Monday, August 29, 2016

It's Shake 'n Bake, And I Helped!

Knowing Your Background

Lately we've had more than a few students assume that their background would be cut by placing the rest of their pieces on top of a sheet of glass, tracing around everything and then cutting it to fit.  This is  a practice that works fine but only in certain circumstances.  95% of the time you will cut out your background pieces  before you start soldering.   It's easy to determine when to trace around actual glass or when to use pattern pieces.   If the subject is a solid item surrounded by the background glass (like a Bevel Cluster, or a Cross, or a Fleur De Le) then we can trace it on top of a piece of glass.  In the picture below the red background pieces are easily cut from one sheet of glass because the central figure is one solid piece and easy to pick up.

If the subject has thin pieces that sprawl throughout the window then we are best cutting the background from pattern pieces and grinding everything at once.  The examples below show when you should use pattern pieces to cut the background (red areas).

Now, as always, there are always exceptions to the rule but you should always assume that you will be cutting from pattern pieces.  When a student starts a project that will be cut from one piece of glass I *always* tell them before hand.  If I've said nothing then you should cut your background from the pattern pieces and grind everything at one.  There are GREAT reasons for this and f you want to know why just ask me in class.

Sheri's Dragonfly Window is complete and already has two other students talking about it.  She did a wonderful job soldering this even though she had a bad iron to contend with. That iron has been replaced now so her next soldering job should go a lot easier for her.  She did a great job on this -- I know I'd love to receive it as a gift! 

Cindy's inspiration for this Wedding Window came from a photograph of the couple about to be married.  I told her it was impossible to make the people recognizable but she said that all she wanted was a silhouette and that's how this wonderful window came to be.  I love it!


Roxane finished her Eagle and American Flag Window and it really rocks (even though there are no rocks in this window).  This is Roxane's first project  as a full time student but her soldering skills are very impressive due to the number of weekend workshops she's done with us over the years.  She took her time moving slow and steady with her soldering iron and in the end there was very little to do when it came down to touching things up.  The window is proof positive that slow and steady always wins the race.


Jeannette finished her Heron Window and, as always, she's done a great job.  She did so much of this window while she was at home which means that I had very little to do with it.  And that's what I call a job well done.


The Chicken Body that Becky S worked on last week has been chained into it's Wind Chime Frame and now you can see exactly what she made last week (and why she didn't want people to see it outside of the framework).  It's yet another job well done by Becky who has breathed new life into this tired old chicken that was almost certainly going to the happy hunting ground.

Myrt has her see leaves cut for her mermaid window and is working on the background glass now.  She won't cut the bubbles or the Shells into the glass until all of her background is ground and fitting together.  This will ensure a perfect fit for each of the 'accent' pieces.

Look out because Rowena has started her Peacock Window!  As you can see she's started this at home and she's got a great deal of the toughest part of this window (the bottom feathers) cut out already.  I love these peacock windows and can't wait to make another one myself.  Rowena's colors look spectacular already so this will be an exquisite window when it's finished.

Charlie's American flag window is all soldered and just needs to be washed and colored.  I must say that he did a great job on this because all the pieces fit together perfectly and the flag really ripples and flows.   I know he's determined to get stars in this by painting them in place but that may be a step that he'll handle at home.  As it stands, this is beautiful work.  Look for a finished picture next week.

Cindy has her Sugar Skull well under way and also added an inner border to her Diamond shaped Fleur De Lis Window.  When she comes back in she'll get the final border on the Fleur De Lis and most likely have a lot of her skull window completed.

Paula got the top to her first box all tacked together and even got the hinge attached the the top edge.  She understands how the bottom will be put together and how the top lid will attach and still allow the top to swing open.  What we need to come up with next is how to make a secret compartment in the bottom of it.  I have no doubt that we'll figure that out when she returns. 

Jeanne's moving along on the wrapping process of her Tiger De Lis and now you can easily see how the bottom mouth section will look when she has it soldered.   Jeanne has developed a healthy respect for  small pieces and I suspect that her next window will feature larger pieces.

Barbara battled traffic jams and made it into class so she could finish the borders of her Crab Window.  The final border has been cut and wrapped which means that after a quick tack she'll be able to begin soldering this window.  


Ann's now got all of the background cut and tacked together for her Fleur De Lis Window and then she got the first border cut, ground and wrapped as well.  The strips are already cut for her second, thinner border so I suspect that she'll have all three borders cut next week.  This window is just about wrapped up! 

Bonnie has her second Cardinal all ready for its border which will be ground into place when she comes back in.  It's already cut out and just needs a little skim on the grinder to get it fit into place.  Then there's the rounded Zinc Channel which is always fun to do. 


Mary Grace has the top picture section of her Welcome Window all tacked together and only has one flower to fill in before she gets to the letter section that spells out the word WELCOME.   Text is a special situation (when the text is large like this) so we'll handle it a little differently than normal and we'll see how that's done very soon.

Linda F began work on this Pumpkin Window that someone is already itching to make.  The pattern will be back soon enough so we may very well see another one of these started before Linda even finishes her version of it.

Linda L now has all of the solder sections of her Fleur De Lis Window wrapped which means that her progress is VERY visible this week.  All of the copper sections that you see will be covered in lead once she starts tacking this together.   She's also begun tracing out her pattern pieces onto her colored glass so this is really going to begin taking shape now.

Susan R has all of her glass cut for her Summer Window and has told me that she's not a fan of small pieces or very thin text.   Something tells me we won't be seeing a 'Spring' Window anytime soon and that, like Jeanne, she'll follow this project up with something a little easier to manage at the grinder.

Martha's got a lot of her background tacked into place in her Seafood Window.  It's nearing completion now and will be done soon if I don't throw any more of her pieces on the floor!  There are only a few more pieces to go before Martha gets to solder on this window.

Well, Betty has returned and wow has she been busy.  First off, she got her Angel Window completed (but not colored or washed yet) .  She also got a lot of work done on her Kokopelli Flute Player Window as well as a beveled Fleur De Lis Window featuring a double border including bevels.   As you know, the beveled border must be assembled first so we know what the background glass measurement has to be.  In this case it was even more important since Betty also put a thin border of colored glass between the bevels and the background as well.

Carol completed her sunflower Lawn Ornament and also worked on this Bird Lawn Ornament as well.  You can see the picture that it was taken from and it's an excellent example of how you can print something out to the size you want it and then trace out the outlines of the different sections.  All we needed to do was to look up how to draw a generic bird 'foot' and we were golden.

Shelley got her Boat Window all tacked together but had left the glass that she was planning to use for her borders at home.  Rather than waste time she began soldering the front side of this window and she's doing a great job.  This pieces that form this fit together perfectly and that consistency between her pieces makes for a much easier time soldering.  I can't wait to see what colors she plans to use for her border glass when she comes back in.

Susan D got her Dragonfly soldered together and also worked on getting a bead of lead around a lot of her leaves.  Here's what she got finished this week.  This is just a preview of what's next to come from her in the weeks ahead.

Terry spent some time drawing up a Hummingbird and Flowers design that fit into an oval that will them be placed in a rectangular design.  It may sound odd but as you can see from the picture the oval section is determined to look great. 


Tasha decided that the mirror pieces she started cutting the pattern pieces for last week were a bit too small to deal with.  This week we enlarged the pattern by 20% and made some of the leaves solid pieces rather than split through the center.  The end result is a much more manageable project that Tasha is ready to sink her glass cutter into.

Jan has begun working on the first window in her pair of bookcase windows.  She's starting on the window with the cat in it first which means that she's getting the curved cuts out of the way.  The second window will involve nothing but straight cuts which will make it easy to cut but challenging to grind if a straight edge isn't used to remark her pieces as she goes (which I know she will).

And rounding things up we have Brenda who got the measurements for her Beveled window but not before she started working on this duck window (which is barely visible through all of the pattern pieces).  Even though she's got the pattern traced and the paper pattern cut out  I can't help but wonder if work will shift back over to the Beveled Transom when she comes back in next week. 

 And that about sums things up for this, our last week of classes in August.  The year is flying by quickly and before you know it Christmas items will be all you see here in our blog!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Two Snakes On a Lamb's Tail

Rinse Out Your Mop and Bucket!

Something that many people forget about while grinding glass is that the water you rinse off your glass pieces with should be clean.  It's amazing how filthy it can get just within a half hour of grinding.  I re-fill my wash basin every 45 minutes or so while I'm working.  Once you see the bottom is covered with glass it's time to dump it out and refill it.  And even more importantly, I rinse out the sponge behind my grinder head every hour or so as well.  It collects a lot of glass and once it's filled with glass particles it can't carry much water to the grinding head causing the head to wear out quickly which slows you down while you are grinding.

Okay, so Linda F finished her Stylized Calla Lily Window and had no problem at all getting everything to fit since she had ALL of her pieces cut out before she started grinding.  Cutting our background after everything else is wrapped and tacked is a hindrance unless your center subject is a a solid piece surrounded by background.  In this instance Linda handled things perfectly. 

Terry's Gladiolus Window was completed this week and it's stunning.   Oval  designs are always beautiful but they involve a special attention to detail to get those edge pieces all lined up perfectly. Since there isn't any channel surrounding an oval window any inconsistencies are front and center.  As you can see, Terry had no problems at all.

She shoots, she scores!!! Jan's Basketball Window was officially completed this week and Jan learned the joys of soldering a large window that's been wrapped with quarter inch foil.   With all the work on this behind her Jan has decided to make another window similar in size but split into  two separate windows.  The nice part is that the pattern lends itself to this design approach perfectly.  We'll see just what that is when Jan begin working on it next week.

Rowena has finished her Cross Window which is very hard to miss due to the vibrant red that she used.  Matching the border perfectly to the cross was truly the best way to go on this.

Here's a look at Carol's version of the small Peacock Window.  I've always been partial to this design and Carol's rendition of it is beautiful.

Brenda got a handful of bevels wrapped for the three piece Transom window she's working on but she still doesn't have the final measurements that these windows need to be.  We may just see Brenda starting work on something else until she gets a final size for this project.

This week we saw Bonnie cut out the background glass for her Cardinal Window.  Once that was done she got all of those pieces and ground as well.   She's currently working on wrapping all of those pieces in copper foil.  Her border is already cut out and only needs to be ground but she won't be able to do that until the center section is tacked together.

Shelley surprised me and continued working on her Boat Window.  As a group effort she and Chad have done some wonderful work on this together.  Since it is completely ground she's working on foiling it now and has taken it home to hopefully get some wrapping done during the week.

Cindy is making excellent progress on her silhouette wedding window and it's almost ready to be soldered at this point. The only thing left to do is to skim her final border pieces on the grinder and then wrap it, tack it, and do the final solder job on it.  She's also working on this familiar Fleur De Lis Window as Well and is just about ready to get borders cut for it as well.

Lara got the hair of her mermaid looking far less tangled than it did last week.Once everything fit together she  picked out some glass globs to use as bubbles in her underwater scene.  She's got them ground into place and is now wrapping this up by wrapping her pieces which means that the rest of this window should go very smoothly for her.


Jeannette worked on getting her Heron Window soldered and as of this week has the front side completed.  She hopes she can get the back side finished when she comes back in and somethings tells me that she  most surely will.

Lynn finished grinding the pieces in her Tulip Window and began foiling her pieces without being over zealous at all.  This week she learned that grinding is a series of steps involving the constant pinning and unpinning of your pieces over and over.  Once you get the basics down it's very repetitive but also very easy to fall into a groove and stick with it.

Mary Grace is busy as can be wrapping the pieces for the picture section of her Welcome Window.   She's re-designing flowers which has slowed her down a bit but so for now she will leave the flowers she doesn't like out of the window.   Once everything else is tacked together she'll draw out new petals and grind everything to fit in the empty spaces  she's left open.

Susan R just needs the background of the letter section cut out before she starts soldering this.  I've also recommended that she  tack the top section first to ensure that she maintains the straight line that dives the letters from the top umbrella and sunshine scene.

Linda L has all of the clear pieces cut and ground which will form the leaded sections of her Fleur De Lis Window.  She's also begun wrapping those pieces in foil which involves covering the top and bottom sides of the glass with foil as well as the edges.  You can see that Linda has already wrapped a few of her clear pieces already.  What you can't see is the amount of clear glass that she has already ground  and fitted together.

Jeanne's begun wrapping her tiger window which, as our frequent readers know, incorporates leaded areas just like Linda L's Fleur De Lis-- just on a smaller scale,  It's all coming together now and once this is tacked together the rest will be a piece of cake.

Ann assembled the Fleur De Lis Section of her FDL window and then worked out the borders for the rest of this window.  I hadn't realized that it was going to be as large as it is so we had to make a new pattern in order to see the new proportions of the window.  As you can see,  the background didn't quite fit on one piece of glass so after these pieces are tacked together Ann will fill in the bottom two pieces and then begin cutting and assembling her triple border.


Martha got all of her seafood window tacked together and will now begin cutting her background pieces.   Since this is a large sprawling window it's not effective to place this on top of a sheet of glass and trace around everything.  Martha will place a piece of poster board under this and trace out everything to make new background pieces.  from them she'll get her background glass cut.


Roxane is so close to finishing her Eagle and Flag Window that I can already imagine how great it's going to look.  The front side is almost completely soldered so it won't take much time at all to complete the back side.  In fact, there's a GREAT chance that we'll see this completed when Roxane returns.

Sheri continued working on her Dragonfly Window and is very close to completing it.   She's got her final border ground, wrapped and tacked and has taken it home to solder there.   I'm sure she would have gotten a lot  completed but I found her soldering iron in the shop the next day.  And as I was typing this Sheri called and asked if she could drop by and pick it up.  I guess this window will be completed next week after all.

Susan D finished another 3D Butterfly and also started working on a Dragonfly as well. This dragonfly is all ground and ready for solder so we'll most likely see that completed when she returns next week.

And Carol's latest Butterfly is as flawless as her others.   What I love most about this is that Carol assembled this in 3D all on her own. Now that she can make these in her sleep she's moving on to another 3D design-- a Sunflower Lawn Ornament.   

Myrt worked on retracing her pattern of the mermaid because she's extended it's length from the original design.   When she started this she didn't have the completed size for us to draw the window to, but she knew the mermaid would fit in it and used that part of the pattern for her central figure.  Now that she has the mermaid part completed she's made the pattern pieces for the rest of this window which she'll begin cutting when she comes back in to class.

And lastly, Becky S worked on a Chicken Body this week that was actually a repair.  To show you what she worked on would only make you wonder what she was doing because the body of the chicken was a separate stained glass entity from the rest of the bird.  Rest assured that it turned out looking a little indistinguishable (wow, that's a tough word to spell!) but wonderful nonetheless.  Next week she'll be working on a cat window.

And that's it for this week!