Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Ok, a lot of our students have difficulty telling the front of a piece of glass from the back (the trick is to catch the glare of a light on the glass and to also look for an abundance of straight lines).   When I tell students that the smooth flowing front side of the glass should be used on their projects I inevitably hear that they prefer the straight lines.  Sadly, whether you like it or not, this is just bad craftsmanship.  It's akin to filming a movie out of focus because you like it that way.  Let me show you why straight lines should be avoided. Below are two flowers colored with the exact same glass only one was colored with the front of the glass while the second used the back side.  Which is which?  Well, the one on the left was done with the back of the glass which is harsh and flat while the one on the right used the front of the glass.  Without all the straight lines the flower petals on the right appear to actually curve.  It's a softer more delicate look and it's far easier on the eyes.  Remember to try to avoid using sections of glass with straight lines whenever possible.

Well, it's official; Becky S's Elegant Fleur De Lis is completed and all her attention to detail comes through in spades.  The size of this window is actually quite shockingly large.  While it's just under 24 inches square, it measures about 33 inches both tall and wide once it's hung in it's proper diamond orientation.  It's a striking window for sure, with many thin pieces of glass and long runs.

Betty has her latest sunflower window completed and, as always, this window turned out beautiful.  Yellow Spectrum glass makes the best sunflowers.


Carol's latest Butterfly Lawn ornament is ready to be staked into her garden.  That is unless someone she knows notices it and says that they like it at which point Carol will most likely give it away!

Jane completed two Bees Lawn Ornaments this week, one large and  one small.  The curved bodies and wings on these are really the bees knees.


In other Lawn Ornament news, we have a Sunflower and a Butterfly that Rowena started at home and then finished in class.  Looking at the two of these together gives me an idea for a smaller butterfly actually sitting on the sunflower.  I'll have to look into this.

Betty has the faces, hair and halos cut for her Trio Of Angels and then started cutting out the glass for their dresses.  All I can say is that Betty is  moving at light speed on this one.  I think this is going to be an amazingly beautiful window and to see what she comes in with next week.|

Linda L has the double glass stacked vase pieces for her Yellow Rose Window ground, stacked and wrapped which means that this window is ready for some background glass.   She's changing the size a bit so she can make an inner border out of bevels which she will then follow with a thicker, final border.  With the rest of this window being cut from clear glass it will be another example of how less can be more.

With the center of her crab window now ready to be tacked together Cindy cut the strips for her border so she could continue working on this while she's at home. The Blue waterglass that she's using for her water is the same blue that you'll see Carol using for her birdhouse border.  It's popular glass for a good reason. Note how Cindy put the deepest section of the blue at the bottom of the water.  We call that attention to detail.

I dare you to tell me that Linda F's newest  window isn't going to be an attention getter.  Linda got her Wild Thing's hair cut but it's still a little unkempt if you ask me.  I guess that's what grinders are for!  When this is finished people are going to 'ooh and aah', mark my words.  Cartoon characters always turn out well when they are converted to stained glass.

Susan started working on her Cross Window this week and it's all cut out and ready for grinding.  That's what I call fast work.  Once this is ground Susan will be able to start wrapping it.  And I'm suspecting that may happen during her next class.


Jeannette began working on this Flowing Geometric Design and has it very much underway with just three hours of work into it.  With her colors all picked out I think she'll be making great strides on her latest window.  And don't you just love the amberdescent glass that she's picked?

And Martha got all of her background glass cut for her Iris and Dragonfly Window this week.  She did it the best way possible-- by cutting out the complete octagon from her background glass, laying her finished pieces on top of it and then tracing out everything so everything fits perfectly while only needing a minor skim across the grinder.  It also makes the grain of the glass flow perfectly throughout the design. Nice work!

Terry started this Beveled Window in class and is headlong into it already.  Everything is cut out and ground with only her outer border left to attach.  Beveled windows are elegant and Terry has made this look simple as well.


Becky S not only finished her Fleur De Lis Window but also resumed work on her Sunflower by adding a border to it.  The light clear grey looks darker than it really is while it's sitting on top of the white pattern paper but when it's hanging it will just show a hint of color to separate it from the background without competing with the color of the sunflower itself.

Then there's Carol who has her birdhouse window almost ready for solder.   All the glass has been cut and she's probably wrapping the remaining blue waterglass pieces of border pieces as I type this.  There are only five pieces left to grind before this window can get its brass channel put on it. and some hooks.


Our newest student, Sue, finished her butterfly last week and has her newest window all ready for borders already!  Well, the truth is that she had this started already but I wanted her to make a Butterfly last week so I could see where her strengths and weaknesses were.  She's going to add her borders to this next week and then she'll be soldering.


Myrt continued with the woodwork on her Outhouse, but in glass.  Once this is wrapped I think that she should tack it together which will make those sixty-six pieces turn into one which will prevent things from shifting out of place while she's cutting and grinding the background to this scene.

Natalie  is just about ready to begin soldering her cross window.  This week we saw her finish wrapping the background for her cross and then cut and wrap almost off of her double borders.  She's taken the unwrapped pieces home with her so I have no doubt as to what she'll be doing when she returns to class.

Mary Grace  has the front of her deer window completed and is ready to begin soldering the back side.  I took off all of the numbers she had on the glass with some steel wool which required me to wipe off the residue it left behind with a paper towel which actually cleaned up the window nicely.  Even though the flux is still there you can already see just how nice this panel is going to be.

With her cat all ground and mostly wrapped, Shelley's Cat Window is almost ready for it's border.  There are only seven pieces left to go on this and three of them are already cut.  Look out becaise this window is just about ready for solder.

Bonnie  finished the repair work on her LSU window and I defy you to find what pieces she replaced.  I'll give you a hint-- there are 8(!) of them.  And she repaired this completely on her own after I showed her how to knock out the first piece.  That's impressive.

Jeanne fixed her FDL suncatcher which had one broken piece that we discovered at the last minute last week.  And as luck would have it she then dropped it as she was getting out of her car  while trying to maneuver around on her new crutches since she's hurt her leg.  I hope she mends soon so she can get back to normal.


And to wrap things up we have Paula who is about to begin making a stained glass mirror for her bathroom.  There's a Bayou scene tracing around the outside of this design leaving her with a large blank space in the center that Paula will cut out of mirror.  With her colors picked, and pattern all traced out she's ready for action.


And that's it for this edition.  We hope you had as much fun reading about it as we did making it all!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

An Evinrude in a Cesspool

I'm late!  It was a busy weekend and I didn't get a chance to write anything until about an hour ago.  Because of that our tip isn't going to be what I originally planned (because I never got the example images drawn up).  I mention this only because I had told two students to check out our tip on the blog this week and now that one's not here.  So look for the tip about straight lines next week.

This week I'll state something that really needs to be mentioned.  When you're grinding glass you should ALWAYS pay attention to the water level in the grinder.  If no water is coming up onto the grinding wheel you're not only decreasing the life of you wheel but also grinding longer than you have to.  Water helps carry away the ground glass and also acts as a lubricant which will stop the rough grinding surface from being scraped off of the wheel.  Also, if you're using a sponge behind your wheel (and I recommend it even if you have a spongeless grinder) don't forget to wash out the sponge when you see that it's filled with glass grindings.  Rinse it under running water and keep squeezing it out until it's soft again.  This will make your grinding go much quicker.

Okay, so with that out of the way let's look at Cindy's Geometric Suncatcher.  It's fairly large (about 10 inches around), has a ton of tiny pieces in it (a Cindy trademark if there ever was one) and has a really nice antique look about it.  I normally prefer to use copper patina on windows but I recommended that Cindy use black on this project and I know it was the right choice.  Beautiful.

Betty's second Nativity scene (in this design variation) is another flawless window.  You can't even tell where I screwed up one of her pieces of glass because we positioned the new piece in endless positions until it matched perfectly and then cut it to fit my screw up. 


Linda F's Wise Men Window is officially completed and as I've come to expect from Linda, the work is wonderful. But I am just dying to see her get started on her next window.  The pattern will really knock your socks off when we reveal it next week.

Wow, it seems like forever since we last saw Jeannette but that's only because she was out of state and then we had the two weeks of holidays.  Even though it's almost been a month she was here she made short work out of these two cabinet door inserts.  Started and completed in one class, Jeannette really went to town on this pair of windows.  The frames that these are in have only been coated with primer so the color of the wood will change before she installs them.

Sue is our newest student and this is her Butterfly. She's calling it a Mardi Gras Butterfly because it was done in Purple, Green and gold.  I'm calling it perfect because that's what her cutting and grinding was.   And even though she's done this before I think she walked away from her first class with us with at least a few good tips on how to do things a little easier. 

Jeanne's Fleur De Lis Suncatcher was also completed this past week and she did a wonderful job with her soldering.  She worries about her work but I'd say she's doing just fine.

Paula's second Flower Hand Mirror is every bit as perfect as her first was.  I loved the vibrant red she used in her first one, but I really like the soft pink of this one.  Paul's attention to detail really paid off in this because her flowers flow nice an smoothly.  Paula will begin working on a much larger project when she comes back in and I can't wait to see it get started.


Terry's Flying Pig is, well, a flying pig.  I'm not sure what else I can say other than the fact that Terry is one of our best students who can even make a flying pig look wonderful.  I wonder what the wingspan is on that thing?  Oink, Oink!

Ann has her latest Fleur De Lis Window well underway.  In fact, once she gets the border on this I can't imagine that she'll take long to solder it at all.  Although it's hard to see while it's resting on the table, it is a Mardi Gras Fleur De Lis colored in purple, gold and green. And don't you just love the background glass she picked?  It even photographs well while it's resting on the pattern (which NEVER happens!)

Becky S has her Fancy Fleur De Lis Window all completed save for it being washed and colored.  There's no doubt whatsoever that this will be showcased in our next update.  Becky also worked on a new Sunflower Window while she was at home and managed to get her background cut for it this week as well.

Bonnie's repair on her LSU Window is well under way.  She's decided to forge on ahead and continue working on this monotonous repair.  I'll bet she can't wait until it's finished so she can start working on her Owl.

This is the second full size window of Brenda's four Transom Inserts.  When she brings this back in she'll get her border cut and then she'll can either solder it or move along to one of two remaining windows in the series.  I have to say that I like the look of these.  Her choice of frosted glass really makes the bevels stand out.

Cindy's latest window is an Anchor with Crabs.  When I drew up the pattern I made a small but somewhat obscure mistake when I was erasing lines and finalizing things with my black Sharpie marker.  Cindy looked at the pattern and instantly said that she was going to make one change.  When she showed me what it was I was thrilled that she saw the mistake so quickly which involved one of the crab's claws not wrapping around the anchor correctly.  It's safe to say that Cindy's got an eye for this work.

Next we take a look at Jane's Sunflower Lawn ornament.  Although we've seen this before there IS something different about this one when compared to all the others that have been made-- it's much smaller.  Jane accomplished this by simply putting the original pattern on a copying machine and then reducing it until it was the size she wanted.

Linda L's Yellow Rose Window is really looking good.  She's using a unique process in making this which involves her doubling up two different glasses so that the water in the vase will show the same texture that the vase has also.  This process requires some extreme fitting because her doubled pieces of glass will need to be wrapped as a single piece.   Look at how quickly she's moving along on this window!  :-)

By the end of class Martha had her Dragonfly Iris Window all wrapped and ready to be tacked.  That means that she'll be cutting out background glass when she comes back in.  Even though there's a lot of background it will go quickly because she'll be cutting it from one piece of glass that she'll trace this all on to.  Grinding will be minimal at best.

Mary Grace has all the glass cut for her Deer Window including the final outside border which you don't see in the picture below.  She's taken the last border home so she can wrap it, come in and start soldering when she returns.  She was unable to use an beveled inner border due to size limitations  so she cut the inner border out of waterglass which, as you'll soon see,  is going to look just fine.

Take me out to the out house, 
Take me far from the crowd,
I'll bring some paper and hold my breath,
You'll surely hope that I never come out!
Let me toot, toot, toot,
in the outhouse.
To just pee would be a shame,
Number One!
No less will do,
At the old out house!

(Sorry, but sometimes I do things like this to see if people are reading the blog)

Natalie has her first window just about wrapped up.  That's a better choice of words than I initially thought when I typed it out because the fact is that she only has two more pieces of background to foil (wrap) before she can tack this and then start adding her borders.  And borders, as longtime readers know, always go quickly.  It's looking good and I can't wait to see it lit up.

Here's our second Sunflower Lawn Ornament of the week and this one is the full sized version that is being made by Rowena.  You can see that she and Jane were running neck and neck in a race to see who could get theirs done first and they both ended up in a tie getting everything cut, ground, and wrapped.  Perhaps next week we'll have a picture of the two finished Sunflowers together so you can see the size difference.

Shelley's Cat Window made HUGE progress this week but she is the first of two students who managed to escape without getting their work caught on camera.  Shelley got most of her cat ground which means that she'll be working on the incidentals of this design when she comes back in.  Sadly, this is  the same picture from last week. :-(

And Susan is making a cross window which she started this week, but which I also didn't get a picture of so I'm showing you her pattern instead.  In truth, I don't think she cut any glass out yet, but I could be wrong.  With a new student in the class I didn't get to spend any time at all with Susan or Shelley which made the class boring and incomplete to me.  :-)

And there you have it. That's all the news that's fit to print. (Unless I forgot something... again)

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

In Addendum

Well, I've done it again and managed to skip another student for the second week in a row.  I'm adding this special post so that Martha and Paula won't feel TOO slighted.  At least I figured out what went wrong.  Long story short, the picture of this exquisite Iris/Dragonfly Window was accidentally saved to my desktop (which is always a mess of random icons) and therefore forgotten about when I uploaded the rest of the pictures from their regular storage folder.  I know how and why it happened but that doesn't mean it won't happen again as I'm becoming prone to Senior Moments! 

So here is where Martha stands on her window.  Once the wrapping is completed she'll be cutting out her background glass at which point this window will be almost completed.  It really does look great already so I'm expecting a lot from this window (and I know Martha will deliver the goods).


Monday, January 12, 2015

How Do You Paint Behind A Toilet?

Before we get into our students work I'm going to show you how to draw a nice symmetrical pattern.  Many people eyeball things but our eyes are easily deceived and should never be trusted, especially when symmetry is involved.  When I draw a pattern I like to use a somewhat transparent paper.  I've found that butcher paper (you can purchase large rolls of it at Sam's quite cheaply) works great.  (Just keep the waxy side down when you draw on it.)  If I were going to draw a Fleur De Lis I'd start by drawing a line down the center of my paper and then roughly sketch out one half of the design.  I then take my time touching up my rough design by smoothed things out and making sure all of my lines flow nice and evenly.  Here you can see the start of a fancy Fleur De Lis.

Next I fold my paper on the center line that I originally drew leaving the drawn section of the Fleur De Lis facing upward rather than hidden inside the folded paper.

Once the pattern paper is folded I place the drawn section face down on the table so the blank half of the pattern is facing upward.  Sometimes I'm lucky and can see a faint image of the drawing through the paper.  Most times I'm not that lucky so what I do is place my paper on a window so the sunlight allows me to clearly see my drawing through the pattern paper. (A light box is an even better solution but not many people have one.)   Then I just trace over all of the lines with my pencil leaving me with a complete second half of the Fleur De Lis.

Just unfold the paper and you'll now have a perfectly symmetrical drawing. 

If your pattern is symmetrical both horizontally AND vertically (like Cindy's Geometric Window that you'll see further down the way) just draw a quarter of the pattern, fold it, trace out the second quarter of the patten, and then fold your pattern along the other axis to trace the top two quarters onto the bottom.  That's it.  Using this simple technique will certainly make a big difference in your finished windows.

Okay, so onto our students work.  Susan managed to complete her Traditional Bevel Design this week and I don't have to tell you that it's a stunning window.   It's hard to explain but the words that pop into my mind when viewing the actual window itself are 'sharp'  and 'elegant'.  At three foot by three foot, it's not easy to ignore--this is a window that demands respect.

Cindy completed Her Pink Flamingo Window and it's eye catching, that's for sure.  Everyone loved it and her work is top notch.  I knew that she wouldn't have any trouble completing this window but she even impressed me on this one.  And it's absolutely, 100% square.  THAT's the sign of great craftsmanship.

Betty has finished her first  of two nativity scenes and it's another Nativity winner. Although the next one has been made from the same pattern, the colors are different so they won't be identical.  We'll show you the second once its back side has been soldered which I'm going to guess will be next week.

Paula began working on this beautiful red Hand Mirror while she was at home and brought it in to get the mirror section inserted and then to solder it.  By the end of the class her mirror was completed and she even had felt applied to the back side of the mirror to protect it from scratches.  And she came up with an idea to use contact paper on the back side which would probably be less stressful to apply than the felt is.  It's something to consider for sure.  

Rowena made two lawn ornaments this week.  Both are in shades of yellow and both are very summery which, in this cold spell we've been under, is like a breath of fresh air.  Here's her 3D Sunflower:

...and this is Rowena's Butterfly.  They both turned out perfect, don't you think?  Rowena certainly isn't afraid to tackle projects on her own which is sure sign of a student becoming comfortable with the process of making stained glass..

Becky S attached her final border and added the brass channel that protects the edges of her window this week  She used the same glass in the border that she used for the actual FDL itself which  makes blue the only color in this window.  I've never been a fan of using color just for the sake of adding more color, and this window shows that less can be more.

Betty managed to get the border cut and ground for her Sunflower Window.  Most borders are a quick affair involving the strip cutter but the border on this particular window are curved and have to be cut out by hand making it a bit harder to deal with.  But Betty got hers cut, ground, and even partially wrapped before the night was through.

Brenda has the first of her two identical Transom Window inserts ready for solder and the second one has its background glass cut and fitted to its beveled center.  Once she has the fancy corners cut into place she'll have this one ready for a border.  I have no doubt that the third center section will surely be under way shortly.

Carol's Birdhouse Window got its background glass all cut out and fitted into place this week.  She also drilled eye holes into the birds heads (THAT sounds painful) and filled them with the smallest pieces of glass you could ever hope to work on.  Round eyes are easy if you know the trick though.  Just start with a small square and grind off the corners.  They can be completed in under a minute by simply starting them off as squares.

Our newest student is Natalie who started a cross window this week.   You might have noticed that Natalie skipped making our standard butterfly but that's only because she's already worked with me during one of our Weekend Workshops.  There are differences in teaching methods and I always like to make sure that all of our students are on the same page.  Since Natalie learned how to cut in one of our classes I know that she's doing things the best possible way.  And look, she's already started to grind her window already.

Janet now has the background cut for her Peaches and Dragonfly window.  She's freaking out a bit because she says her tacking doesn't look good but  whose tacked window EVERY looks good?    I love that Janet is worried about how everything looks though because it means that when it matters most her work will be beyond acceptable.  If you look closely at the picture you can see  where the wire work will go on this once it's completed to take it to the next level.

Linda has the front side of her wise men completely soldered and will finish up the second side when she returns.  She'll have a new pattern when she comes back into class also and all I can say is wait until you see it--  It's quite the opposite of this particular window that she's working on here.

Then we have Myrt's window which kept me running to the bathroom every time I looked at it-- I don't know why.  But isn't it looking good!  The two similar yet different browns she's using compliment each other without any sharp contrast that a lot of beginners seem fixated on.  But then again, Myrt is no beginner.

Mary Grace came in and got to work grinding and wrapping her sky.  Once that was tacked together the few remaining pieces that make up the eye were completed.  Now Mary Grace has a deer that only needs a border and some solder.  Just look at how nicely her sky flows.  She considered going around this with bevels but that's something that needs to be decided on before a window is started so the window will match the size of the bevels.  We were off too much to make bevels fit so Mary Grace may use a thin, clear inner border followed by a wider, outer border.

For some odd reason I think of Superman every time I see this Flying Pig being made. Maybe it's the cape wing.  Terry started this in class, coming in with the pattern and leaving with all her glass work complete with only the soldering left to do.  I think she'll be finished with this when she comes back in.  Terry has an Indian/LSU faceoff window coming up and I can't wait to see what she does with that.

Cindy's Geometric  Suncatcher  is all cut and ground.  She started wrapping all of her tiny pieces while she was in class and since she has her next pattern picked out already I wouldn't be surprised if we see this Suncatcher completed next week.


Shelley began working on this black cat window as a spur-of-the-moment project.  She wanted to do a beach scene and started drawing one up but then decided to do this cat while she was in class and work on drawing her beach window at home.  Currently her cat looks like a silhouette, but once it's ground and some lead lines are added the detail will emerge through all of the black.

Lastly we take a look at a window that Bonnie made a while back and is now repairing.   This LSU Window had a slight accident and has limped away with somewhere around 9 broken pieces of glass.  Bonnie has 2 repaired and one more knocked out so she's well on her way.  I've suggested that she just do one piece a week so I think we'll see Bonnie working on an Owl when she comes back to class.

That's about covers it this week.  We look forward to seeing you again in seven days.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks