Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Is E'vy Sing OK?

Students are usually in awe at how quickly I can foil glass and although part of it is the fact that I have 38 years of practice under my belt I also have a simple but effective 'trick' that I use.   In the past three weeks it's come up three times so I figure it's about time to mention it as a tip.  One way to speed up any repetitive task is to utilize your time more effectively.  When I foil I never press the foil down and over the sides of the glass until I have many, many, many pieces started.  In the picture below you can see that I have 11 pieces of glass (which is a small amount for me) that I've begun foiling but none of the foil has been pressed down around the top and bottom on the glass.  The fact is that when I foil my own pieces I'll frequently wrap 20 or 30 pieces before folding the foil over to the top and bottom of each piece. 

Here's a closeup of some of the pieces you see above.  Pay attention to the foil.

How does this save time?  I don't have to pick up my foil and find the edge of it each time I pick up a new piece of glass to wrap.  That may not sound like much savings but let's look at what happens each time you completely wrap a piece separately.  1) You lift your foil and start peeling away the paper backing from the foil. 2) you lift your piece of glass, position the foil and then surround the outer edge. 3) you drop the foil and fold over the edges of foil on your glass.  4) You lift whatever tool you use to press the foil firmly against the piece and smooth the foil out.  5) You set down the tool you used to flatten your foil and re-position your piece on the pattern. 7) You start over again at Step 1 having to find the end of you foil again as well as having to peel away the paper backing.

When I wrap 20 or more pieces at once I'm lifting and setting down only the glass piece itself.  There's no fumbling to find the sticky end of the foil. You can even save more time by pressing down the top sides of  all of your pieces in one fell swoop.  Then I flip all of my pieces (quickly and easily because there's no hunting) and repeat the smoothing process.  This saves a lot of time that becomes apparent when people watch me.  Charlie figured it out himself this week and verified it with me before he started wrapping all his border pieces. 

Try it and you'll see a definite savings in the time you spend wrapping your glass.  Imagine being able to save 7 seconds or more on each piece of glass that you foil.  It all adds up!

So with that out of the way I'm anxious to show you our first completed window of the week.  It's Paula's Flower and Butterfly Window and it's, well, beyond words.  Her attention to detail and her skill in following her pattern perfectly makes for flawless windows.  Here's her latest-- I think it speaks for itself wonderfully.  Note her excellent use of dark and light pieces in the flower petals.

We also saw Vickie complete her pair of blue/green Fleur De Lis Windows and they, like all of her projects, look great.  It's hard to believe that Vickie is our newest student with only a few months of classes under her belt.

Linda F put the finishing touches on her Easter Bunny Panel which will reside in a frame in her front yard during the Easter Season.   Linda did wonderful work on this window and moved quicker than ever through each phase of its creation without ever sacrificing the quality of her work.  We already have two other students who want to make this rabbit so expect more of these soon!

This is Betty's large Jester Suncatcher and for the life of me I can't understand why I didn't hang it up to back light it before I took the picture.  The workmanship shows but the colors are dark in the picture below and that's entirely my fault.  Rest assured that this looks even better when it's hanging up.

Charlie's first Bird Of Paradise Window is ready to be soldered now that he's got both of his borders attached.  This is technically the back side of this window because he's making two mirror images and this one was put together upside down on the pattern.  This is going to be a beautiful part of a stunning pair of windows.

Carol resumed working on her door inserts but not quite as she hoped she would.  We've been having a lot of trouble turning up the Fleur De Lis bevel cluster that she originally wanted and now that she's waited over two months for them to return to inventory she's decided to make one out of a different cluster.  Since it's smaller than the original FDL she had picked out she framed it with a thin border of clear glass that works wonderfully and brings the smaller cluster back to the size that she needs.  There's only one strip of border on this panel for a reason that will become clear when you see all six panels grouped together.

And Terry's Spiraling Flowers Window is just about ready to be ground.  Remember that this is the bottom panel of a two section window and the spiral is tight on this bottom section.  The top half will show the flowers start a curve towards the top center of the window creating a very graceful, flowing effect.

Brenda is working on a Justice of the Peace Initial Window and is just six pieces away from adding a border to it and getting it ready to solder.  Text is something that's much tougher than most people realize because crookedness and wavy lines make the writing appear sloppy.  As you can see, Brenda's 'handwriting' reveals her perfect penmanship.

This week saw Jeannette make incredible progress on her Peacock window.  She tacked together the bottom tail feathers, put them aside and then began working on the top part of the window.  This is almost a four foot tall window so working on it in two sections not only makes it easier to work with but it also makes it less likely to break due to the window flexing across its length.  I've added the bottom feathers to the top half so you can get a feel for the overall look of the window but they aren't attached (yet).  This is wonderful work and Jeannette is making it look downright easy.

Martha has resumed work on her Seafood Window but that may only be for this one week.  She has a Fleur De Lis Window or two that she needs to get done first but she's waiting on glass for them.  Meanwhile she's cut and ground her lemons which are incredibly realistic!  Talk about picking the perfect glass.

Vickie didn't waste any time at all starting her next window now that he Fleur De Lis' are completed.  She's making her own version of this Geometric window and it's already coming together wondrously.  I can't wait to see what the rest of her colors will be when she returns.

Linda F got her Bunny Panel out of the way and immediately went to work on this Beveled Cross Window.  She got the bevel wrapped and tacked together and then did the same with the background pieces.  That means that this window will be awarded its border when we see it again.

Susan is taking a small break from Tiger Windows and has begun working on these four Easter Egg Lawn Ornaments.  In just one class she managed to get all four cut out and one of them completely ground.  I have no doubt that she'll be staking these in her yard long before Easter.

Cindy's latest four sided butterfly is about to take shape.  She has them all soldered and will certainly tack them together when she comes back in.  The nice delicate flow of the curves in each of the wings show that Cindy's at the top of her game when it comes to cutting and grinding.  Look to see this Butterfly Ornament completed in our next update.

I suspect that next week will be a busy week when it comes to completed windows because Natalie only needs to add one small piece of glass to this window before she can wash it, patina it, wash it again and then hang it up.  She'll be starting something new when she returns to class and I can't wait to see what it will be because she's done a wonderful job on this window.

Sue's Winter Window has just a few pieces to go before she can solder it.  She's using an iridised grey glass for the background and the color fits within its Winter theme perfectly.  Last week when we looked at Sue's progress it was hard to tell what was completed and what was the colored picture that she was building it one.  This week I can say that what you're seeing is 99% glass that Sue has cut and ground into shape.

Bonnie's Study in Straight Cuts has its second 3rd all ground and ready to be wrapped.  The only slight snag is that we've had a run on silver backed foil and we're waiting for a delivery before Bonnie can wrap the center portion of her window.  It won't be an issue however since she can easily continue grinding when she comes back in whether or not the other pieces are wrapped.  (And the foil will certainly be here in plenty of time before she needs to start soldering this together.)


Shelley's got all of the glass cut and ground for her Fleur De Lis Window this week and what a wonderfully symmetrical window it is.  Shelley has learned that making nice smooth cuts with an even amount of pressure helps to make things go much easier the farther along in the project you get.  This is a perfect window that she's donating to an auction which I predict will bring in the big bucks!


Jeanne began working on two Beveled Cross Suncatchers, one of which she has ground already.  She'll be ready to grind the second one when she comes back in and I must say that her grinding skills are certainly worth bragging about.  She can make that grinder carve away glass to form the exact piece that she needs.

Myrt's begun working on a Cross De Lis Window of her own and she's also got her cross and bevels all ground and fitting together as well.  It's hard to see the pieces on the white paper since the glass she's using for her cross is white and the bevels are clear.  Rest assured that when she comes back in and begins cutting out the Fleur De Lis itself the cross will stand out nicely.


And Betty's latest Fleur De Lis Window is another 'all clear' endeavor and it's only needing a coat of solder on its back side.  Once that's done she'll add hooks, wash this and then it will be ready for a close up as a completed window (with some light behind it).


And in the end, Rowena's latest butterfly was cut out this week during class.  Then she ground it, getting everything to fit together perfectly.  Then she wrapped all of the pieces as well.  And if that wasn't enough she also got her butterfly tacked together--  all in one class.  Now that's what I call production!

And that ends things this week.  Next week is a big week for us as we add another class into our schedule to help with the backlog of people who are on our waiting list.  We'll be adding five new students over the next few weeks so expect to see a lot more projects in our posts!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The S Word: Shenanigans

There's been a little excitement in the shop over the Fleur De Lis Window that I made.  It seems that people were very confused by the large strips of metal running all throughout the window which is a simple variation of the lead border that I had used in the peacock windows that I've made in the past. 

A lead border is simply a border that's been cut from glass but then completely covered over with lead.  The arrows in the picture below point to the sections of a lead border.

Remember, it's all glass.  Once the glass is cut and fits into place you cover both the front and back sides using a sheet of copper foil and then wrap it as you would a regular piece of glass (in that order!)  When soldering you simply coat all of the foil with lead and then finish it by soldering the edges as you normally would.  Here's a closeup of the Fleur De Lis I've recently completed. 

You can achieve long impossible cuts using this technique because even though the glass may be cut in smaller pieces under the lead you cant see that (because you never actually see the glass itself).  This explains the seemingly impossible unbroken circles of lead in the upper left of this Fleur De Lis window.

It's actually a simple effect and Becky S will be using in in at least one window that she's begun cutting out this week.

Okay, so lets see what our students have accomplished starting with Martha's pair of Duck Windows.  I must say that her work has easily become some of the best we see in our classes.  Martha doesn't have a single weak spot in her repertoire of stained glass skills.  She's still a little unsure of her talents but she has nothing to worry about because her work during the past year or so has been incredible.

Brenda's Eating Disorder Awareness Window was completed this week and she also did a spectacular job all around.  The curves flow beautifully and the colors worked out wonderfully even if she was running out of black glass! Her soldering is top notch and she's able to solder at top speed since she completely understands when you can speed up and even more importantly, when to slow down.  And that's why this window was completed this week.

Betty has made a second window using her Clear Textured Fleur De Lis pattern.  This time she's used a wispy white background glass giving this window a new feel once again.  She has a third one in the works and I'm sure we'll see that one finished shortly.

Take a look at our first Rabbit Project of the week, Mary Grace's Bunny Lawn Ornament.  She's been working a lot at home lately (now that she has an official glass workshop) and she's gaining more and more skills with all of that extra practice.  Her Rabbit looks great and she's even finished it in time for Easter.

Susan's second LSU Tiger has been officially completed and is now ready for hanging.  The colors have changed from the first time she made this but that won't be the only thing that changes when she starts her third and final version of this window.   As always, this is great work from Susan!


This is Rowena's (really!) first hand mirror and she did more than a great job on it.  When she came in she had a few pieces left to cut out but by the time class was over (just 3 hours later) she had a completed hand mirror.  What a beautiful job. 

This is Linda F's Butterfly Lawn Ornament in a way you've never seen one of these butterflies before:  From the underside.   From this angle you can see the stake that will be used to anchor this to the post that Linda will drive into the ground to support it.

Becky S has begun cutting out her Spiral Window and she's decided to use leaded sections (the same as a leaded border for some of her background pieces.  We won't see that happen until the window is wrapped but since she's got the majority of this cut out I won't be surprised to see this foiled in the not too distant future.

Betty is working on a Jester of her own and by the time she left class she had it not only cut out but ground as well.  The face has been cut from the same glass that she used in her Fleur De Lis background so although you can't see it in the picture this is all cut, ground and ready to be wrapped.

Ann's Cross Transom Window has begun taking shape this week.  She's working from the inside out (as I always like to do when a window has multiple sections).  All of the cross has been cut so the center section will come together pretty quickly.  And the cross itself contains the hardest cuts in this window so Ann already has this window well under control at this point.


Carol really made progress on her Cross De Lis Window.  She began wrapping it in class and when she comes back in I have no doubt that she'll get her background cut and her border ready to be attached.  Great color and great work make this window a winner.

This one came out of nowhere to me.  When Paula walked in the door with the flowers, butterflies and most of the background tacked together I was amazed at how much she achieved while at home.  She really wanted to get both borders cut during class but doubted that it would happen.  Me, I had no doubts at all and look at what she walked out the door with--- everything is cut and ready to be ground.  More on this when Paula returns.


Charlie came in and tacked the first of his pair of Bird Of Paradise Windows together.  Once that was done he cut out his first thin border and had all but one side of it wrapped.  When he comes back in he'll tack this together and then work on his final border.  Charlie will be soldering this before you know it.


Janet's Lamp is now officially ground and she's begun wrapping all six sections.  With at least three panels done it won't be long until she solders these and then joins them together.  Her attention do detail on this is superb and I know this is going to look great when it's complete.

Linda F began working on this Rabbit Window while she was at home and when she brought it in this week the Rabbit itself was all cut and ground.  When class started she began wrapping it and then when that chore was finished she tacked it together and got the grass and the sky cut out.  Then before she left she had all but two pieces foiled.  I've no doubt that his will be completed when she comes back in and once it's all soldered and cleaned up we'll paint a face on this Rabbit and he'll also be ready in time for Easter.

Jeannette's Peacock is really filling in now.  There are just a few scant pieces left to go in its tail feathers and then she'll really be showing progress (not that she isn't already.)  Her work is wonderful and I have no doubt that this will be one of our stand out pieces when it's complete.

Linda L's Air Force Window is all ready for its background.  She got a lot completed on it this week and her work is without flaw.  This is a window that relies on straight lines to achieve it's effect and Linda nailed it.  She's also decided to completely surround this one with background but she's going to let the emblem cut into the border on all four sides to make it stand out from the background.  We'll see how that looks when she comes back in.


Bonnie has all the glass cut for her Study In Straight Lines Window and she also got a good third of it ground already. With the entire bottom section fitting together nicely and she's taken the pieces home so she can have them wrapped when she comes back in. 

Becky's Horseshoe Cross hit a slight snag but the soldering she did on the front side helped make up for lost time.  When she wanted to change the pattern and add a bevel to the center of her cross I didn't double check to make sure that it was centered and, as luck would have it, it wasn't.  But we fixed that when she came in this week so now it's just waiting for some solder on its backside before she takes it home for good when she returns.

Shelley got her Fleur De Lis completely ground and wrapped while she was in class this week.  Then she got her background glass cut out as well.  She's taken this home in the hopes of grinding it there which means that we might very well see a border added to this when she comes back in in.

Vickie's pair of Fleur De Lis Windows are so near complete that I can already see them hanging up in the sunlight.  I've said it before but I have to say it again, her soldering is up there with the very best of our longtime students.


Terry's Spiral Flower Window is really taking shape as she adds colors into the mix.  It's hard to see all of the clear glass that she has cut out already but there's a lot cut out in this window already.  She's also taken glass home so she can work on this over the weekend.  I have no clue what we'll see when she comes back in but I do know that it will be great.


Here's a look at Mary Grace's latest project, a 3D Candle Holder.   What she didn't realize is that she would have to grind this so that it fits in a jig (the same way that Janet's lamp is being ground).  It sounds like extra work but there's really nothing to it.  Whenever you make something 3D your angles must be perfect for everything to fit together.  In this case those angles are 90 degrees.

We've reached the very end and we'll wrap things up with a look at Sue's latest window.  She found the pattern on the internet, printed it out in the size she wanted and has begun cutting and grinding her glass.  The letters are all cut out and before she left she started working on the white snow that lies on the branches.  

That's it for this week. Come back and see us all again!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks