Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Turning Lead Into Gold

Accuracy is something that you should always strive for in your glass work.  Initially students believe that once a piece fits into place they are finished with it and ready to move on but this isn't always the case.  Remember that the window you are working on is a sum of all of its pieces and if they don't fit correctly your window will be off.  Sometimes the reason is easy to spot, other times it's just a general feeling because everything is off just a 16th of an inch.  Remember that even a a round peg can fit in a square hole, but that doesn't make the circle a square.
Below we have a basic octagon or 'stop sign' if you will.  If you cut it out and it looks like the image on the right (in blue) anyone will see that it isn't an octagon.  To make matters worse, it's not really off by all that much as you can see in the lower overlapping image.  Detail is an important key to making good stained glass.  Problems like the one shown below lead to windows that just leave the viewer feel as though the window is 'off'.  As I always say, if you're going to take the time to do the window you might as well make it the right way. 

If you want to see a window with all the right cuts you don't have to look any further than Rowena's Six Paned Falling Leaves Window which is officially completed and looking spectacular!  The patterns themselves were a careful mix of randomness blocked out within the confines of a structured theme.  I didn't point that out to Rowena but she picked up on it immediately and followed suit with her colors and her placement.   I must say that she handled it exactly as I would have which obviously proves that great minds think alike!

Gale's Humming Bird With Flowers Window is another example of stained glass perfection.  The circle is perfectly round, the straight lines never waiver, and the soldering is magnifique!  Gale has a penchant for perfection and her work clearly shows this.  There's nothing 'off' here.

The Flart has flown the coup!  Linda F's three Heart designs are all finished and don't they look great?  I especially enjoyed watching Linda make sure that her glass never left the outside lines of the pattern and never moved too far inward from those lines either.  It's what makes these three suncatchers look like hearts rather than a heart in need if a transplant.  Excellent work!

Natalie now has a Crab Window under her belt and it really did turn out to be a beautiful window indeed.  The red inner border was the perfect color choice and Natalie's soldering was spot on all the way through this project.  This was a very elaborate design but Natalie tackled it as though it was a beginner's pattern.  Natalie's been reading the blog and has been impressed with the Lawn Ornaments that she's seen so that's what she will be working on when she comes back in.


Linda L wrapped up the work on her last two Beveled Transom inserts and they look even better than her first one (if that's possible).  Some people say that you don't learn a lot doing beveled windows because so much of the window is already cut for you, but I'm sure that Linda will agree with me that there's more here than meets the eye.  Learning the best way to grind her background pieces is something that Linda will take forward with her to every other project that she makes with us.

Susan's got her two Scarecrow Lawn Ornaments finished and they look very cheery to me.  If I were a crow I'd land on these guys shoulders (as different as those shoulders might be) and try to be friends with them.  I love how Susan has taken complete control of her wire work and used her new found skill to add straw poking out of their hats.  It's just a little extra touch but it  adds so much more to these fun faces. 


Did I mention that we have some Lawn Ornaments because Paula's got a completed 3D Rose Lawn Ornament this week which is complete perfection.  She did such a wonderful job with this I forgot that she'd been out of our classes for a while now.  I guess it's just like riding a bike-- you never forget.  At any rate, Paula must really like the way this turned out also because she's started 2(?) more of them!


This is Carol's latest window and it's her rendition of the crab window that Jeannette had made a while back.  The colors are completely Carols and the work is flawless.  Carol had a bit of an issue with this when the biggest piece of the body needed to be replaced but you can't tell that there was once a time when this little crab was broken and causing Carol heartache.  Now he brings a smile to Carol's face. 

Here's Mary Grace's Pumpkin Lawn Ornament and even though it doesn't have a line running down the center it's attached to its post quite firmly.  Mary Grace is learning that if you just take your time you can make magic happen.  You get out of a project what you put into it and as you can see Mary Grace put a lot into this one.


A while back Vickie made her Butterfly Suncatcher but I had forgotten to take a picture of it.  She brought it back this week which reminded me of how wonderful her cutting and grinding was on this.  I guess that explains why her latest window is already looking so great.

Becky has moved back to the left hand side of her Flower/Initial window and that side features her Bird of Paradise.  This week she managed to get all of the background cut and ground.  You can't really see it in this picture (because it's all clear glass) but take my word, it's there and it fits beautifully.  Becky will be joining the two sides of her window into one big window and adding borders before you know it.

And speaking of background glass, Bonnie's Iris Window is ready for it's background to be cut.  The hard work is completed on this and since there aren't any borders that means that there are only 20 pieces left to cut and ground.  And those 20 pieces are very easy cuts.

Charlie's Clear Beveled Window is all tacked together and his front side is completely soldered.  With just the back side left to go I'd say that we'll be seeing this completed very soon now.  Charlie has come a long way from when he first walked in the door a few months ago.  He'll be started a second companion piece to this as soon as this one gets its back side completed.

Martha's first angel is completely ground and just awaiting foil now.  There's one very tiny piece that's missing but we're going to fill that in when this gets tacked together so we can insure a perfect fit.  It's just so much easier to handle it this was rather than re-cutting a new piece from the pattern which is surely off from the rest of the pieces at this stage of this Angel's life.

And Jeanne's Tiger Window is really taking shape now that she's begun grinding her pieces.  You can easily see that the right hand side of this window is fitting together perfectly.  Jeanne's speed has really picked up now that she's confident in working with glass and I have no doubt that this will look wonderful.

Linda L has begun working on this single image of two pumpkins which I believe will turn into a single Lawn Ornament when it's complete.  There's not much left to go on this pair, just some stems and possibly some leaves.  Expect to see Linda make a few more of these as the weeks go by.

Ann's made impressive strides with her latest Fleur De Lis.  With her background cut, ground, and tacked into place she's ready to begin the most complex part of her window-- the triple, interlocking border.  I've inked in the tricky corner sections on her pattern because unlike most borders these get confusing as you try to figure out what pieces span two sections and which two sections should they span.  I have no doubt that Ann will be very far along on them when she returns.


We have a lot of beveled window this week and Brenda's window, although clear and beveled, doesn't get lost in the mix at all.  This is a very stylish design that I initially drew incorrectly, so when you enlarge this picture and see that the bevels aren't in the right place rest assured that they are NOW residing in the correct place for this particular design.  We roll with the changed here in our classes!

Sue began working on this small version of the LSU/Tiger Claw LSU Window.  She's shrunk down the pattern so these claws aren't going to be near as easy as you might think they'd be.  She has half of those claws cut out and then there will just be background and borders left to go on this.


Look out because Terry's Tiger is nothing short of ferocious.  But then, if you look really closely you'll see the cross that he's sporting in the design!  I'm looking forward to seeing what this one looks like in the light so we can get the full effect of the subtle cross.  As I tiger alone I think Terry completely nailed this one!

Vickie's Fruit Bowl Window is all tacked together and her grapes are ground and wrapped.  This isn't going to be a nice window, it's going to be a STUNNING window--  In fact, it already is.  And next week she'll get her background all cut and hopefully ground.  I love showing someone how to cut from the actual glass pieces rather than the paper pattern.  There's always a little confusion and then a lot of awe when they see how quickly things go.

With just the top fish left to re-cut, Shelly has made this intense window look down right easy!  Interestingly enough, that top fish was the first one she cut out before I mentioned that her fish should best be cut from vibrant colors so they wouldn't just disappear in the strikingly bright blue water.  Now that it's all ground and fitting together Shelley plans to re-cut this fish when she comes back in.

Cindy began working on 3 Cross Suncatchers and she's learned the hard way that straight lines really require a strip cutter to make things go easily.  She has a third one all cut out and that one WAS done on the strip cutter so that should go far more easily for her.

Myrt got the rest of her background pieces cut out and has begun grinding them.  There are a few pieces left to go but since these were cut from the actual glass butterflies and flowers things already fit very well with just a minimum amount of grinding required.  Once this is tacked together Myrt can get her border cut and she'll be ready for solder.

Triple borders are becoming quite the thing here!  Betty is doing an interesting variation of an interlocking triple border that really showcases the interlocking part of the border by combining sections of the border.  It may not make sense right now but it will next week when you see how it all fits together.

And Mary Grace is obviously on a pumpkin kick as she has begun cutting out her own version of a Double Pumpkin Lawn Ornament.  She was paying attention when I told her that anything could be a lawn ornament because she walked in with this pattern and asked, "I want to do this but only the two pumpkins and the leaves.  Can we do it?"  And the answer is......................................(insert drum roll here)....................YES!

Whew!  It's been a hectic week and this post is a day late but it's finished now so I get to concentrate on the new set of classes that have already begun.  We also have a fusing workshop this weekend featuring Martha and Becky S.  It will be a busy first day but it should be fun as well.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

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