Monday, July 17, 2017

If It's Over the Line, You Must Grind!

I always say that windows made of straight lines are among the hardest windows to make and this week I'm going to show you why.   Curves can be very forgiving since curves don't adhere to a strict rule.  If a curve is a bit off your eyes will most likely never see it.   Look at the flower below on the left.   This was my original design.   I traced it out a second time using a red marker and I made sure to NOT follow the lines perfectly.   The difference between the flower in black and the one drawn in red is VERY difficult to see IF you can see a difference at all, but when I overlay the two patterns on top of each other (see the flower on the right) you can see that although the lines are similar in shape they do not line up at all.   Still, if you only saw the black pattern and were then shown the red pattern you would most likely say they were identical.
In this next example I started with the 3 x 4 square pattern (on the left) that I drew with a ruler.   The red pattern was made by tracing the black pattern by hand. Let's face it, the difference between the red pattern and the black pattern is like night and day.  Anyone can clearly see that the red pattern is crooked and uneven.  Now look at the two patterns overlaid on the right.   You can see that the differences between the two aren't far off at all-- in fact, the flower is much more 'off' than the squares are yet the flowers look fine.   This is because your eye can easily spot deviations in straight lines.  
So the next time you think you want to make something 'easy' involving straight lines, think again!  Unless you cut your glass using a straight edge with your cutter you will most surely end up with very amateurish results.

Now let's move on to something that ISN'T amateurish at all!  Melissa was one thrilled student as her Semper Fi (Always Faithful) Window became a completed project.  It really turned out wonderfully and although she was upset with the quality of her soldering I have to say that it was among some of the best soldering that I've seen.   And I must stress for the record that run-throughs are a part of stained glass and that you shouldn't be hard on yourself for finding them when you flip your window back to the front side.   This Semper Fi window shows wonderful work on Melissa's part especially when you take into consideration that it's only her second window with us.

Susan R's Spring Window has officially sprung.  The thin pieces in this were taxing to grind, wrap and solder without having them snap in half but Susan persevered and although it took some time the end result is perfect.   She really did some great work on this piece.  I just want her and everyone else to know that it doesn't matter how long it takes you to make a window-- what matters is that you turn out quality work. 


Shelley completed her Fleur De Lis Window and it turned out perfectly square largely due to the fact that she was so careful in the construction of this piece.   Shelley does 99% of her work on her own at home and I must say that she's a stained glass force to be reckoned with.


Bonnie was as busy as can be this week as she got two projects finished.  Her flower consists of many petals but as I always say, you get out of a project what you put into it.   Bonnie had no problems at all dealing with all of those petals so it was certainly worth the time to do.   Her peacock also turned out beautifully even though the breast of the peacock is not made out of the glass that she originally wanted.   It's a moot point for sure because this peacock is pure perfection.

Tasha completed her latest large Owl Suncatcher this week and did another beautiful job with it.  This one took far less time to make than her last one did and I suspect it was due to her familiarity with the pattern.  He's beautiful, isn't he?

Jeanne's two Bumble Bee Lawn Ornaments were completed this week and what a wonderful job she did on assembling and soldering these Bees.  The 3D aspect of these pieces make them difficult to solder but Jeanne made it seem like child's play.

Brenda got two more Beveled Cross Suncatchers completed, the clear one being done in iridized glass.  These are always very elegant suncatchers and Brenda can knock them out quickly and efficiently.


Susan D has another Hummingbird Lawn Ornament under her belt and I'm pretty sure that the pattern has been passed along so we might be seeing more of these in the future.

Carol's Track Window is really coming together now that she has the letters for the name  'Laney' cut out and ground.   Once these are  wrapped and tacked together she'll cut a strip of glass the same height of the letters and then cut the letters into it.  This makes lettering in glass easy to read with a perfect fit.

After completing her Owl Suncatcher Tasha asked me if there was something quick and easy that she could do between classes for a baby shower present and although my mind went blank it was Jeannette who recalled the stained glass Baby Suncatcher Patterns.   It only took a few minutes to find it and Tasha loved it.  She's got her glass all cut out so this will be hanging when you next see it.

Jan came in hoping to start a wedding invitation box but it turns out that we were all out of clear glass.  Not missing a beat, Jan began working on a third Air Plant Holder.   It's all cut, ground and wrapped so this will be completed when she comes back in.   We also have clear glass in stock again so she'll also be able to start work on her invitation.

Linda V decided to make a Mickey Mouse Panel lamp as her first project with us.   She was a bit neglected this week because so much was happening throughout the class but that didn't stop her from doing a marvelous job cutting out the black sections of Mickey for two of the panels.  Hopefully I'll be spending more time with Linda next week as we see her mouse really start to take shape.


Jeannette came in with the center section of her large Transom Window all cut out and ready for it's border.  A curved top is one of the toughest things to do in glass so she tackled the bottom and side straight edges first and then cut out pattern pieces for the top.   Next week she'll begin grinding those curved pieces and hopefully get them tacked into place so she can start soldering.

Becky S spent the night wrapping the small and intricate pieces for her first Birds On A Wire Window.  It dawns on me that I forgot to mention there are clear pieces in this window so I will mention this to her upon her return next week.   They are quick and easy to do but add so much more stability to the finished piece that you really shouldn't do this design without them.

Linda L  has made great strides on her Street Numbers Window and has all of the oval section cut out save for one piece.   She's begun grinding these and will assemble it as though the oval were a complete window itself.   Once that's tacked together she'll add the border and then extend the ends to give the window more width.  There are rules to things but on rare occasions they are broken.  This is one of those rare occasions.

After getting her window tacked together and her two missing pieces cut out Tracey hunted high and low for the right choice of border glasses.  It always seems so easy-- pick a color for the border,  but sometimes it's one of the hardest choices to make.  Tracey tried many, many different pieces of glass  and finally we all agreed that this red-orange glass was the best choice.  She's pretty sure of what she'll be using for the last border.  We'll know for sure once this is tacked and we can put the final piece next to her window.

Cindy was cutting glass like mad and by the time class was through she had another panel ready to be ground for her Panel Lamp.  At this rate her lamp won't take long to complete.   I believe there are 6 repeats to this pattern but I could be wrong.

Martha's Deer Window is fast approaching completion as she now has all of her glass cut out.   Her choice of background glass is stunning and one of the newer types of clear glass that we've begun stocking.  Now that Spectrum Clear Textures are gone we're discovering a wealth of other great looking glasses to take their place.


Myrt now has all of the pieces for her Purple Peace Sunflower cut out and she's even managed to get a good deal of the pieces ground already.   She'll easily begin wrapping this when she comes back in to class which means that soldering won't be far away.


Mary got about a third of her window ground this week but is leaving the red berries out of the window for now.   Once everything is ground we will cut berries and then drop them into place and alter the background to fit the berries.  This is far easier than trying to get small round pieces to fit into the openings that the pattern dictates.  Sometimes you have to reverse things to get a good fit!

Susan R  not only completed her Spring Window-- she also began working on this Flower which is made from a very heavily textured red glass.  To cut those red pieces she flipped the pattern over on it's back side and then traced them onto the front smooth side of the glass.   Once the glass was cut the pieces are flipped around to fall perfectly into place on the pattern with the textured side up.  


Lara's Ballerina Window is officially tacked together, 'chanelized'  and all ready for solder.   She's taken it home to get a head start on the soldering and there's a very good chance that this will be completed when she comes back in.  I really hope so because I think that this window is nothing short of spectacular.

Barbara's Autumn Train Scene has its first inner border cut, ground and attached which means that she's very close to beginning the soldering process of this project.  Her next step will be to add a second darker brown border and then a channel which will certainly happen when she returns for her next class.

Sheri spend the day (night) working on cutting out more pieces for her Crane Window.  It was looking like we were about to get a big downpour so she ran her large project out to the car before I could get a picture taken.  Below is some of the glass that she's using that she didn't want me to take a picture of. (Hey, I tried!)

Terry is working on a new window but it's a secret because I didn't get a picture of it and I don't want to spoil the surprise next week.   I must confess though-- this could be Brenda's glass!


Lastly, Roxane got a lesson on using her pistol grip cutter this week because the majority of her Cross Window involves many straight cuts that need to line up perfectly for the effect of this window to be complete.   I will say this, Roxane is a quick learner.   Alas, I never got a picture of her window but be prepared to be blown away when you see how far she's gotten on it!

And that about does it for this week.  Be sure to come on back again next week for even more beautiful windows made by our students.


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