly the best best way to go.

Who's in the pumpkin patch with Susan?  Just this Great Pumpkin repair which is complete AND a complete do-over unlike I had said in our last post.  It's never fun when a repair takes longer than you initially think it will but this one is now officially back in action and probably even looking better than it did the first time around.

And this week we got to see all of the work that Paula acheived while she was at home.  She thinks it's been slow going but these thin curved trims are never easy.  In the past we've only dealt with two trims on this Fleur De Lis Pattern, but Paula is going the full 9 yards by making one white, one gold and then a final black trim.  Three borders means three times the fun!  At least her black glass came in so she can keep working without losing a beat.

Terry had seen Bonnie's horse window and fell in love with it.  She's modified the pattern a bit to make it match the picture of the horse she's making this in tribute for and then she began cutting her glass.  Knowing Terry this one won't be long in the works.


Rowena is going for broke with her latest window which is an LSU pattern complete with tiger eyes.  She'll be making this as two separate windows and then she'll just join them together as one when she adds her final border.  She's got all of the LSU section cut out already and has moved on to grinding it.  Before you know it she'll be working on her tiger eyes!


Linda L now has eight  hearts are ready to be wrapped and tacked together.  She spent her class grinding all of these pieces and has taken them home with her to wrap,  Next week she'll tack them together and then start cutting the mirrors for the centers of these Hearts.

Shelly  came in and continued  wrapping her mermaids. The few pieces that she didn't get wrapped were taken home with her so she can (time permitting) come back in with everything wrapped and ready to be tacked.  Soldering is almost just a few fill in pieces and a border away now!

Ann's C,B, and W sections are complete along with the 12 small FDL's that will sit in the corners of each of these three initial windows.  Ann and I both agree that  Fleur De Lis' will be banned in the shop during 2015!  With just the backgrounds and simple border pieces left to go Ann will surely be finishing these 3 windows in the weeks to come.

Becky S made incredible progress on her curved Fleur De Lis window.  She's not only got it all cut out but she has it about a quarter of the way ground as well.  It's fitting together perfectly and that's no easy task because a lot of the curves in this design are so deep that they can't actually be cut.  Because of this, Becky is spending a  lot of time at the grinder getting those deep curves carved into each piece.

I've singled out two of the more difficult pieces that Becky has had to grind into shape below so you can appreciate all of the work she's putting into this window. Note how deeply the curves cut into each piece.

And Cindy 's lamp is just about complete.  There's  just a little assembly required and I have no doubt that will easily occur in her next class since her pieces are all cut and soldered.   Wait a minute, there are still the accent pieces to fill in but that won't take long at all.  I still say this will be completed for our next update.


Carol did some exceptional work while she was at home during the week and got all of the lion and it's trim cut and ground in her Detroit Lions Window.  After getting the lettering completed she began cutting out the background glass and will resume grinding those pieces while she's at home.  She's doing great work and is really flying through a difficult design.

Myrt has the first of her three transom panels not only cut and ground but almost completely wrapped as well.  She's decided to make the two smller windows first to help prepare her for the final larger window.  When she returns she'll solder this and then move along to the duplicate window of this pattern which will actually be installed upside down from this one to form book ends.. 


Janet  made some great progress on the transom window that she's working on that we call The Tree Of Life.  With all the soldering completed on the front side all she needs to do is solder the back and get some channel on the edges   Once that's through we'll call this window a completed project and I highly suspect that will happen when she returns.


Brenda 's  'B' window is finished save for the coloring of the lead.  She finished soldering it about five minutes before class ended and wants to color it black, but that takes well over a half hour to do so she's going to color this one at home.  Perhaps if we're lucky she'll be able to bring it back in so we can get a finished picture because I must say that she's done another stellar job here!


Jeanne's Stylized Cross Window is now ready for its last border.  With the center all tacked together and squared off with small triangles along the top and bottom, Jeanne decided to go with a double border to really give this design an antique feel.  The colors are striking, the workmanship is top notch and the finished product can't help but be spectacular.  I love the glass that she used for the thin inner border and can't wait to see the final border attached when she returns.

Jeannette's  shrimp boat window is all cut and ground save for the border.   She cut a piece of glass for her sky and then transferred the pattern onto that glass with a thin point marker.  Although you can't see it in the picture below the sky has been cut  into 26 individual pieces.  Since it's all been cut in place the flowing grain of the glass has been preserved which means that when its together (as it is in the picture) you can barely see the cuts at all.  However, once this is wrapped and tacked the illusion of the boat being in front of the sky will be perfect since the sky will flow unbroken behind the lines that form the ship's rigging.  And you'll see how that looks when it's tacked together next week.

Mary Grace  is on a roll with her newest Bird of Paradise Window.  The colors are slightly different and I have no clue what she plans to do with her border but I have no doubt that this will look just as good as, if not even better, than her first Bird Of Paradise window.  Mary Grace is becoming a bit of a perfectionist striving for the perfect cut and the perfect grinding job.  And that always makes a quality window.

Martha  not only completed her blue window repair but also set upon redesigning an Octagon Iris Pattern.  Her redesign features Iris' that incorporate more yellow parts that I've just learned are called the 'beard' or 'signal' part of the flower.  I suspect that she'll be cutting glass when she returns next week.

And that's it for this week.  Classes resume tomorrow night and I'm all ready!