Monday, June 27, 2016

Elves Below!

This week we start things off by stressing how important it is to take your time while cutting your glass.  Many students still believe that cutting is of little consequence since the grinder can 'fix' things.  While this is true it's also the least efficient way to cut glass.   Grinding is a long and tedious process that takes up far more time than simply cutting correctly in the first place.   Remember to keep your cutting wheel either ON THE LINE or just inside of it and to move SLOWLY and evenly (with SLOWLY being the key word).  I can't stress this enough.  You can see below that no pattern line has been left behind on the yellow pieces that I've cut out and stacked together.  It took me about 15 minutes to cut out 28 of these curves and believe it or not you are looking at all 28 of these pieces stacked in front of one another.

Here are the same pieces of glass viewed with the camera raised so you can see that there are indeed pieces stacked in a row here.

Again, the same pieces with the camera showing you an almost top down view of the 28 pieces.

If your glass isn't cut correctly I can guarantee that you will spend FAR more time at the grinder than you should.  I only briefly skimmed these curves to get everything to fit together perfectly and I did it in less than 15 minutes.  That means that in just under a half hour I had all 28 pieces cut, ground and fitting together perfectly.   The only trick was keeping my cutter on the inside of the line I had drawn onto the glass.  You can do this as well if you remember to take your time and focus on cutting accurately.  Haste makes waste!

So Bonnie completed her first Cardinal Window and it looks stunning.  The brown/amber border is a perfect fit for this earth toned window and compliments it without stealing the focus away from the red Cardinal itself.  As for the circular border that gives so many people trouble, well, Bonnie handled it without any problem.   If you don't fear something going into it, you tend to get through it faster and easier.

Tasha finished her Fleur De Lis Window this week and did a wonderful job soldering it.  She got worried when she was trying to solder the back side without enough flux on it but once we addressed that problem things went smoothly (literally).  She had wrapped her clear pieces in Silver backed foil so I assumed that she would leave it silver but at the end of the day Tasha decided to color the lead copper and will actually go through that process when she returns next week.

Susan R got her first oversized Flowerpot Suncatcher completed and it's a winner.   She's altered the pattern to give the flower more petals and now understands  that patterns need not be carved in stone.  A great job all around and she's got one more on the way that's almost completed as well.


Barbara finished all of the grinding on her Heron Window and it looks great.  There was a small incident with one of her long leaves breaking in half but we're repairing it in an efficient manor that we will discuss as our tip of the week in next weeks post.  Always remember that patterns can easily be changed.

Cindy continued working on her 'smaller than a window but larger than a suncatcher'  Geometric Design and told us that she's signed up to do a show in November.  That means that Cindy will be working on a lot of smaller items over the next few months (since that's what sells best at shows).

Sheri began working on a new window this week that she's making for her son (who is a chef). She started cutting all of the pieces for her Pig Window on Tuesday and walked out of class with only a few of the black pieces left to cut.   She took it all home with her and then came back in for an extra class on Thursday, got the remaining pieces all cut out and even started grinding a good portion of it. I must say that this is fitting together  wonderfully because Sheri completely understands the 'grind from the opposing piece' strategy of grinding.

Jeannette has the first of two cabinet door inserts almost completed already.  She's using all clear glass and decided to go the full nine yards and use bevels for her inner border.  Because bevels only come in set sizes we've had to alter the pattern slightly to accommodate for them but it was a very easy change to make.  These inserts will certainly make her doors come to life.


Jan resumed work on her Basketball and Net Window which has now entered the grinding phase of its creation process.  Jan took her time to carefully cut within the lines of the pieces that form the net so grinding should go nice and easy for her.  This window is larger than you might think being over three feet tall.  Because of that length this window will require a zinc channel to give it some added strength and stability.

Mary Grace did wonderful work on her Watering Can and Flowers Window.  She's used the back of the glass to incorporate the straight lines into the design which gives her watering can a nice, realistic sense off depth.  I honestly wouldn't have thought to do that so kudos to Mary Grace for a GREAT idea!

Jeanne has begun cutting the dark amber glass of her Tiger De Lis Window and is grinding her pieces as she goes.  The 'pieces in between' will all be covered in lead and I think this is going to look awesome when it's completed. 

Lara wrapped the remaining pieces of her Poppy Window and then set upon tacking  all of those pieces together.  Once that was completed she got her border strips cut to size, skimmed them and took them home to wrap.  There's a solder job in this windows immediate future and that will start when we see Lara again next week.

Becky S got the remaining soldering completed on her large spiraling Window and even got the zinc channel attached and mostly coated with lead as well.   With only the extreme outer edge of the channel left to texture over with solder, this window will be cleaned up and colored next week for sure.

Becky B got her Irises and Dragonfly Window almost completely wrapped this week which means that this will be tacked together shortly.  She's concerned about spaces throughout this window but everything is proportionally spaced which means that when this is tacked together there won't be any problem at all.  I know she has her doubts but sometimes seeing is believing.

Linda L escaped with her Wine Bottle Window last week before I could get a picture of it so she was inadvertently left out of our last post.  This week I made sure I got a picture and just look at how far she's moved along in just two short weeks!  She'll be incorporating five actual  wine bottles into this window and you're going to love it when you see it all come together.  Aren't those  fancy globs that she's used for the grapes wonderful?

Rowena added a pair of borders to her Classic Humming Bird and Flowers Window with the color choices being based on a window that she had completed when she first started classes with us.  Rowena, like myself, believes that a double border adds a lot to a window and it's becoming a signature look for almost anything that she makes.  Soldering on this will most certainly commence while she's at home during the week.

Lynn wrapped all of the background pieces in her beveled Fleur De Lis Window with silver backed foil (which is a bit of a chore on it's own since silver backed foil rarely wants to stick on glass)  and then followed her daughters lead and tacked her pieces together as well.  She's picked a grey glass for her thin, accent border and already has them cut, skimmed and ready for foil.

Susan D has all of her leaves cut out now and just look at that line up.  She also  got two more flowers cut and ground as well which leads me to believe that this will be one very bountiful Flower Cornucopia when it's completed.


Then there's Martha who has only one crawfish left to go in her Seafood Window and then it's background for her.  I'd recommend wrapping all of the pieces first to help minimize the problem of expansion that the foil on these pieces will introduce to the window.  If these are wrapped before she cuts her background she'll only need to grind things one more time without having to worry about things growing due to the foil that will be added to each piece of glass.

Brenda got her Redfish Window all wrapped and tacked together which then allowed her to cut out the two missing pieces of leaves that were altered from the original pattern. Once all the pieces were filled in Brenda picked out a color for her border and got that cut into strips and pieces.   These will be tacked on when she returns and then she'll begin soldering.

Terry got the first border cut for the top half of her Spiraling Flowers Window and will attach that when she comes back in next week.  Once that's attached we'll add the final, larger border and then the zinc channel.  Since she already has to center flower section soldered she'll be working on the back side of this before you know it.

Shelley has the background for her Duck Head Window all cut and ground and she now says, "No more duck heads"!  She's ready to add a border to this so the hard work is all behind her now.  Perhaps by the time this is completed she'll mellow out about making another one (but I wouldn't hold my breath on that).

Myrt has her Cardinal all ready for soldering and has used a beautiful purple waterglass for the border.  It may look dark while it's resting on the table but when this lights up it's a nice light, vibrant color.  The great news is that we just learned that Spectrum Glass doesn't make this glass-- they only distribute it.  That means that waterglass will NOT be disappearing at the end of July.

Bonnie also began work on this Butterfly Lawn Ornament and has the wing pieces all cut and ground.  She's taken it home to wrap and will certainly complete this when she returns since it's only got three pieces left to go.   After this is finished she may very well begin working on her female version of the Cardinal Window.

Charlie worked on an American Flag Pattern by tracing over an image that he found on the internet after printing it out to the size that he wants to make this window.  The finished pattern is beautiful and since he actually put the pen down to the paper it's all his.  There are a lot of stripes in this design but the curves are all very graceful making the cuts simple enough to do in one pass.  If he moves at a slow and steady pace while cutting on his lines he'll have this fitting together nicely before it gets it to the grinder.

And that about wraps things up this week!  Wow, have we been busy in the shop-- between all the work that the students have been accomplishing  and my work on the latest Church Windows the place is certainly hopping.  Look for more pictures when we return in a week.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Breaking Pins

Our Tip Of The Week deals with cutting glass for skies and learning how to keep the flow of the glass intact when split between pieces.  In Paula's New Orleans Window a good third of the glass that she purchased for her sky was 'wasted' when she cut all of her pieces in a row allowing for the cloud pattern to be consistent even between the small wooden railings of the top balcony.  The only problem with cutting glass like this is that it doesn't allow you to position you pieces efficiently.  There always seems to be a trade off between form and practicality.

In Betty's Pelican Window she was able to piece together her sky in two separate sections since the wing of the bird split the sky into different sections.   As long as the color balance between the sections matched, the sky would appear to be seamless.  Could it be THAT easy though?  Of course not.  The upper right corner had to be split due to the length of the window so now the smallest corner of her sky now had a hole in it.

Sliding the leftover scraps of glass into the missing piece gave us a bad match.  The color density wasn't the same and cutting it from this scrap would be a huge distraction to the rest of the window.  Even though it's the same glass, it just won't do.

We moved along to another piece of scrap glass that matched the color balance perfectly and we could have been happy with just that but then we went one step further for a nearly seamless fit.
What we did to create the illusion that the two pieces of glass were one and the same was to position it soat least one part of the grain match to the piece next to it.  We simply took the darkest blue line (to the left of the split) and made sure that it carried through into the replacement piece (see the circled section in the picture below).  Now, when this window is completed, you'll never suspect that the sky was pieced together!

Remember that just pattern placement is an important part of making your window 'flow'.  The grain of your glass is a subtle yet noticable part of any project that you make.

First up on our completed projects this week is the Beach Scene Window that Mary Grace made.  Aren't the colors alone stunning?  Everyone loves the orange sky which is a nice change from the standard blue that we see so often, but to be fair, an orange sky doesn't really work with most windows---but it certainly does with this one.

And Sheri's Crab Window is not only completed but is her current masterpiece as well. Sheri's catching on quickly because the soldering done on this window is better than soldering you see on windows that are sold in stores.  Slow and steady always makes a smooth solder bead and Sheri has proved it with this Crab Window.  The subtle differences between the three shades of green that she used are a highlight to this design.  And even though clear glass is used more than anything else this comes across as a green window with a splash of blue.

Next up is Jan's Circular Bird in Tree Window which looks every bit as great as I thought it would.  And I have no doubt that we'll be seeing this made again.  What a wonderful use of  circular globs and a perfect blend of colors.  Then there's the wire spiral for the wing which is just perfect.

Mary Grace also came in with a beveled box top wrapped and ready to be soldered together.  Once she accomplished that she put together the four sides of her box and cut a piece of Blue Mirrored Van Gogh glass for the bottom.  After both the top and bottom of the box were washed and colored she learned how to attach the hinge and finish this beautiful project.

Jeannette finished her Religious Themed Window just in time for its presentation this weekend.  She did an incredible job on this especially when you consider that it was done in just one week.  There's no doubt that this gift will be greatly appreciated.

Cindy completed her Birds On A Wire Window and it turned out every bit as beautiful as the last one she made.  This is always a head turner and we already have one student wishing she could see the actual piece.


Susan R. completed her Birdhouse window and all I can say is that it's another job well done.  If it looks like a birdhouse you know she's done the job correctly and this certainly looks like a birdhouse to me.  Susan has been making a lot of these oversized suncatchers and they really do have a level of detail all of their own.

So after her missing sky piece was matched and tacked into place, Betty began working on getting her double borders assembled.  She went with a thin inner border of orange and a thicker, darker blue outer border.  Once they were tacked into place we cut and soldered the final Zinc Channel around the outside edge of the window.  That means that Betty is ready to begin soldering this Pelican.

Ann began her Acadian Flag Window by cutting out the central figures inserts that make the three distinct sections of this window.  In one night she got her Star, Castle and three mini Fleur De Lis' cut and ground.  Once these are tacked together she'll cut the backgrounds and then have this all assembled.  Ann moves quickly and efficiently these days, that's for sure!

Cindy also started working on an old favorite of hers that I think she originally made right around the time that she made her first Birds On A Wire project.   This flowing Geometric window always looks great and it's perfect for Cindy because she loves to work with small piece of glass.  

Let me just state for the record that Paula's done  amazing work on her New Orleans Window.  The hardest  parts of this project are well behind her now and it's just about ready for its  borders.  Paula's already picked the glass for the clear windows but her border(s) can easily be attached before those are cut out.   As I mentioned in the first paragraph of this update, pay particular attention to the sky which flows seamlessly across the top of window.  Had she just thrown the pattern pieces onto a blue instantly grab your attention and be very distracting.  Thankfully, that's not the case here.


Jan began working on this large Basketball Window this week and has nothing but background left to cut.  The net on the bottom of the window is formed out of the lead lines that separate the glass and Jan has all of those pieces traced out already.  You can even see them (numbered) on the right side of the picture.

Rowena started a Humming Bird and Flower Vine Window that we haven't seen made in years.  This is a standard stained glass design and it's great to see it re-surface again.  Although Rowena's only been working on this for a week she has the majority of it cut out already with only the background left to go.  She's already got everything but the background glass ground and fitted into place so the rest of this should go quickly for her.

Lynn M came in and started working on her first real window with us.  She's making a beveled Fleur De Lis with a double border and already has the background all cut out and ground.  I'm sure we'll see at least one border attached to this when she comes back in because Lynn has caught on quickly!

Tasha and Charlie combined forces this week and worked together on the Fleur De Lis window that Tasha was working on last week.  Charlie was going to start work on an American Flag but discovered that sometimes small changes to a pattern are not as small as you initially believe they will be.  He'll be soldering this FDL at home so there's a good chance this will be among our completed projects next week.


Susan R started a large Flower Pot suncatcher and the glass she's chosen for each part of it is picture perfect.  Her cutting and grinding are both spot-on and Susan has mastered the art of using a previous piece to make grind lines on secondary pieces. Looking at the picture it would appear that Susan will be making two of these large suncatchers.  More details will surely emerge when we return.

Next, Brenda has her Redfish Window all wrapped and will tack it together when she comes back in.  Once that's done she'll cut out two missing pieces and then be able to add a border to this window.

And Martha's Seafood Window is moving along swimmingly just like the work is on her pool at home.  Martha's got just two crawfish to cut out before she begins working on her background glass.

Susan D has one, two, three, four, FIVE(!) more living items all cut out,ground, and ready to be  wrapped.    This week she concentrated on Flowers and will be ready to move onto the nice, simple leaves soon enough.


Myrt is officially ready  for the background to be added to her latest Cardinal Window.  Once this is completed she'll have just one more to go (I think).

Becky S has completed  soldering the first side of her large Spiral Window and has flipped it over to begin working on the second side.  She's about halfway through the soldering on this side and the picture below nicely illustrates what the copper covered pieces look like both before and after the solder is applied.  The side on the right is soldered while the left side is not.

Terry's begun tacking her second Spiral Flowers Window and will begin adding borders to it when she comes back in.  I think Terry is looking forward to moving on to smaller items after this is completed and I can completely relate to that (since all I've been working on is larger windows myself).

Bonnie is just about ready to wrap this Cardinal Window up.  This week we saw her solder the front side of her window, get the zinc channel attached, and replace a broken piece of the background glass.  We knew the piece was broken but until the window was securely soldered we weren't able to hang it over the edge of the table to knock out the offending piece.  Sometimes you need to exercise a little patience before you can fix a problem, but that's all handled now.

Then there's Shelly's who has her Duck Head completely under control.  She's begun wrapping the pieces so she can tack the central figure together and then add her four background pieces and border.

And to wrap things up we'll take a look at three Butterfly Lawn Ornaments that were completed by Jeannette, Linda L, and Rowena and which are pictured in that same order.  These are so popular now that I couldn't ban making them if I tried!

Well, I can't believe it but according to GOOGLE we've had over 40 thousand hits on this little weekly Blog that we put out.  That's a lot of people dropping by here each week and I certainly appreciate everyone who takes the time to read or even just glance through any of this.  It makes the time it takes to put this together well worth it.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks