Friday, November 28, 2014

Sut's Of Men!

Every week someone asks me what direction the grain should run in the square corner pieces of their border.  Truthfully, there is no right or wrong way but you MUST be consistent-- they should all run either up and down or left to right.  No mixing allowed.  I almost always run the grain on my border so that it radiates outward from the window and as a rule of thumb I make my corners match the grain of the border pieces that rest along the shortest end of the window.  You can see this in the diagram below.  (Grain lines are shown as red arrows. )  Again, there is no 'correct' way to do this just as long as all four corners match. 

We only had one class due to Thanksgiving keeping people busy at home but we still have plenty to look at so let's get started. 

Cindy completed her pair of corner panels and she did a great job on them.  These will mount either in the corners of a doorway (a TALL doorway) or in the corners of a window.  We don't see many of these windows made in our classes but Cindy saw this design in a magazine and rather than saying, "I'm going to order these" she said, "I'll make me a pair!"  And then she did.  Nice work!

Brenda completed her wood duck and did a bang up job on it.   She modified the pattern that Carol had made by adding more leaves and changing the feather patterns to help her use the colors that she wanted to use.  She used black patina on her finished project so the lead doesn't have the standard copper finish.  To ensure a dark finish Brenda let her window sit for a half an hour before washing the patina off.  You can wash copper patina off immeadiately, but black patina should sit on the lead for a half hour to forty-five minutes.  As for Brenda's window, I like it.  In fact I like it a lot.

Brenda also made this  wonderful cross window while she was at home and brought it in for some brass channel around the edges and some hooks.  She finished this with black patina also and although I'm not generally a fan of the black I will admit that it works beautifully on both of Brenda's windows.  Especially on this one with the nice clear background. (I do believe that there are certain times when black patina should be used though.)   Brenda doesn't love making this window due to the deep sharp cuts that the background requires to wrap tightly around the pointed bevels but she did a great job on these.

Martha continued working on her Beveled cross and she really impressed me this week.  Not only is she flying through this pattern (all her glass is cut) but she remembered a 'hack' that I showed her about grinding out the pointed sections on each arm of the cross.  Brenda, Terry, and Cindy were all amazed at the way Martha dealt with the most difficult cuts in this beautiful (but challenging) window.  It looks to me as though Martha will be back to work on her Iris and Dragonfly window very shortly.

Terry resumed work on her Kaleidoscope Window this week and decided that the border she had cut out last week was far too pastel for the rest of the window.  The color she replaced her original choice with is, in my humble opinion, perfection.  She has the front side of this soldered and and the brass channel tacked into place.  I'm sure that she'll begin soldering the back side while she's at home so I suspect that we'll see this window completed when she comes back in.


Myrt finished wrapping the left side of her center portion of the Transom windows that she's working on and then tacked it together.  One of the pieces is a little short so we're going to re-cut it next week. If you look closely you can see how the actual bevels are off when compared to the pattern drawing.  Never count on a bevel matching it's pattern.  Every bevel is off at least a little bit and some can be off by a quite lot.  That's why I always retrace my pattern with the actual bevels I'm going to use onto the window.  Myrt will start the right side when she returns next week.

Cindy has also begun working on her Perched Birds Window Hanging this week.  She's got the two smallest birds done (the tough ones) and will complete the rest after she makes a butterfly Window (that I forgot to draw up for her this week.  Ouch!)

So, like I said it was a short week but that made this post very easy to accomplish.  Since it's finished before the weekend we're going to have a special edition featuring some of Russ' glass fusing.  See you then!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Oh Crap, That IS My Blood!

Symmetry.  Whenever it's overlooked it becomes overstated.  Your eyes and mind are capable of seeing far more than you might think and sometimes that's good, but other times it means that you need to focus on area's of your work that you wouldn't normally think of.   Symmetry in stained glass is the quality of a pattern being made up of identical parts facing each other.  Below you see five shapes all of which are perfectly symmetrical.  The 'mirrored' portion of these shapes connect along an axis shown below as dotted lines through the shapes.  If you fold the pattern on those lines you will find that both sides are a perfect match.  If we're off in our measurements the difference will be readily apparent to the viewers eye.

Next let's take a look at the same shapes when they are NOT symmetrical.    As you can see, some of these have big problems.  Whenever you have patterns that mirror themselves (Ovals, Crosses, Butterflies, etc) you should take a little extra time to make sure that both sides are identical.  It can easily be the difference between someone looking at your window and saying, "My, that's wonderful" or "There's something off about it"--  Especially if your pattern only has a few pieces.  Keep in mind that the more information your eyes take in to process makes it harder for your mind to spot inconsistencies.  And sometimes this can be used to your advantage.

Okay then, first up we have Jeanne who has completed her Stylized cross and all her apprehensions about the color of her final border where laid to rest.  Everyone in class agreed that it's gorgeous.  It's truly a classy design done in tasteful yet striking colors.  It's certainly a project that Jeanne should be proud of but she's told me that she sees flaws to which I replied, "I see flaws in EVERYTHING I do.  As long as they're minor you'll be fine."  And what she perceives as flaws on this window are nothing to be concerned about because I think it's beautiful.

Then Shelley completed her Mermaids Window and again I have to say that her soldering amazes me.  The coloring process went easily enough but she might have had an extra drop or two of wax on it when she started waxing it,  :-)  But it wasn't a problem and the window looks like its worth about a million dollars.  And the best part is that it's all Shelley's design.  Way to go, Shelley!

Linda F easily finished her Monogrammed 'T' Window this week because all it needed when she brought it in the door were a pair of hooks to hang it by.  Once they were attached she washed it, colored it and then added a hook to her Cardinal suncatcher to complete that as well.  Talk about a job well done!

Carol loved the color placement in in the Butterfly Lawn Ornament that Rowena started in class so she used a similar color combination using blues.  The end result is a wonderfully bright Butterfly that will draw attention all year around.

What a nice suprise it was to see Becky B return!  Becky resumed work on her Black Horse Window and it is being wrapped as I type this.  She got a lot of it wrapped in class and decided to take the rest of it home so as not to waste too much class time doing something a mundane as wrapping (which is easily accomplished at home).  When she comes back in we'll tack it and then cut the sky and border pieces which will surely only take one class and then move on to soldering.

Cindy worked on her two corner pieces and they are almost ready for solder.  We took a shortcut and managed to get a lot more accomplished than Cindy thought she would, and that's always a good thing.  The trick to quickly getting the outside sections done is to realize that they are borders that just happen to be 4 borders thick.  These are easily cut on the strip cutter with minimal grinding required.


Betty is working on a second double Sunflower window and is moving full steam ahead on it.  We had to do a quick work around for the piece I accidentally 'destroyed ' last week but we have it under control.  It's still not cut, but once this is tacked together we'll place a piece of the same glass underneath and move it around until we find a good match.  Betty has decided to foil it at home so she then began working on her second Double Sunflower Window.  It's getting hard to keep this yellow glass in stock with everyone making sunflowers!

 Janet's Peaches and Dragonfly Window is all set for its background already.  When she came in she asked me if I liked the blue glass that she had used to cut her dragonfly wings out of.  When someone asks a question like that it tells me that they don't like the color choice and are looking for another opinion to help them decide to re-cut some pieces.  And I have to admit that the blue Janet initially picked was too solid and 'heavy' to make nice wings.  Russ found a wispy blue glass that Janet replaced the wings with and that turned out to be just the ticket.

Then we have Bonnie who now has all of her glass cut out for her Triple Tiered Sunflower Window.  She came in, wrapped and tacked the background pieces into place and then set about cutting her background glass.  By the time she left it was ready to be ground.   Her choice of blue really contrasts nicely with the bright yellow as you will see once this has some sunlight behind it

Carol was as busy as she could be while she was home last week because she managed to get two small Fleur De Lis windows cut and tacked together.  These will be the tops of two boxes when they're completed.  Carol came in planning to use a clear glass for her border but I talked her into using something more solid so we won't see the top edges of the box sides through the border when the box is closed.  And I think that the wispy black glass frames these Fleur De Lis' beautifully.  Carol did a great job on these and I hope she can see just how far she's come over the past few months.

Terry resumed work on her Kaleidoscope window and it's almost completely ground now.  there's a lot pf clear class in this design so don't think that she has a lot cutting left to do -- she's actually almost finished  with this. She re-cut some of her pieces because she didn't care for the color but it looks great now.  She even has her border glass cut out and will surely have this together soon.

Jeannette's sky is now visible (but only from behind).  She tacked together the pieces that she wrapped at home and then got her border cut, ground, wrapped, and tacked as well.  Then she even managed to solder the front side as well!  I'd say THAT was a very productive class.  With the second side almost completely soldered I'd say that Jeannette will most certainly have this ready in time for Christmas with time to spare!  

Martha needed to take a short detour and make a quick beveled cross so that's what she worked on this week. (Or am I just covering for her? Who knows.) At any rate it looks as though she's got a cross all cut and ground which means that with only some soldering left to go it will be finished before we know it. The Dragonfly/Iris window will certainly return next week.


Myrt began cuting the center section of her Transom Window this week and she's approaching this window a little differently from how she's normally made windows in the past.  She's going to cut and take together the left side (which she already has all cut and ground) before she cuts out the right side.  This will make the overall window much more easy to handle while moving it around as well as give Myrt some instant gratification since she'll get to see the window come together quicker.

Linda F began working a her version of the Three Wise Men that Betty had made a while back.  Linda isn't exactly matching the same colors that Betty used so although it will be the same window it will have a different hue about it.  You can say that she's making it her own.


Brenda's Wood Duck is now completely assembled and the front side is all soldered.  She's got her brass channel on and even got as far as starting to solder the back side (which you see here).  I wouldn't be surprised if she gets this completed before Thanksgiving-- just in time to cook it and eat it!


Linda L continued working on her three Kaleidoscopes and now has everything wrapped and ready to be assembled.  The assembly process on this project goes quickly so we'll not only be seeing three Kaleidoscopes but hopefully some nice images of  what you see when you look through them as well.

Rowena continued working on her LSU/Tiger Eye Window and she's got 95% of it finished already.  Yes, it was somewhat daunting when she actually started cutting and grinding the thin pieces for the tiger face, but now that the hard part is behind her she doesn't even think it was all that difficult.  I like Rowena's 'I'm Gonna Do It' attitude.   This will surely be completed when she comes back in and I can't wait to see what she decides to do next.


Lynn came in and got all of her pieces wrapped and then tacked them together which means that she's about to start working on her background pieces.  She tacked these together to make things more stable while she's grinding her background to fit.  Once that background is finished there will only be the border left to go before she can start to solder this beast. 

Mary Grace came in and after a quick discussion decided that she would cut her sky in one continuous piece the way that Jeannette did with her sky.  To do that the rest of her window must be tacked together which means grinding and wrapping the pieces she has cut out already.  So this week Mary grace spent a little time at the grinder and managed to get almost all of her Deer completely ground.  And once it's all tacked her sky will flow beautifully behind her deer and the grinding on her sky will be very minimal.

Susan began work on her rather large classic design inspired window and it's moving right along already.  There aren't a lot of pieces in this (and not a single curve) but the length of those middle pieces can be intimidating to cut.  We had to wait to get two full sized sheets of hammered glass delivered before Susan could start working on this project so she could get the centers cut in one long piece.  I'll say this though, it looks as though waiting will no longer be an issue when it comes to seeing this window completed because Susan is flying through the building process.

 And Paula is making a repair on a window that one of her son's made way back in the '80 (or so).  One window is fine (the left one) but the one on the right had breaks in the four longest pieces.  The only thing Paula could do was knock out all the clear glass and replace them all.  She's got the knocking out and replacing part completed and is now soldering everything into place.  I'd say that we can already call this a successful repair.

And that's about it this time around.  We're only one one class this week due to Thanksgiving so the next post should come quickly and be somewhat short.  We want to wish all of our students and our readers a very happy Thanksgiving and remind you to try to stay out of stores on Black Friday-- what could possibly be worth all of of that madness???

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Unplug The Iron And Wash It

Paula completed her Louisiana Fleur De Lis Window and what a job she did.  The triple border on the FDL consisted of pieces only a quarter of an inch wide so her margin for error was practically non-existent.   Her attention to detail goes above and beyond.  She even has Louisiana's finger coming out the bottom right of the state which you don't see done in glass very often due to the probability of it cracking.  This is certainly a window that Paula can be proud of, right down to the soldering job that she did on it.

Terry's Chitamacha Window was also finished this week and I have to give her two thumbs up for another project well done.  Terry is another student who never shies away from a difficult window and this certainly proves my point.    And her colors are flawless.  It looked great on the table but then when we lit it up, well the picture speaks for itself.

So that brings us to Janet's Old World Santa which is officially a wrap now.  Janet modified the original pattern by removing a pair of glasses that Santa was wearing.  Looking at this finished window you'd never know that Santa had bad eyes when Janet started this.  Let's just say that Janet got Santa some LASIK eye surgery as an early Christmas gift.  Betty loves this  pattern and might be making one of these herself.

And speaking of Betty, let's take a look at her Round Magnolia Window which turned out every bit as stunning as Bonnie's did.  The colors may be different different but the end result is the same-- a beautiful window.  And I must say that Betty's soldering has come a long way. Gone are the days when I would have to redo the majority of her lead lines, now I smooth out a joint or two and it's perfection.  And for the record, Martha's been eying up this pattern.

Carol's Bee Lawn Ornament is officially completed and it was a hit in class.  I knew it would bee because the pattern itself is loved the moment people see it, and then when you see it finished with the curved wings and the curved body, well, you certainly have a winner.   The picture below doesn't reveal the amount of curve in this project so I'll post another image of the same project at the end of the blog.  It looks like I'm going to have to get that Rose pattern drawn up real soon now! 

Susan put the finishing touches on her 'M' Initial Window.  I asked her why an 'M' and she told me that 'Susan' is actually her middle name and her first name came from a song that just about everyone knows.  Her first name is actually Mony. It turns out her father was a big fan of Tommy James and The Shondells so he named her after one of his favorite songs by them (She could have been named Hanky Panky so she sorta dodged a bullet there, didn't she?)  But the kids in school all made fun of her so the teachers started calling her by her middle name, Susan, and it stuck.  Fact is, her father still sings "Here she comes now singin' Mony, Mony!" whenever he sees her.   The final decision on whether to make this window with a S or an M came down to the fact that it's being made for her bathroom where an S wouldn't go with her monogrammed bath towels or the matching set of his and her monogrammed bathrobes.  NOT!  It's all been a lie.  This was actually made for her son and Susan's work on it is wonderful.  She'll probably hit me after reading this but I'll bet Shelley will be singing Mony Mony to Susan all during class this week.

Becky S has completed the first two frames in her series of six (or is it eight?) picture frames.   She was soaking up a lot of knowledge as she made these and as she advanced through each step she learned exactly why the clear glass is cut short and why the cuts in the border glass need to be in certain positions.  She found some wonderful little brass easels to hold the frames upright on a table and the completed frames and easels are going to make wonderful gifts.

Here's a look at the last two Initial De Lis windows that Ann will be making this year (or next) because we're banning FDL's in 2015.  Both Ann's 'C' and 'W' turned out perfect and now she'll move on to something with some larger pieces in it!  I'm hoping Ann finds class to be much more relaxing while working with bigger pieces.

The last of our completed projects is Myrt's second Transom Window Insert.  This mirrors the first one she made and will bookend a longer more elaborate center section that she'll begin working on shortly.  The clear glass and bevels really look great in her window but the dying grass in the background isn't doing Myrt's work any favors.  It's just a bad time of year to be photographing clear glass (as you can well see)!

And that wraps up our completed projects this week and brings us right along to our works in progress.  We're going to start with Shelley's Mermaid Window and tell you that this is the back side which is for all intents and purposes is completed.  Shelley just has to wash this up and then color it when she comes back in and then she's ready to move on to a Wine Window.  I have a feeling that might grab the attention of our Tuesday night class! 

Bonnie's 3 Tiered Sunflower is almost together now.  She has a lot of the background cut out and will most certainly be adding a border when she comes back in.  I was somewhat concerned about the height of this window thinking that it might be too tall for the regular brass channel that we tend to use but now that a lot of it is tacked together I don't believe there is anything to worry about at all.  In fact, it's not even going to need the re-stripping that I suspected we might use to make it sturdier.

Brenda  began working on a modified Wood Duck while she was at home and she has it nearly complete already.  She only had the sky and leaves left to cut when she came into class and now there are just a few pieces of leaves left to go.  Her sky wasn't cut exactly cut from one piece of fitted glass the way that Jeannette's boat windows were but we used a technique that still allows for a continuous flowing sky.  And you'll see how that looks when it's all ground and fits together.

This week Betty began seriously working on her newest Nativity Scene Window and it's seriously coming along!  She DID cut her sky out of one piece of glass but when I cut one of her pieces I accidentally cut through a good piece (apparently cutting point to point isn't always a good idea.)  I think we'll be able to work around the  problem but it means that she'll have to leave a hole in the window as she's working on it.  Then once it's tacked together we'll find the best fit in regards to the grain of the glass for the missing piece and no one will ever know that I screwed up.


Janet not only completed her Old World Santa but she also started this Dragonfly and Peaches Window as well.  She's  even started cutting glass already starting with her peaches.   This window has a lot of pieces but it's made up of smooth curves that should be relatively easy to cut.  And the design itself is going to look very nice indeed which we'll see when some more color is added to this.

Then Jeannette came in and got the water and the boat all wrapped and tacked together and then she cut out her clouds.  Once they were ground she cut one piece of blue glass that fit the skyline perfectly and then traced everything into place on it so that after the sky was cut into it's individual pieces it would reassemble itself perfectly.  In the end she added a small cloud at the top center for balance.  She's taken this home to wrap and solder but I'll be surprised if she gets any soldering done since I found her soldering iron in the shop that night after she'd left.  But tacking this together won't take any time at all and I doubt that soldering will either.

Linda F is another student who has really gotten a lot of work done this week.  Her 'T' Window has its background tacked into place as well as it's amber border.  All it needs now is a little solder and she can called this finished.  And if that weren't enough she also has a Cardinal that she began working on which is ready to be wrapped and soldered.  Linda is fast becoming a speed queen!

Terry's latest window is a Geometric Design but as someone in class pointed out, it looks like something you'd see when looking into a kaleidoscope.  And that's the perfect description for this window so I'm calling it the Kaleidoscope Window from here on out (which, knowing Terry, won't be for long.)  I think this is going to be a great window and can't wait to see what color choices Terry makes as she moves along on it.

Lynn ground her 'jewels' into place on her 'G' Initial Window and will start wrapping and tacking what she has cut out while she's at home.  The hardest sections are done and all that's really left to cut are a few background pieces and the border.  I would still like to know what I did to the tiny piece of amber glass that I took to the grinder and then somehow lost.  I ended up re-cutting it but even that trick didn't make the missing piece resurface like it usually does.

Wow, isn't Martha's Irises and Dragonfly Window looking great?  Here's a nice detailed view of some of her cutting which shows off the purple glass she's using.  If you pay close attention you can even see the yellow headed pins that Martha used to hold some of the other pieces in place.  Amazing.

Mary Grace had her yellow glass that she needs for her Sunflower Window arrive in time for her class but she decided to keep working on her deer.  I always say that once you're on a roll you shouldn't do anything to stop that wheel from rolling.  And she's moving along quickly because all she needs now are a few pieces of black glass for the deer and then the blue sky which she'll cut out when she returns again next week.  We'll probably use the piecing method to give the sky a continuous feel but we'll decide on that when she comes in.

Rowena is all set to start soldering her LSU/Tiger Eye Window.  I think this already looks great even without solder on it!  Rowena really came through like a champion while making this.  Everything lined up perfectly and that face is unmistakable.  This one is fun to solder so I suspect that the rest of this project will be a breeze for Rowena.

And in the end we come to Linda L who decided to make some Kaleidoscopes.  She managed to get all the glass cut out for three of them, wheels and all.  The pattern wheels are the hardest part of making these kaleidoscopes but it isn't nearly as bad as I sometimes make it out to be.  I tend to stress the importance of making them perfectly round and balanced and then end up scaring people away from making them.  I just don't want students thinking that it's a simple 15 piece project that you can just throw together without regard.  Wheels thrown together all Willy-Nilly will make for a cattywompus Kaleidoscope.  Precision counts in large amounts on this project but Linda is coming through in spades. 

And that does it for this week.  We'll have plenty more to see when we return in a week's time so be sure to come back!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks