Monday, May 20, 2019

Shoot That Poison Arrow Through My Heart!

Pins.   They are a major part of the grinding process and if you think you don't need to use them you are surely wrong.   If anything shifts or changes positions in the very least then all that you've accomplished has changed as well, meaning that things no longer fit.   It's hard to make people understand how important using pins are but just look how many are being used below.  Later on you'll see just how perfectly this window fits together.

So, yeah, pins-- if you're not using a lot of them while grinding then you're fighting an unwinnable battle!

Our first completed project is easily one of the most colorful windows we've ever seen!  Shawn's Flowers And Leaves window is her first project with us although you'd never know that by the quality of the work that Shawn demonstrated all throughout the creation process.  Even the flower centers scream, "Look at me!"

Cindy's Faux Mosaic Birds Window is now officially complete and the end result is stunning.  I love the mixed medium and feel the need to state that this was much harder to make then an actual mosaic piece because all of those pieces had to be ground and wrapped.  I love this!

Jan put the sides on her box bottom and then hinged the top that she made two weeks ago to it.  The end result is a beautiful Wedding Box that the happy  couple will have forever.  If it's stunningly stylish, then it's probably been made by Jan!

Carol's Lady In The Rain was also finished this week and her color scheme is completely different from what I did but equally as stunning.  She even got the super difficult, super small piece of clear glass between the shoes to fit perfectly and even more importantly, NOT cover with solder.   That's dedication, devotion, turning all the night time into the day!


Shelley completed her American Flag/Peace Sign Window and ended up using stickers for the stars.  Circle windows can be very difficult but as you can see Shelley had no problem at all with this one.


Cindy also completed these two beautiful suncatchers.  Her Cross and her Abstract Hanging piece look fantastic and she was able to make them with astounding speed.

Jeanne and Kerry's son, Liam, came in this week to see exactly what it is that his parents do each week while in class.  Rather than just showing up as an observer Liam decided that he'd like to make a butterfly so he could understand the basics of stained glass.  Below is the butterfly that he made almost effortlessly.  Yep, he's a natural.

Jeanne L's Flower Window is looking FABULOUS!  Look how perfectly her flower petals fit together.  Next she'll foil her pieces, tack them together, and then trace the completed flowers on top of a circle that she'll have ground to size.   Her stems will be ground a little thicker than the rest of the lead lines to make them stand out as stems.   This work is wonderful.


Carol also worked on her version of the popular Eucharist Window and she has it almost completed.   She's already got the front side soldered so you know that she'll have this one ready for its close up when she comes back in next week.  I loved how she worried about how the small points that ended up getting covered by channel looked-- her attention to detail is what makes her windows look so great.

MiMi saw this Ship In A Bottle pattern and knew immediately that she had to do one-- quickly!   She got it all cut out while in class and knowing her she'll have this completed before you know it.


Kerry is making two Arrow Windows which are very similar indeed.  The basic arrows are identical save for the color and patterns of the fletchings that stabilize the arrow while in flight.  Once the arrows are completed Kerry will cut the background glass from one correctly sized piece of glass (for each arrow, of course).


Patrice started her new window which is a stained glass rendition of a Clementine Hunter painting. You can already see the wash hanging out on the line with just the few pieces that Patrice has cut already. 


Now that Jan completed her wedding box she's able to resume work on her Jessie Tree Window.   I'm not 100% certain but I think that everything is now wrapped in foil which means that she'll be tacking this together upon her return.

Rowena started cutting out an LSU Window this week and has already begun grinding it.   This window has an interesting border because the top and bottom have three borders while the left and right sides only have two.  That's only because of the way the background glass plays out but it makes things easier because the strip cutter can be used.

All of those pins that you saw at the start of this post came from Martha's Tulip Window.   Yes, she has a LOT of pins holding this together but just look at how beautifully everything lines up!   Martha is ready to begin wrapping her pieces now and then she'll fill in between the Tulips with clear glass to give this window some extra stability.

Now that Jeanne M has her three borders cut for her Virgin Mary you can see what a statement a border can make.   Jeanne wanted a window that looked like it came from a church and this border design really makes it look that way.   Wait until you see this lit up.

Susan R's Garden Gnome is almost completely ground save for the eyes and lips.   She'll be cutting those pieces once this is wrapped and tacked to ensure that he face of this little creature doesn't get distorted.  I've found that this is the BEST way to handle faces.


Becky S is grinding away on the top portion of her Egret Window.  There are only a few pieces of the tree left to go and then she'll move along to the actual feathers of the Egret.   It's all coming together now!

There are only a few pieces left for Annette to grind on her Pair of Cardinal's Window and then she'll be able to relax a bit and sit down to begin foiling all of her pieces.  Whether you're good at foiling or not it's always a nice relaxing experience, especially after the arduous task of grinding!

With her zinc channel attached, the front side soldered, and the back side just about completely soldered, Linda L is going to be wrapping up her latest Mickey Mouse Window before you know it. Happy Halloween!

Angie's third Address Window got its borders attached as well as a nice sturdy zinc channel.  Then she even soldered the front side of it!  This is the last of her 'number' windows and I think she's ready to move onto something a little different now.

Mary Grace wrapped the last of her pieces this week and will begin tacking this Flower Window together when she comes back in.   Once that's done she'll re-cut a few pieces that came up a tad bit short and then prep for a border or two on this window.


Melissa's flipped her La Pieta over and has now begun soldering the second side of  her stained glass masterpiece.   The end is near and Melissa already has her next project drawn up and ready to go.

Tracey only has the tree left to cut out for her latest Cardinal Window but since she didn't have glass that she liked she moved along to the grinding process.   With a little luck the brown she wants to use for this will be in upon her return next week.  If not she can always continue grinding

And lastly, Tasha's Buxom Wine Ladies have been completely tacked together and the front side has be soldered which means that this window could very well be completed upon her return.  I'll be looking forward to seeing this one hanging up with some light behind it.

And that's what happened last week during our classes!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, May 13, 2019

A Series Of Bad Decisions

People always ask me what the most important part is when making stained glass.  Is it the soldering or the wrapping?  The grinding or the tracing of the pattern?  Well, I always change my answer from week to week because it's ALL equally important.  However, if you are looking to make you stained glass creations at a faster pace WITHOUT sacrificing quality then the answer is simple.

Accurate cutting is likely the most important part of making a window because if your cutting is off then no matter how well you do anything else, the window won't look like the pattern.  Also, and most importantly, the time you lose when you slow down to cut your glass is regained three fold when it comes to grinding.  Most people spend hours at the grinder trying to get things to fit together when most of that grinding time could be avoided if they simply took slowed down while cutting and followed the line perfectly.  If you cut accurately you'll be able to grind at an astounding rate of speed because alll you'll have to do is skim your pieces.  

Try it.

Now, onto our finished window of the week.  Belinda's first window turned out wonderfully as you can plainly see for yourself.   Based on a window she painted a few years back, this Sun/Moon design is now an official stained glass window that she cut, ground, wrapped, and soldered on her own.  Beautiful!

Kerry's Crane Window was also completed this week and it's another example of a newer student's exceptional workmanship.  Kerry has learned quickly that when you take your time cutting out your glass pieces, the rest of the project will go far, far quicker.

When Cindy asked if I could come up with a Peacock Hand Mirror my mind immediately went to a Swan mirror that I used to make 30 years ago!  After drawing out the basic concept of the swan I was able to change the face, beak and feathers until we got the pattern you see below.   The design may essentially be mine, but all of the work was done by Cindy.  And what great work it is!  I suspect that we might be seeing more of these in the future.

When Linda F told me that she wanted to make a University of Kentucky Logo Window I warned her that it would be intensive but she didn't shy away at all.   When she looked at the pattern about three weeks ago she simply said, "Thanks," and went to work on it.   In record time she was able to knock this out with a high degree of perfection!  Her straight lines never waver and that is the key to making this window look as great as it does. Wow!


Betty's latest Suncatcher is a Beveled Flower that features 3D leaves which actually reside on top of the the bevels on the left and right side of this piece.  Made quickly and practically effortlessly, Betty showed this project just who the boss is!

Carol's Ladybug Lawn Ornament turned out to be very vibrant indeed when in the sunlight.   I only have the flash from the camera on it in the picture below but even that reveals how rich and deep the red glass is.   And the green/blue leaf also shines brilliantly in the sunlight as well.

Cindy also made a University of Louisiana Suncatcher this week. When Cindy is on a roll, she's on a roll!

Here's another Circular Butterfly that Sheri finished this week.   The colors have all been changed making this stand out from each of the other two that she completed previously.  I think she has this pattern down pat now!

MiMi's made a Dress Suncatcher that I think is phenomenal.   It may only consist of one piece of glass but it's the wire work that really makes this so eye catching.  And yes, that hanger started out as a straight piece of 14 gauge wire (with the straps being made from thinner wire).   Pure elegance!

As I predicted, Jeannette's Initial 'G' Window was completed this week.  When all she had to do was solder it so I knew that there was no doubt that she's finish this and start something new this week.  You'll read about the new project a little further along in this post.

Carol started working on her version of the Lady In The Rain and practically finished it in just one week!   She added the border to this when she came in and then got most of the front side soldered as well.   This will surely be completed upon her return!

As you may already know, MiMi is working on a Seafood Window but this one will showcase a feature that we've never seen done before in one of these-- a newsprint background!  Next week I'll go over the steps involved in making her background glass but for now just marvel at that incredible sheet of glass below her project.  I guess we'll call it Newsprint.

I'm going to have to start calling Tracey our 'Cardinal Student' due to all of the Cardinal Windows that she makes!   What I love most about her projects is the fact that she always looks for new designs rather than making the same window.   This allows her to grow as an artist by not falling into a repetitious pattern.


As you can tell by her EXCELLENT use of pins, Martha has very nearly completed the grinding stage of her Tulip Window.   Someone already has their eye on this pattern and in all honestly I don't think that Martha will be needing it much longer because she's made incredible progress on this in a very short time.


This week Shelley learned how a zinc channel can be curved to fit a round window and both she and Mary Grace were quite impressed with how it's done.   Now, with the front side of her Peace/American Flag Window soldered Shelley is about to turn it over and take this window home (literally)!

Next up we have another window that is very near completion.  Melissa's Le Pieta is stunning indeed and the front side is almost completely soldered now.   Since parts of this have been tacked together for some time, Melissa had to re-melt the solder that held her pieces together so an even solder bead could then be applied.   The second side will go quicker since she'll just be able to start soldering.

Last week Pumpkin Mickey got his background glass cut out and this week, after it was all tacked together, Linda L cut out her border and got it ground and attached.   This is going to need a zinc channel bent and attached when Linda comes back in and she also got to see how it was done on Shelley's window this week.


I've heard that The Song Remains The Same but that doesn't mean the numbers do!   Here's Angie's third Address Window all ready for its pair of borders.   The colors are very different this time around but the glass she used for the numbers have more than enough contrast to stand out against the rich green glass that they rest upon.  There's no doubt that this window will get a 'Whole Lotta Love'!

Mary Grace is wrapping away on her Flower Window.  Sadly I didn't get a picture of it this week and it's just too late to go out and get one now.   Still, this is her window and there are more pieces wrapped than you see in the picture.  Expect a more up to date picture upon our return in a week.

As I said above, Jeannette was able to work on another window this week and look how quickly she's making progress on this new version of her Corvette Window!   She is wasting no time at all on this and the quality is every bit as great as the last one that she made.


We have two more Cardinals here and this is the pair that Annette is making.   She's about at the halfway point in her grinding of her very first window with us and as I've said before, I think she may be doubting aspects of this window but once the grinding is completed I think the bigger picture will truly come into focus for her.   As more and more comes into shape it's becoming clear that this is going to be lovely indeed.

Mary tacked together her Cross Window and then filled in the few missing pieces that either didn't fit well or broke along the way.  There were a total of five missing pieces and as you can see they have all been replaced already.   That isn't all she did though-- if you look very closely you can see that she has the first of two borders cut and ground.  She's begun wrapping them and the final darker border will go on when she returns.

Becky S is busy grinding away on her second Egret Window.  If it wasn't so big you'd see more of what she accomplished and this picture has taught me to focus only on the work she's done rather than the entire window.   In other words, even though it's hard to see in this picture, Becky's window is moving along at a nice rate of speed.

Jeanne's Virgin Mary is tacked together and the first of three borders has been attached.  The remaining pieces along the right hand side will be used to make separators to divide the center border.  It may not make sense now but you'll understand when you see it next week.   Jeanne decided to go with a church style border for this and she's getting what she wants!

Linda F is about to start work on this cute Children With Umbrellas Window.   She's got her pattern pieces traced out onto glass and is officially ready to begin cutting!

And this is the latest Cross Suncatcher that Cindy has begun working on.  She may only have nine pieces cut out at this point in time but there are only eight pieces left to go which means that she's already beyond the halfway point!

Lastly we have a look at Susan D's Window.  It looks like my aim may have been off a bit with the camera though because I can't quite see anything!!!

And that about wraps things up this week!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks