Monday, July 31, 2017

A Plateau Is The Highest Form Of Flattery

Grain direction causes more panic amongst our students than any other part of stained glass.   People fret so much about it that they make things far harder than they need to be.   Most of it is plain common sense but there's one area that IS somewhat tricky and that is figuring out the direction of the grain on a flower or piece of cloth that has flipped over to reveal the opposite side.   In the picture below we can see the underside of the flower petal around its edge.  How do we determine how the grain should go?

When in doubt trace out a rough drawing onto a piece of paper-- it doesn't have to be exact.   Mark the grain as you would normally mark it on both the front and the back of the piece of paper.   Then just simply fold the paper pattern the way the flipped edge of the petal is flipped.  The grain line on the under side of the paper pattern will now be on top and you can see how the ideal grain line should run.

Just remember that Stained Glass is about art not realism.   If the grain lines on the above example matched up perfectly I would twist the flip slightly to give the piece more contrast from the top of the petal.  It may not be 100% correct but art is all about appealing to the eye, more so than the brain.

Well now, we have a lot of completed projects this week so let's jump right on in with Tracey's Cardinal Window.   Double borders always set a window off nicely and Tracey picked a perfect color for her thin inner border.  We like to pick a color that matches the tiniest bit of something that was already used in the window but the green that Tracey had used in her leaves just wasn't working for this piece when we tried it for the thin border.  Instead Tracey went with a similar, but different red glass that has more than a a splash of orange in it to help set it off.  Had we used the same red that the cardinal was made from it would most likely have been over powering.  This, however, looks perfect to me!

Here's Becky's first Birds On A Wire Panel that she finished complete with specialty hooks that you can see on both ends of the piece.  It took Becky just one night to solder both sides and the edging of this which is pretty impressive.  She's got a second one already cut out so she'll be working on another of these when she returns.

Jeannette completed her Curved Top Transom Window in record time.   Using an assortment of balanced colors in a geometric design, Jeannette practically threw this together at home all on her own.  She's saving the cardboard template that she had made to get this to fit the opening because there are a few more of these windows in the house and you just never know...

Carol's window started off being called the Running Shoes with Wings, but now that the name has been added there's just no better name for it than the Laney Window!   For some (obvious) reason I kept thinking of the Roman God Mercury while Carol was making it, but Carol made this all her own with her choice of colors and design. 

Carol also assembled this cute little Humming Bird Nightlight which is actually just barely bigger than the size of the picture that you see here.  It may be tiny but it certainly was complex to put together since each piece is balanced on the others with twisted wire that had to be curved just right to get everything to line up.  It certainly looks good, doesn't it?

Next we have the first of Myrt's Peace Sunflowers.   The Peace Sign and Purple Leaves make me keep thinking about playing Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit' while I look for a tie died shirt and some beads for the door.   It makes Myrt think of smoking other things but we aren't going there, right?  :-)

Rowena is the midst of making a Lawn Ornament menagerie and this week she completed an Elephant to go with the Lion Head that she made last week.   Look for more animals from Rowena as the weeks go by!

Jan's got a third Air Plant Holder made and its every bit as wonderful as her first two.   I tried photoshopping an air plant in the little spring holder but my end results were pitiful so what you see is what you get.   Jan's making a Wedding Box next and we'll see the top to that completed upon her return.

So, Jeannette not only got her Transom Window finished this week-- she also got this Multicolored Tropical Fish completed as well!  Now that's fast work!

Terry's Caduseus Window is essentially completed after she spent the night soldering the front side.   She got her channel attached to the edges and even got her hooks on this before leaving class because she plans on soldering the back side while at home and then delivering this commissioned piece.  That means that we probably won't see this again but we can easily see already that it turned out beautifully.

I have to say that Betty's Iris Window is a standout design.   Rather than being a flat, static flower scene this one flows and has a graceful movement about it.  Her use of subtly shaded colors will truly give this even more depth once you see it lit up.  I believe a double border is in order for this window and Betty agrees.

Here's Brenda's American Flag Window and as you can see, she's been grinding along on this nicely!  It's almost all in shape no which means that wrapping and soldering is just a step away. 


Tasha's Manolo Blahnik Window is coming together quickly.  She has all of her glass cut out and has already begun grinding.  This week Tasha learned the importance of cutting on the INSIDE of the lines that you trace onto your glass.   If you do this one simple step you will discover that rather making multiple trips back and forth to the grinder you can just skim your pieces for a nice fit on the first try.

Janelle was a Weekend Workshop Student just a few weeks ago and now she's a regular!   Since she's already made a window with us (which you'll see soon) we skipped the standard Butterfly Suncatcher that most new students make.   She's decided on this Pelican Window and in just one class she has the majority of it cut out!  Way to go!

Melissa's large Bird Window just needs the Birds cut out and then she'll be working on borders.  Since her borders have curved corners we can't use the strip cutter to cut them meaning that she'll have to cut the pieces out by hand.   All of this window, including the border, will be ground all at once.  Don't you love Melissa's choice of background glass?  It's called Fractures and Streamers and it ALWAYS makes a window look incredible.

This is Bonnie's interpretation of Birds On A Wire and it's really taking shape now that all of the glass has been cut and two of the birds have been ground.  She has the rest of the birds separated into baggies (which you can see underneath the pattern) to keep everything together without mixing everything up.

Rowena also worked on her own version of the Mallard In Flight Window that Jeannette made just a few weeks ago.  This window is for her rather than someone else and all I can say is that from the looks of things Rowena is on the same flight path to success!

Shelley decided to make a simple Humming Bird with a flower this week and found exactly what she wanted in one of our pattern drawers.   She won't be adding the straight cuts along the bottom so her version will have a simple, plain background and that's the beauty of altering patterns.


Now that Mary has all of her birds cut and ground she's begun the arduous task of wrapping all of these small pieces.   Still, the hardest part of this window is well behind her now so the rest should be relaxing and stress free--  Especially the soldering.


Guess what we have next?  Another bird window!  We certainly have a lot of them under construction but since Sheri has begun grinding her Crane Window that means that she's getting close to finishing it.  I especially like her use of pins as she grinds.  Pins are the key to getting your pieces fitting together correctly.  Trying to grind without pins is like trying to cook without spoons


With two down and a third section all cut out, Cindy's six sided Panel Lamp is about at the halfway point.  I can't wait to see this tacked together.

Then we have Linda F who has begun grinding her Flower Pots Window.  Although all of the flowers have been cut out she's considering changing some of the flower petals.   Myself, I think things are going to be just fine as they are but as I always say:  If you don't like the way something looks it probably won't look any better once it's completed so fix it while you still can.   We'll see what Linda decides to do when she returns.

Meanwhile Linda L has been hard at work on her Street Address Window.   With the center number section almost completely tacked together Linda will soon begin assembling the two end sections which will give this window its length.  Rather than working on a large board we're working on this window in three separate pieces so that it's easily transportable because once it's joined together it will have to stay in the shop to avoid breakage.

This is the back side of Barbara's Autumn Scene and Train Window and yes, some of this side has been soldered already.   I'm thinking that she'll be soldering during the next class and then adding the metal wires that will form the railroad trestle above all of these trees in two more weeks.

After missing two weeks of classes it was nice to see Ann back in action. This week she finished cutting, grinding, wrapping and tacking her final borders into place!   That means she'll be spending all of her time soldering this window when she returns.  And for the record, this window is larger than you think-- trust me on that.

Susan R was as busy as can be cutting and grinding two more Rose Lawn Ornaments.   The pink one is completely ground and ready to be wrapped while the yellow rose is very close to being ready for some copper foil.  We'll most likely see that happen when she returns.

And Myrt has started a new Peace Sunflower, but this one has a completely different color scheme from her first one.   She's also moved at about twice the speed in getting this one cut out.  Great work! (I'm still hearing Jefferson Airplane when I look at this!)


Finally, to wrap things up we take a look at Lara's newest pattern.   It's another African Woman scene and it looks to me like it will be every bit as stunning as all of the other pieces she's done with us.  I love how Lara looks outside of the box when choosing art for her windows.  The road less traveled leads to incredible results!   

So that's it here.  Next up is Front Page News!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, July 24, 2017

Put It In My Yeti

Your Glass Cutter is a delicate instrument and far smaller than you might actually think.   It's the Cutter Wheel that does all the work by scoring the glass as it rolls over your glass.  This wheel is positioned in a slot an the bottom of your cutter which one of the red arrows is pointing to in the picture on the lower left.   As time goes by this slot will likely fill with grit and dirt which can stop your Cutting Wheel from spinning freely.   In the picture on the bottom right you can see that the slot on my cutter is completely clogged and should be cleaned.

Cleaning your cutter is very simple and takes less than 5 seconds.  Just take one of the pins that you use to hold your glass pieces in place and gently push it into the slot to force out the grit and grime that has accumulated there.  It may take a few pokes to clean it out but when you've made a few passes with the pin you will hopefully be able to see through the slot as you can in the picture on the lower right.   If your cutter has a long oil wick you may not be able to see completely through the slot but you will see a lot of dirt and debris come out.   Taking care of your cutter is an important part of making stained glass windows because you will only ever be as good as your tools.   Also, remember to oil your cutter again after performing this procedure.  Just a drop on the cutting head will do.


Lara's Ballerina Window is an extraordinary piece and one that I may very well make myself. (Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery!)  Lara's subtle use of iridized glass blends in wonderfully  with the green hues of the window while contrasting with the Ballerina herself to provide her definition.  Beautiful, beautiful work.

Cindy's latest Crab and Corn Tray was completed this week and she did another stellar job on it.  The claws and legs of the crab are weak points in this design so they are secured by a thick wire on the back side ensuring that they don't get bend off when someone reaches into the tray to grab (or add) something to it.  As for the corn, well Cindy made each cob from one piece of yellow glass and then cut a ragged checkerboard across it making for a perfect fit. The end result is corn on the cob!

Rowena was as busy as can Bee knocking out three individual pieces including a brand new Butterfly design which she curved and then hung as a Suncatcher.   This is the first time the lion has been made by a student and her Bee was put together and soldered with the greatest of ease during class.

Tasha left with one Baby cut out last week and when she came in this week she had two Babies all ready for solder.   It didn't take long for her to complete the soldering and then move on to her next project which you'll see at the end of this post.   She surely did a great job on these babies.

Susan R found this pattern on the internet and came in with her Red Rose all ready to be soldered.  The pattern (as you see it below) has a structural weak spot where the stem connects to the rose.   Since Susan mounted this on a stake to use as a Lawn Ornament it isn't a problem at all, but I am going to make adjustments to this pattern so she can make it into a suncatcher without having to worry about the stem pulling free.

Linda F's Flowerpot Window is certainly moving along quickly.   She only has two more sets of flowers left to cut before she can start grinding all of these pieces.   Although you can't see it, all of the clear background has already been cut out.   This window is going much faster than I thought it would and that's a testament to Linda's abilities.

Next up we have Terry's Caduseus that she began last week.   She has all of the glass cut out and will certainly be assembling this when she returns. As a quick piece of trivia I will leave this tidbit here: It is especially common in the United States to find the Caduceus used as a symbol of medicine instead of the Rod of Asclepius (used most elsewhere).  The difference being that the Rod of Asclepius has only a single snake while the Caduseus has a pair of snakes entwined around the winged staff.)


Brenda started a United States Flag this week and will be responsible a tip of the week when she gets this ground.   She has a plan to get stars on the blue portion of this flag and I can't wait to see how that turns out!  It's already looking might fine indeed.

Martha may have been a bit laid back this week after arriving to class after having a root canal(!) but she was still able to get quite a lot accomplished.   The entire antler and ears section of her Deer Window is all ground and fitting together perfectly.   I must say that I was impressed considering how mellow and out of it she was during class.  She was beautiful, just not in those pictures she left on my camera...

Melissa came in with her pattern all traced out, cut up and ready to be traced out onto glass.  And that's exactly what she did.   This week we saw her get her green leaves, brown branches, light brown nest, and speckled eggs cut out.   She's looking for a nice grey for the birds themselves and is contemplating a mix of glasses for the background.  We'll see how that all turns out next week but right now things are looking good.


Wow, Linda V's Mickey Mouse Lamp has two complete panels cut out already!   True, the borders have only been cut into strips and still need to be sized but you can see the color scheme easily in the picture below.  And don't worry-- Mickey's eyes aren't going to be that spooky looking-- we just had those lying around and placed them on his eyes for fun.

Each week we see Mary move further and further upward on the grinding of her six Birds Window.   With four down and just two left to go she'll be wrapping this before you know it.   And I have to say that she's really doing a great job with the grinding.  Smaller pieces like these can be problematic but Mary is keeping a stiff upper lip as she soldiers on through all of these pieces.

Sheri's Heron Window is so very close to being all cut out that it isn't even funny.   In fact, I think that she will begin grinding this when she comes back in next week.   There are a lot of pieces in this window and they add a modernistic flair to what would just be another stained glass heron window.  Looking good!


Tracey has the front side of her Cardinal Window all soldered and will be moving along to the back side of this when she comes back in.  Since she got the front finished in less than one class I think it's safe to say that this will be completed when we see it again. 

At first I thought I'd forgotten to take a picture of Myrt's Peace Sunflower.  I thought I heard her say that she was leaving it in the shop but when I looked on her board there was nothing there but the pattern.  Then, a few days later, I thought that I should look UNDER the pattern and lo and behold there it was!  Although she was hiding it from me I see now that the front side is completely soldered and the back side is ready to go!

Susan R is making a few more of her Rose Lawn Ornaments and as you can see this one will be done in Yellow.   I altered the pattern a bit from her first one so that the flower has more graceful curves in it but I did that before realizing that there was a stability problem.  That means this pattern will have one more trip to the drawing board.   Susan plans on making these in different colors so expect to see a few more as the weeks go by here.

Next we check out Jeannette's colorful Geometric Transom Window which is also completely soldered on its front side.   There isn't very much left to solder on this so Jeannette is bringing the board to transport this home along with her next week because she plans on having this completed and out of the way!

Becky S isn't the only person making Birds On A Wire-- Bonnie is as well!  Bonnie tore through all of her glass cutting and has all seven of her Birds cut out and ready to be ground.  I took the picture as she was bagging things up so there are three birds missing but trust me, they are all ready to meet up with the grinding wheel!  I like how effortlessly Bonnie made her color choices.  In this design it's really best to just go with the flow and not spend too much time worrying about color.   This is a piece that to be constructed from scraps and that's exactly what Bonnie did.

Carol got the letters and background for the name all ground and fitted together for her Laney Track Window this week.  The front side is essentially soldered and that means that she'll be working on the back side for this when she returns.  I have to say that she's made short and accurate work of this window.

Barbara really impressed me with her soldering this week.  Although she says it's messy I beg to differ with her.  With the front side of her Autumn Train Window almost completely soldered she'll most likely move along to the back side when she returns.  After that it's all about wire work for a week or so and then the final train!

And here's Cindy's latest panel for her Lamp all tacked together.  Cindy completely understands the importance of having all of the pieces pushed outward against the wooden sides of the jig because if they aren't then each panel will be different and not line up when we join them all together to form the rounded lamp. 

Lastly, Tasha is about to start a window with a cat next to a pair of legs in high heeled shoes.   It's hard to make out from the pattern below but I do believe that the shoes are Manolo Blahnik's.   Since they easily steal the spotlight from the cat I'm going to call this Tasha's Manolo Blahnik Window.  How elitist of me!  

Somehow, I don't know how, Becky S's Birds On A Wire flew the coup yet again before I could get a picture of them.  That woman is very, very tricky if I do say so myself!

And that's it-- all there is that's fit to picture and print!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks