Monday, October 28, 2019

A Reindeer Named Wolf

Curves and straight lines.   These are the two cuts that people get wrong all the time.  I've had many new students start by making patterns that require only straight cuts thinking that they easier than curves, but they couldn't be more wrong.  The beauty of a curve lies in the fact that the human eye has a hard time discerning curves. Look at the figure below.  Which was made by tracing out an oval and which was drawn by hand?  After careful consideration you will probably say that the second curve was drawn free handed, and you'd be correct.  By how many times did your eye go back and forth between the two curves to come to this conclusion?   If there was only one curve below would you believe that it was done free handed?   With nothing to compare a curve to, you have no clue if the curve is off of not.  That's the way our minds works.   Flower petals are never the same, merely similar.  Your eyes and mind adjust differences to become what you expect of the curve.

Straight lines, however, are not as lucky.  Which line below was drawn free handed and which  was drawn by tracing along the edge of a ruler?   I'll bet that you only had to look once to notice the imperfections in the bottom line.  And yes, I took my time to make that line as straight as I could and actually did far better than I thought I would.  Still, it's noticeably off.   Even people who claim to have no artistic abilities can spot a wavering line.
Finally, here's a perfect example of how curves can be off without affecting the overall pattern while straight lines can't.  Which heart is wrong?  Neither.  Although the curves are off on the first heart (even in terms of symmetry) it looks like a style decision and looks fine if not better that the perfect heart on the right. 

Now, which star is off?   Obviously the one on the right because it just looks wrong.  Also of note is that I am only off by 1/16th of an inch (the smallest mark on a ruler) on each of those bad lines and note that five of the ten lines that form the star are actually perfect.   In short, straight lines reveal all of your errors while curves that are off just blend into the design.

Well, I think we did some good there!  So moving along we start with a perfect window that shows how important straight lines are. Belinda's rays are perfection in her Break Of Day Window and the end result is beautiful.  You can say that she had a dawning of sorts when it comes to soldering because I didn't touch up anything but a few joints on this.   Yes, I think it's safe to say that Belinda has found her Stained Glass Groove!

Betty had most of this this LSU Suncatcher cut out when she came in but by the end of class she was able to call it a completed project after getting all of the wrapping, and soldering done on it.  It was quick work that led to a wonderful end result.

Also, these Crystal Hangers are really catching on as you can see by the two that Betty started and finished this week.

Now go ahead and try to tell me that this isn't precious!  Susan D's Reindeer Suncatcher is definitely going to be turning heads in class now that it's been posted on the blog.  And look at the cutting Susan achieved.  It fits together already!


This week we have a new Grinch Window on the scene and this one is a different pattern entirely.   Annette wanted a Grinch featuring his 'three sizes bigger' heart.  It took three pictures of the Grinch from the internet to get this pattern drawn up but I think the end result is perfection.  In the cartoon his heart ends up upside down but we've 'fixed' that so the pattern looks more realistic.

Cindy's begun work on another Box but this one is a Wedding Box rather than a Baby Box and it is a complex pattern for sure.  Still, Cindy is handling it with ease and is just about ready to get her borders attached.  That means that this Box's bottom will probably go together next week as well as its borders.

Jan's making a Unicorn and this is now stuck in my head: 

"A long time ago, when the earth was still green
And there were more kinds of animals than you've ever seen
They'd run around free while the earth was being born
But the loveliest of all was the unicorn"

 Does anyone else remember this Irish Rover's song?  Anyway, her Unicorn is truly lovely.


With his border pieces attached, his channel in place, and his front side soldered, Kerry is on track to finishing this Tractor Window when he returns next week.   I think it looks spectacular already!


And then we have Melissa's Train Suncatcher which has completely taken shape now even though it's not ground yet.  She's going to make the wheels of this train in metal so that's going to be a fun experience for her.  I'm betting that she uses the metal covered glass technique again somewhere down the line.  (Get it? Down the line..)

After getting her pieces all ground, wrapped and tacked together Jeanne L is so very close to getting this Beveled Cross Suncatcher finished.   With just a little soldering left to go this will surely be completed upon her return because the hardest part now will be getting the hook on it (and that's as simple as A, B C, easy as 1, 2, 3!)

Linda F resumed work on her LSU Window and it's a biggie.   With everything cut out she began grinding the center diagonal LSU section and then wrapped and tacked together those pieces to make grinding the remaining corner sections easier.   Why would this be easier?  Because there are two essentially straight lines involved which we don't want skittering out of place when she's grinding what's left. 

Our other Jeanne, Jeanne M, is working on a Cross of her own and now that her Cross and Treble Clef is all ground and fitting together perfectly, she's begun wrapping each of her pieces.   This week she very nearly completed that task so I'm fairly confident that this will be tacked together when Jeanne comes back in and then she can pick out a color for her border(s).

Jeff's Flowers have been wrapped and tacked together and now he's working on cutting the pieces that make up the leaves in his large sectional window.  It's all about to come together for Jeff because the rest of this looks fairly easy from here on out.


Becky S got all of her Egret Window tacked AND soldered as well!  Then she got her first border cut, ground, wrapped, and tacked into place but before she tacked the border she ran two lengths of Strong Line between the border and the scenery section of her window.  This gives her long thin window some added strength.  We're also going to 'seal' the zinc channel that she uses on this because that also adds strength and stability.  It's also a good tip idea for a future post.

Martha has her Wedding Box all ground and ready to be wrapped. Her attention to detail on this is flawless and although she's concerned that she has gaps, she really doesn't.   For the record let me say that her straight lines are amazing!

Mary's Heron Window got tacked together and then after the two missing pieces were filled in she had to decide what she wanted to do about borders.   She was sure she wanted to go with two because once you see a window with a double border it's hard to go back to a single border window-- unless you can't find the right colors.   In this case, after a little searching, Mary found the perfect combination.   Her first thin border is a heavily textured, clear, reeded glass.  As for the final border, well, you'll just have to wait until next week to see.

With all of her glass ground for her Louisiana Rifle/Arrow Window Mary Grace has settled down to some relaxing(?) foiling.  Now that everything is ground you can easily see how nice this window is going to look.  And just wait until you see how we get the year included in it.   It's going to drive you wild!

One Grinch two Grinch, red fish, blue fish.  We have Grinches appearing everywhere!   Tracey has hers all ground and wrapped which means that she's ready for borders now.  This week she also got the lines painted on Mr. Grinch because, as you can see, he's got wrinkles.


MiMi got her background glass and her border attached this week and is ready to flip this over and solder the back side of her Duck Window.  The colors already look great just sitting there on the table but just wait until this has some light behind it.  That's going to happen next week for sure.

Yep, Shawn is soldering her way through this Autumn Leaves Window very quickly and very efficiently.  I'm putting this at the bottom of this post because I know it will be up on top next week as a completed window.  We just need to decide how this is going to hang because in truth, it can hang in any direction!

To wrap things up I have two items to discuss that don't have pictures.  First I missed out on getting a picture of Becky B's Springfield Fish Window.   She managed to get all of her background glass ground, wrapped and tacked so her three eyed fish only needs a border and some solder to finish it off. 

Then there's Susan R's Seafood Window that made it out to her car without me snapping a picture.   I'm getting old and forgetful for sure!  Wait until you see it next week though because Susan is really getting far along on her window.

So that's it for this week.   Next up will be a Blog Post about the Weekend Workshop that we had two weeks ago, so expect another edition of your favorite blog sometime around the weekend.


As promised last week, this is for scale:

Friday, October 25, 2019

Believe You Can And You're Halfway There

What's a zipper?   Well, in the stained glass world a zipper is a flaw found within a sheet of glass.  Although most commonly found in Spectrum glass (now known as Oceanside Glass) flaws exist in almost every sheet of glass you see.   I was told that years ago Spectrum Glass was fairly flawless but the common complaint of their product  was that it was too perfect and looked like plastic, thus zippers were born.

Zippers come in all lengths as you can see below. 

Using a piece of glass that you've cut with flaws is fine as long as the flaws are completely contained with the piece.  In fact, L.C. Tiffany's work is filled with flaws.  However, there is one rule to follow when you see a zipper in the glass you are tracing your pattern pieces onto.  Do NOT allow your cut to run over the zipper as you see in all of the pieces below.

It's fine to have a zipper inside of the piece you are cutting as long as the entire flaw is contained within the piece.   If your cutter has to run over the zipper then you need to reposition your pattern piece so that it doesn't run across a flaw as in the picture below.  This reduces the chance of breakage, especially if the cut follows the length of the zipper.  

Following this simple piece of advice will make your cutting go smoother and give the head of your cutter a longer lifespan.  Alas, there's always an exception to any rule and this zipper rule may be broken when cutting long strips of glass (for borders) when the zipper CAN'T be avoided.

TLDR: Avoid cutting through zippers whenever possible.

Ok, are you ready for this?   Annette's Psychedelic Poodle is finished and it looking amazing!  To me it's pure 70's and makes me want to haul out a transistor radio so I can listen to Casey Kasem's American Top 40 while looking at my black light posters!  Now that I think about it I want to put a black light on this Poodle to see if it will light up any brighter!  Annette surely did a wonderful job making this unforgettable window and her abilities have grown while making it in leaps and bounds.

Then we have Jan's beautifully calming Dragonfly and Water Lily Window whose colors are perfection even when they were just stacked as a pile of glass on the work table.   Cut out and assembled, Jan has made a gorgeous window that she can truly be proud of.

Cindy put the finishing touches on her Baby Box by adding a feet to the corners so the box doesn't sit directly on the table.  Once that was done she got her top attached and I took this picture.  Skylar will love this when she gets a little older!  It's a definite keepsake and Cindy made making this look easy.

Susan D completed 2 Jewel Hangers and used two different jewels in them to help give each one its own bit of 'character'.  Her symmetry is spot on as you can see because these both hang perfectly straight.


Linda F's HLB Suncatcher looks bigger than it is when you just see a picture of it here online.   Next week I'll take a picture of one of these with a dollar bill next to it for scale because most people think I'm joking when I say that it's only 8 inches wide.

Carol cut out and completed two of these beautiful Star Within a Star Suncacthers.   She's added an extra piece of blue into the mix and I think it looks better than the one I made with only one blue stripe.  This may look like an easy 10 piece suncatcher but if the lines are off just an eighth of an inch the entire design becomes twisted and hangs crookedly.  Carol's is (as expected) perfectly balanced.

Betty's got another Snowman under her belt and her ability to 'tap tap' on the edges of her suncatchers has become top notch indeed.   I couldn't do better myself.

Rose has begun working on her first window and she wanted it to be nice and colorful.  These flowers certainly fit the bill and when she adds another color for the final border she's going to have one beautiful Flower Window.   I have to say that she did a marvelous job cutting this all out in just one class.   She appears to be a natural at this.

Susan R's Seafood window is really turning into spectacular project.  It's a big one, that's for sure and although it's not ground it's already fitting together nicely which is a testament to her cutting.

Lara got her Scissors all wrapped and tacked together and now you can clearly see how excellently she utilized the different sections of a single sheet of glass to achieve a different look for the blades of the scissors.  It's hard to believe that his was all cut from one piece of glass, but that's a fact.

Jan also got a Unicorn Window window started this week and judging by how quickly she cut out its iridized mane I'm thinking that this won't take her long at all.

Jeanne's Cross And Treble Clef Window is not only all cut out but nearly ground as well.  With just the center round section of the Treble Clef left to grind I'm betting dollars to doughnuts that she begins wrapping this window when she comes back in.

Melissa may have started a new project this week but that doesn't mean that her beautiful Peacock Window will be forgotten.   It just means that something came up involving a Train. She's drawn the pattern herself and you can color me impressed! Melissa doesn't waste any time when she's working on a project.

Mary Grace got the hardest parts of her Louisiana Rifle/Arrow Window fitted together this week and she's certainly relieved that the rifle is behind her now.   The scope itself may have been challenging but she accomplished grinding it in just one class.   It certainly looks as though the rest of this will be completed upon her return.

Check out Belinda's Sunrise window!   It was in pieces the last time that we saw it and now it's all assembled and fitting together perfectly.  With the front side soldered there's only the back side left to go so this will definitely be completed when she comes back in next week.

Check it out.  Shawn's working her Autumn Leaves Window fast and furiously.   I'm stating for the record that this is the window in her stained glass career when everything fell into place for her.  Her cutting and grinding and even her foiling is absolutely wonderful.  Her work is as impressive as the window is itself.  


Jeff has begun working on the third section of his Flower Window and got all of the toughest thin pieces cut out and mostly ground.  Me, I can't wait until he puts the three panels side by side and starts filling in the missing pieces that join everything together into one large window.

Kerry came in and finished grinding and cutting the remaining pieces of his tractor window.  As each piece was wrapped he would foil it and tack it into place so the next piece could be traced from the openings left in the window.   By the end of the night he was picking out a color for the border that he will attach when he comes back into class.

Becky S has her Egret Window wrapped and ready to begin tacking!  There isn't a piece in this window that doesn't fit perfectly and that's because of Becky's amazing attention to detail.  I know she can't wait to solder this and she can start on that even before the borders are attached.

Tracey's second Grinch Window was completely ground this week which means that she can begin foiling all of her glass.   I always say the second one goes twice as fast and Tracey is proving me correct!

MiMi's Duck Window is all coming together now that all of the centerpiece has been cut and ground.  Once the border to this has been wrapped and tacked MiMi will square it off and turn this into a rectangular window.

With all of the grinding done on her very graceful Heron Window, Mary began wrapping her pieces during class.   She's taken her window home with her and promises to have everything wrapped when she comes back in.   And I have no doubt that she will.


I'm afraid I never got a picture of the Wedding Box that Martha ius working on but at this point in time the side flower panel is almost completely ground.   Next week I hope to show you just how far she's come with her first Wedding Box.

Brace yourself because in another few days we'll have yet another post-- There's just so much to see!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, October 14, 2019

My First, My Last, My Everything

We're going to jump right in this week as I don't have a single tip idea written down to go over.   I thought of plenty of them during the week but if I don't write them down they are completely out of my head within seconds!

So Martha completed her Rose Window and the end result is elegant indeed.  What's hard to see here in the picture is the iridised pink glass that she used throughout her project.   Still, now that I've pointed it out I believe you can spot it if you look closely enough because there's a yellowish tint to the pieces.   In real life it adds so much to this beautiful window, I just wish it would photograph better.

Patrice finished her Umbrella Lady Window and I like her variation of the pattern even better than the original design.   I think this window will always have Patrice's spin on it from here on out because that trim just adds that extra bit of pizazz!

Linda F is back in class and she started things off by wrapping up her Double Sunflower Window which she then took home with her.  These walk out the door pretty quickly for her now.

Rose is our newest student and this is her Butterfly.  She's worried about her abilities but from what I've seen she has absolutely nothing to worry about.  She'll be starting a colorful flower window when she comes in again next week and she'll hopefully get it all cut out before she leaves.

Susan D finished the last of her spider webs and even constructed another beaded spider, this one in a striking position.   Happy Halloween!

Tracey came in with her latest Butterfly Lawn Ornament almost completely soldered.   She finished soldering it quickly enough and then moved on to another familiar project that you'll see a little further on.

Jeanne M started a new project this week and got almost all of her Treble Clef Cross Window cut out.  She's already begun cutting the smaller background pieces out and with just 4 or 5 larger pieces to go I know that she'll start grinding this when she comes back in.

Melissa's Peacock Tail Feathers Window is going to be stunning for sure.   She has most of it cut out and you can see that her colors are perfection.  She's using textured cathedral glass for all of this so it's going to light up in a really spectacular way. 

Belinda's Sun window is fitting together nicely now that she's begun grinding.   Her attention to detail is what's going to make this look even better than what the pattern shows (and the pattern itself already looks great.)

MiMi's already got her newest project well under way.  This duck is small and detailed but Mimi not only has it all cut out but basically ground as well.  With only a few pieces left to go MiMi will be wrapping this before you know it.   Once it's tacked together she'll place it in the center of a squared off window.


Jan's Dragonfly Window is very close to being completed now.   There's a small missing piece that we didn't have the glass to replace but Jan has more at home and will fill that in when she returns next week.   She'll also get her border attached as well (she's got most of it wrapped already) so this is just about completed.

Jeannette made major progress with her LARGE Transom Window as she's now got all of the left hand side ground.   We aren't adding the top border until this is all tacked together because she'll be running Re-Strip Copper Reinforcing Strip between the borders which will add an undetermined amount to the height of the window that she'll need to account for.

Kerry's Tractor is tacked together and now he's filling in the tiny pieces that make up the steering wheel, lights, seat and gear shift.   Hopefully he'll get these squared away next week but it's slow going since he now needs to wrap and tack each piece into place before he can move along to the next piece.  I think that once the steering wheel is done the rest will be a piece of cake.

As you know Linda is back and she was able to cut, grind, wrap and tack together this H L B Suncatcher panel.   It's  smaller than you might initially think since it measures just under 8 inches wide.  It may be small but it's jam packed with Linda's excellent work.

Susan R has started her Seafood Window and cut out 3 of her crabs.   He colors are slightly different from the colors that were used in the last seafood window we featured here but they easily look just as good.   This is a complex design that will take some time to complete but Susan is certainly up to the task at hand (and claw).


Angie got the left side of her Nativity Window tacked together and then moved along to grinding her center portion.  I like that Angie is working in sections on this large window because that's exactly what I would do especially when the window is so distinctly divided out into 3 areas.

Mary, try as she might, didn't get her window completely ground but with only a handful of pieces left to go I hope she isn't too hard on herself.   I miss the goals I set for myself all the time when it comes to glass work but that's because it always seems to go quicker in your head rather than when you're actually in front of the grinder.   I know she'll be wrapping this when she returns.


Becky B cut out all of the clear glass for her Springfield Fish window and then began grinding those pieces.  Hopefully we can get them tacked into place upon her return and then work out what kind of  borders she wants for this exotic window!

Barbara H wrapped and tacked her Fleur De Lis Window and then got her final border cut as well.  the pieces to the border have been ground so with a little luck she'll have this all tacked together and ready for a finishing solder bead when we next see it.


Becky S resumed wrapping foil onto the pieces that make up her Egret Window and hopes to get it tacked together upon her return so that her border pieces can be cut.   Becky loves to solder so I know she can't wait to get to the relaxing part of the building of her window.

Tasha's Cat is ready to be tacked together so she can keep things from shifting while she works on the face which cannot get twisted at all.  This is a technique that I employ whenever a face is involved and it hasn't failed me yet.


Annette soldered the front side of her Psychedelic Dog Window and is now ready to flip it over and do the same to the back side.   I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be completed next week because she handled the front of this window almost effortlessly.

Cindy's got the top of her Baby Box completed and the bottom as well.  We were going to attach the two pieces with a hinge but then Cindy decided that she wanted to put feet on the four bottom corners of the box.   That will happen when she returns and that won't take long at all meaning that she'll have this completed and then move along to a wedding box.

 Mary Grace got the last of her glass cut out for her Louisiana Rifle and Arrow Window and then started working on grinding all of her pieces into shape.  Slow and steady winds the race and Mary Grace is already winning on this window.

Shawn worked quickly and proficiently through her class and by the time it was over she had all but one piece of her Autumn Leaves Window wrapped.  This window doesn't get a border so she'll certainly tack this and then start soldering it when she comes back in.

Tracey is working on another Grinch Window which is probably going to become her signature piece because students are still talking about her first one!  The second one always goes faster and as you can see she's wasting no time whatsoever getting her cutting done.

Once Martha completed her Rose Window she resumed work on her Wedding Invitation box.   You can easily see that her top flower is under way towards fitting together.

Lastly,  Jeanne L is about to embark on making a beveled cross suncatcher.  This is the pattern she's using and we'll see what glass she's picked out for the cross when we next return.

I promise that we'll have a tip next week along with other completed works by our students!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks