Monday, November 28, 2016

If The Cake Is Bad What Good Is The Frosting?

Last week we talked about placing your straight edges against each other and the sides of your glass to help save cuts.  Below is the picture I left you with showing the best way to position those particular pattern pieces. Now I'll show you how they should be cut.

The first step is to remove any extra glass that doesn't have pieces drawn on it.  Next we use a straight edge and a pistol grip cutter score the straight lines.  You may think you don't need to use a straight edge but I can guarantee that you are wrong.  STRAIGHT LINES ARE ALWAYS CUT WITH A STRAIGHT EDGE!  Always.  Were not worried about anything here but the straight cuts so we're ignoring the other shapes.  Just watch the animation and you'll see how to easily separate your pieces. Butting straight lines against each other is a pro tip that every beginner can do.

Lastly, if the edge of your glass is has been filled and you don't have any more edge to use don't draw a new straight line by stacking pieces next to each other and eyeballing it.  Instead, cut the glass with your pistol grip (and a straight edge) to make a new edge on the glass.


Myrt made excellent progress on her Octagon Cross Window-- it's finished!  Everyone in class went round and round trying to pick out a good border color and in the end the only thing that really worked was the same glass that the cross was cut from.  It's a perfect fit and an inspirational window that Myrt did great work on.

Carol has completed her Detroit Lions lamp and the silver lead lines work wonderfully matching the silver base that it rests on.  I was very impressed with Carol's soldering on the right angle edges because that's always a problematic area for students.  Carol's proved that she's ready to tackle any lamp she wants to make from here on out.

Brenda's Cross and Wine Window was finished this week and the pattern is very popular with all the other students.  There was a small break in one of the border pieces that upset Brenda but it's fixed and no one will ever know that there was a problem.  Why? Because it has been nipped in the bud!

And this Kokopelli Window was completed by Shelley this week and it's a winner.  This one is a little larger than the one that we saw a few months back  but only by about two inches.   Great soldering and carefully ground pieces make the two colors in this window really reach out and grab you.

Susan D made this wonderful 3D Christmas Decoration all by herself.  She even drew the pattern itself which is the first step to understanding that if you tell yourself you can't do something you never will.  This is beautiful!

Susan R completed her Two Drum Suncatchers as well as her pair of Christmas Stockings this week.  I've seen stockings before but these are the first drums that we've seen made in class and they are perfect.  I'll get to enjoy them for another week because I found them sitting on the table long after Susan left class.  :-)

Barbara H's second Bevel Candle Holder is completed and it turned out just as nice as her first one did.  She gets bonus points for getting her four edge lines looking so wonderful because, as I've stated before,  those angled lines can be difficult to solder.

Terry's Christmas Bells are almost complete and boy did she ever catch onto the texturing process quickly.  This is a beautiful Christmas pattern and her work on it only makes it better.  She planned on finishing the back side of this while she was at home but I really hope we get a finished picture of this because I love the design.

Bonnie's Traditional Geometric Window was cut and ground this week and she's begun wrapping all of the pieces now.   That means that she'll most likely get her border attached when we next see this window.   Soldering should go easily on this design so the end is very near.  Great colors and great work are a hallmark of Bonnie's windows.

Jeannette's Minnie Mouse Window has its front side soldered and is all ready to be flipped over and soldered on  the back side  The wire  accents  will take a little time but next week will certainly see the soldering on this being completed.

Susan R also worked on two Christmas Wreath Suncathers and they're another pattern that I haven't seen done in a long,long time.   They're even nicer than I remembered and I think they'll be very popular with the other students. 

Jan's Bookcase Window is almost completely wrapped now which means that if she can just get through about 4 more books she'll be able to tack this together and get some channel on it.

This week we watched Sheri move along to the next major step of her Peacock Window.  With all of the peacock cut, ground, wrapped and tacked together she's placed it on top of a piece of glue chip glass, traced around it and has drawn all of the grid work onto the clear glass.  By cutting the straight lines first she can ensure a perfect fit to a window that's already as perfect as could be.

Ann has the centerpiece of her Cross window all tacked together now and will square it off and start adding her borders when she returns.

Martha was as busy as she could be and managed to walk out of class with most of her suncatchers ground.  She also managed to cut and grind  a new multi-piece Christmas tree (seen on the right) as well.


Becky S resumed the work on wrapping all of her flower pieces and things are really coming together nicely.  You can really see the details where she has foiled the glass as it allows you to see all of the cuts.

Linda L's Fleur De Lis Is so close to being completed.  There was a minor SNAFU when Linda inadvertently smoothed out some of the texturing that she had completed on the front side by keeping her soldering iron a little too long  on the back side.  Luckily that's easily being fixed.  Oh man, this is soooo close now!

Cindy came in and finished wrapping all of the pieces on her cross suncatcher which means that she'll be able to start soldering this when we see her again.  Consider this finished!

Susan D is making two large Christmas Trees and was busy cutting the holes into the glass where the 'glob' ornaments will reside in.    She's got a nice variety of colors and she's picked globs that are very circular which is something that is often overlooked but so very important.  It looks like Susan will be soldering these before you know it.

Rowenna has finished soldering the front side of her Peacock Window and has flipped it over and started soldering all over again.   I can't say for sure but I think that this side is in fact  moving quicker for her.   I'm calling it--this will be hanging in her house in time for Christmas!

Betty has all of the Fleur De Lis portion of her window cut out along with the pieces of glass which will become the wide leaded sections.  She's grinding her pieces now and the window is moving along nicely.  Sadly, I seem to have not taken a picture of it before she left.  :-(  I promise to show you exactly what it looks like when she returns next week though.

And there you have it.  For the record there are only 3 more classes until Christmas gets here so if any students plan on working on something they haven't started they should start the projects this coming week!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, November 21, 2016

Just a Small Brown Squirrel, Living in a Lonely World

Before we look at the work that was accomplished this week I'd like to quickly go over the rules of tracing out your pattern pieces onto your glass.  Most times I see students laying out pieces as shown in the picture below which is fine but also very wasteful.  It doesn't matter of you're a great cutter or a bad cutter, you only need a half inch (at MOST) of space between each of your pieces.  If the glass is going to break, it's going to break no matter how close your lines are to each other so you might as well conserve glass.   Also remember to butt straight edges against the straight edges of the glass.  Why waste time cutting four sides of a square when you can cut it out in just three cuts.  You can also butt straight cuts against each other as long as you plan on a way to get your cutter through them.  (more on that in a week or two).  If you have a lot of straight edges pieces draw a straight line across your glass with a straight edge and then line your pieces up to the line you've drawn.

Here are the same 10 pieces placed in their best possible positions on the glass.   As you can see we've managed to save half of the glass for anoher project.   Now think about how you would break up those 5 pieces made up entirely of straight lines.   Think about what your first cut would be and continue until you get to your last cut.  You can easily get all of those straight pieces separated in just 9 cuts whereas in the first example it would take 19(!) cuts.  Can you see how it's done?  Here's a starting tip:  USE A PISTOL GRIP CUTTER ALONG WITH A STRAIGHT EDGE!   Never try to cut straight lines by hand unless you want ragged lines.  Come back next week and I'll show you how easy it is to break this down.

So then, our first completed project of the week comes from Terry who has re-made a Santa Face that she made last year.  Although it's hard to see in the picture, Terry has only colored the lead lines that form Santa's glasses and those lines have been done in black patina which she applied with a Que-tip.  After it sat for 45 minutes she carefully cleaned up the excess patina with a damp sponge and then cleaned away any unwanted black with a small piece of steel wool.  The end result is striking and has me ready for Christmas!

We also have two more pumpkin windows that were completed this week.   Isn't it amazing what difference colors can do to a pattern?  The clear one on the upper left was made by Mary Grace while the brown one on  the lower right was completed by Betty.   Both windows are made from what would be considered 'Fall' colors yet they look completely different.  Amazing.

This week we also take a look at the newest Industrial Fleur De Lis that we have under construction.  This one is being made by Betty and will hang in the direction that you see pictured.  One of the nice things about this Fleur De Lis is that the angular, close-up view allows you to hang it any way you want be it a portrait or a landscape view.

Bonnie has officially cut all of the glass for her Geometric Design Window and is moving along quickly with the grinding of it.  Before you know it this will be completed and out the door but before that happens we will be adding a border to it.

Roxane has moved along seamlessly to her next project and it's an Address Window. On just her first class into this she's already got the numbers and the white background cut out and  almost completely ground.  I going to say she finishes this in just two more classes!


Becky S has all of her flowers ground and fitted with each other in complete perfection.  She's begun wrapping these pieces and pretty soon we're going to see the background get cut for this beautiful window.


Myrt came in and finished wrapping the pieces of her purple Cross.  Once she tacked that together she cut and octagon out of Glue Chip Glass and then traced the cross onto the center of it.  Once she cut the background in to four sections she was able to remove the 8 pieces of glass where the cross will rest for a perfect fit.   Her border has already been cut and now all she needs to do it wrap and solder!


Lara's African Woman is so close to completion.   Her background has been cut from a clear but heavily textured reeded glass that works wonderfully with this design.   Lara will certainly be adding borders when she comes back in after the holiday and I can't wait to see what she decided to do with them.


Paula has been busy working on boxes and the fruits of her labor are ever so apparent this week now that she's begun making the bottoms for all of them.  She's going to begin work on one last top and then she'll wrap these all up (literally).


Susan R has also been very, very busy this week.  She's managed to cut out, grind, wrap and even tack together these Christmas Drums and Stockings.   Look for a completed picture when we return next week.  This is wonderful work here.

Linda F's Autumn Leaves Window is all cut out and she's done something a little different with it by reversing the normal flow of colors in her double borders.  We almost always use a thin colored inner border and then go back to clear for the last border, but Linda went the other way around.  There's no right or wrong to it but I normally wouldn't have thought to switch things up since I'm a creature of habit.  In this particular case the clear thin border contrasts beautifully with the busy Fractures And Streamers background.   Finishing it off with a nice Autumn-like yellow-orange border is perfect!

Then Mary Grace surprised us all with her Squares in Squares Beveled window that she worked on at home.  The toughest cuts to make in stained glass are straight lines, and by staggering perfectly cut bevels Mary Grace had to be right on the money for all the the hand cut 2x2 squares that she made.  And she did it.  Not only did she do it, but she did it perfectly.   I'm impressed. 

Jeanne now has all of her glass attached to her Tiger De Lis and has begun working on putting some texture on her large soldered pieces.  The fun part of texturing is discovering what effect you like best.  It always takes a little time and there's more than a fare share of stumbling about while trying to discover your groove but Jeanne found hers and she's sticking with it now.  

Martha is busy as can be as well, she's currently making a number of suncatchers to use a door prizes.  She's got 11 pieces planned and 9 of them are already well underway (if not cut out completely already).   I have no doubt that Martha will be finishing these before we know it.

Linda L's Fleur De Lis is so close to completion that I can already feel the sting of Patina in the cuts on my fingers!  This is the back side of her piece and as you can see she's been busy texturing her lead.   With just a few lead lines to go this will most likely be completed two weeks from now.  Linda already has her next pattern picked out so you know she's ready to hang this, sit back, and marvel at a job more than well done.

Ann started wrapping her Cross pieces this week and she's made major headway in this part of the building process.  I have little doubt that she'll be tacking this together shortly.  Once that's done she'll square it off and then start adding her three borders.

Tasha's Vanity Mirror is now just about completed.  With the mirror cut and two of her three flower sections attached to it all that's left to be done is to attach the bottom shelf.  Once the shelf is attached the front flower set will be soldered along the front edge and then there's only two feet to add to the back to make sure this can't tip backwards.  It's looking great already and it will be completed when Tasha returns for sure.

Terry's latest project is almost ready to be soldered.   She's one of four students who are using  foiled glass sections in their projects.   In this Christmas Bell Window Terry will be completely covering the three bands of the bells and the clappers in lead.  It's going to look wonderful when it's completed and I'm thinking that could happen when Terry returns next week. 

Carol's instantly identifiable Lion's Lamp underwent a lot of soldering this week.   Once the four panels were joined she tinned the square brass cap and got it attached to the top which shored up the lamp incredibly.  We've  added brass channel to the four bottom straight edges and this lamp will surely be completed when we see it next.   With only four lines left to solder and a few touch ups it just has to happen.

The front side of Rowena's Peacock is now completely soldered and when she comes back in  she'll begin working on the back side.  The second side of this will most likely solder easier than the front mostly because there's no solder to re-melt on it.  We'll see what happens when Rowena returns.

Susan D worked on grinding the two Christmas Trees that she cut out last week and now you can see exactly how the Star she's added fits atop the tree.  I must say that it's a nice addition.  I also think that once these are wrapped Susan will have no problem soldering them in record time.

Somehow I didn't get a picture if Sheri's Peacock this week.  I'd swear I did but the images weren't on the camera or the camera card.   All of her flowers are cut and ground now (even though you can't see them in this picture) and Sheri is just about set to start cutting out her background glass.  Perhaps the missing picture is with her missing piece of glass.   Odd things have been happening in the shop-- maybe it's the Ghost of Christmas Past!

Jan's second Bookcase window officially looks like a bookcase now that its all ground and fitting together.   Jan will begin wrapping pieces when she comes back in and with a little luck she'll get this tacked together as well.  Once that's done this window will be next to completed.  there are 30 books in this window and I think I've read 10 of them.

And Cindy is ready to wrap and solder her Cross Suncatcher.  All the pieces have been ground  perfectly as is evident when you look at the center red and green section.  Deviations would show up instantly here but it's all perfect. Once this is completed you'll be able to see all of the white and clear sections much better because it will no longer be resting on top of white paper.

That about wraps things up this week but before we go we'd like to wish all of our readers out there a very happy Thanksgiving. We'll return in one weeks time-- see you then!


Monday, November 14, 2016

The Inadequacies Of Traditional Imagery

Staggering Beauty

Students sometimes want to take the easy way out to do things and that includes cutting out one large  piece of glass and then breaking it into its respective pieces.  Doing things this way allows you to practically eliminate the grinding process, but there ARE draw backs to this method.   The following pumpkin was traced out by drawing the round pumpkin and then splitting it into five separate pieces.  The end result is perfectly acceptable but you can easily see how the grain of the glass follows through perfectly into each connecting piece.  If this is acceptable to you there is nothing wrong with making the pumpkin this way.  Truth be told, it's a subtle effect but it IS noticeable when you know what to look for.

Next we have the same pumpkin but the seven pieces were placed on specific locations of the orange glass.  Yes, it does take a little longer to grind the pieces and fit them together (less than a minute total if you cut off the line as you cut you glass pieces) but I feel that the end result is worth the extra minute.
In the picture above each piece of the pumpkin is distinct from its neighboring piece and I made sure that the area behind the stem was dark orange to suggest shadowing.  I also positioned the top rounded part of the stem on the darkest piece of the green that I could find while the rest of the stem was cut from a lighter section.  Yes, the differences are subtle but by thinking out the positioning your pattern pieces you can achieve a nicer more natural effect in anything that you make.   It's a difference that can be hard to put your finger on but most people will prefer the second Pumpkin when given a choice between the two-- It's just more vibrant.

There were times when Roxane asked if she could cut out the feathers in her Mallard window in one chunk and then just separate them, but I suggested that she not do it.   Now her Mallard Window is out the door and flying ever so gracefully.   Roxane's work has been top notch every step of the way on this window and she should be proud of the piece of art that she's created.  What a great job!  What's next for her?  I believe it's house numbers.

Susan R completed two beautiful snow covered Christmas tree Suncatchers in plenty of time for the Christmas season.  I have no doubt that we'll be seeing more trees in the weeks to come.  Also, it's been a while since I've seen snow and I have to say that this is my favorite kind-- the snow you don't have to shovel!

Barbara completed her second beveled box this week leaving her with a few beveled candle holders left to go before she leaves the world of boxes and candle holders.   These are fun and look spectacular but they can be time consuming and a little bit stressful until you know your way around assembling them.


Brenda continued working on her Beveled Transom Window but also got a border cut for her variation of the Wine, Bread and Cross Window.   I also just noticed that she's made the cross 3D.   Nice!

Jeannette has made incredible progress on her Minnie Mouse Window.   With everything now cut and ground she's begun wrapping all of her pieces and will start soldering it shortly.   She wanted it finished in time for Christmas and she'll certainly make it with plenty of time to spare.  There IS a lot of wire work to be done on this window but we'll get to that after everything is soldered, both front and back.


Although it was just started only last week, Terry has this nice large Santa Claus Window just about completed already.   What you're looking at is the back side of this window and since she was able to completely solder the front and get channel on it in just one class I'm sure that she'll be finishing this up when she returns next week

Carol now has the majority of her work done on her Lions Panel Lamp. Her grid lines are a little hard to see but once this is tacked together you'll discover that there is far more to these panels than meets the eye at this stage of its creation.  I don't think Carol has much more work to go on this project.

Linda F continued working on her Autumn Leaves window and is nearing completion on it.   She got everything wrapped and tacked together before she called it a day so there's only the double borders left to go on this before she can start the actual soldering process.  That really is THE perfect background glass for this design.

Lynn M  worked on cutting out all of her background pieces and was ready to start grinding when she noticed the time.  Class on Thursday night just flew by most likely because everyone was keeping VERY busy.   I have a funny feeling it will be the same way next week since we're getting close to finishing off a great number of pieces in that class.

Sheri was faced with a dilemma when we saw her last- keep the orange feathers or change them to green.   After getting input from numerous sources she's decided to keep the accent feathers orange.  While she was in class she ground the remaining pieces and then began foiling.  She's also got her flower colors picked out and will begin cutting them when we see her again.

Shelley got almost all of her Kokopelli Indian window ground and wrapped this week which means that she was VERY busy.   All that's left is for her to skim those black border pieces and attach them so she can begin the soldering process on this project.

Ann now has all of the oval section of her cross window completed and will start wrapping this when she returns.  Her cutting and grinding abilities have really grown because she now completes large scale windows in the same time that it takes other students to make a standard sized window.  

Lara continued grinding her African Woman Window (actually, her ethnicity is a bit up in the air) and by the end of the class had all but the background glass ground.  She'll begin wrapping this and then when it's tacked together Lara will pick out the glass she wants to use for her background and border(s).   With only four pieces of glass making up the background I'm sure that Lara will managed to get some border cut for this as well.

Cindy continued working on her large Cross Suncatcher and is nearing completion on it.  I'm not sure what's next for Cindy but I suspect we'll find out when she returns to class next week.

Bonnie's glass didn't arrive in time for her to cut the colored center sections but she was still able to cut out her background glass and then begin grinding from one of the corners towards the center of the window.  It's moving right along and the glass she's waiting for is in the shop now.

Mary Grace finished her Pumpkin Window but while she was cleaning it up she found a large crack in the border that needs to be repaired.  Since she didn't bring any of the glass with her she moved on to making this Beveled 'A' Window.   She got the red background circle section all cut, ground and tacked together and will square it off with a secondary background and then finish it all off with a border.  Be sure to come back next week to see her Pumpkin Window.

Myrt started a new window this week and it will be built around this cross which she got cut and ground.  She'll be placing this cross into the center of an octagon panel which we'll see take shape when she returns next week.

Rowena has officially finished cutting out all of the glass glass for her Peacock Window.  With all of her border firmly attached she was finally able to sit down and start the actual soldering process.   This window is going to take a lot of solder to complete but wait until this is finished and hanging up-- it will be spectacular.

Linda L has the front of her Fleur De Lis Window almost completely soldered now.   Although the process of 'roughing up the lead' is simple, it is time consuming.  And if you change your method midway through the process, or start to get impatient you may find that the look of the rough solder lines don't match anymore.   Nonetheless, Linda's got this window looking great.

Susan D Started working on a Christmas tree of her own and made fast work of getting it all cut out.  Once this is ground and fitting together she'll decide where to put her red ornaments and then cut them into place for a perfect fit.  The big change in this is the fact that Susan will add a star to the top of this tree which is why it deviates from the pattern at the top of the tree.

Carol is easily bored so she put together this Butterfly Lawn Ornament in while also working on her Lions Panel Lamp.   Can anyone say the word, 'Multi-Task'?  'cause Carol can!

Paula was busy working out the details of putting together box bottoms and even though it's a complex deal she managed just fine.  Once you do three or four of them you start worrying less about whether you're screwing things up or not.  And once you get that fear out of your head the box bottoms practically build themselves.  She told me she was going to leave the boxes in the shop so I didn't take a picture of them at the time thinking that I'd grab a picture the following day but these were the only boxes I could find. ;-)

And again, Becky S got away without my getting a picture of her window.   This only serves to prove that I really have to keep an eye on Becky and Paula every single minute!  ;-)

So that about does it for this installment of our Blog.  See you soon!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks