Monday, October 26, 2020

Look, I've Maximized My Space!

This weeks tip is simple yet very useful.  Twice this week I saw students try to trace along another piece of glass to mark a curve only to watch them miss the curve entirely.

The marker you are using to trace the glass must be angled slightly so the point follows along the edge of the glass.  If your marker isn't angled (or angled the wrong direction) then the line will be too far away from what you are tracing.  To follow the glass make sure your point is against the piece you are tracing.  Also, grind any glass before you trace it or your marker tip will become cut up and useless. 

With that out of the way let's look at Linda F's Pumpkin Cornucopia which is everything that I thought it would be.  How can you NOT love this window?  The greatness just comes pouring out of it and I'll bet it won't be long before someone else wants to make it.


I always say that if you put your heart and soul into a window you get it all back in spades and Melissa's Quad Fleur De Lis is living proof.  Yes, it was a lot of work but the end result is stunning. No one can deny that this was a labor of love.  Note how all four of her Fleur De Lis' match perfectly.

To say that Kerry's first Mosquito Suncatcher was a work in progress doesn't even begin to describe it.  I was unsure how the 'stinger' or proboscis could be attached without having it easily breaking off and then the legs posed the same problem.  In the end we persevered and those wire legs and that 'snout' aren't going anywhere.  I wish you could see this in real life because it really is a head turner!
Susan R's Colorful Lawn Ornament was finished this week and much like the Mosquito above, this was also made while wondering how we would get around obstacles.  The original pattern had large glass globs for eyes but Susan had enlarged it so that the globs (which only come in one size) were too small.  In the end we filled up the empty space surrounding the green globs with an off white glass which worked perfectly.  Waldo The Owl looks better than ever!
Barbara H put the finishing touches on her LSU Window by soldering the back side and then adding some brass channel around the edges.  By the end of class she was ready to take this home for the very last time so she can display it proudly.
Bee's Circular Birds On A Branch gained some beaded eyeballs (on both sides no less) and a hook to hang them from after she soldered the second side and added a bead to the outside edge perimeter of this delightful large suncatcher.  This is her second version of these birds and she can almost knock these out with her eyes closed by now.

This Angel has been around since the 80's and it's one that I make almost every year (and sell as well).  It looks great, has only a few pieces in it, and it's easy to cut and grind.  What could be better???  I think Angie agrees with me on all of the points I listed above because she cut and ground this in just one class.  Look out.
Cheryl's Pelican Window is coming together quickly.  There are only a few pieces left to go before she starts grinding this.  We lucked out and found a glass for the sky that resembled the picture that she saw even though the glass was a completely different color in reality.  That said, this is yet another great color for the sky because it's something different that you would actually see over water. 

Lara has begun cutting out the Cow and Flowers piece that all out students marveled at when it was just a pattern on the wall.  This week she completed the cutting and then moved over to the grinder to get the perfect fits that you see below.  I have no doubt that this will be completed inside of two weeks.

MiMi has her work cut out for her. Wait a minute, that's a bad choice of phrases in this particular context.  MiMi certainly has a TON of cutting to do as she cuts boatloads of elongated hexagons from all different clear textured glasses.  The end result will be an elongated honeycomb pattern for a number of cabinet doors in her house.   She started cutting this week and I think she'll have a few more weeks worth of cutting ahead of her.  As I always say though,  if you put your heart and soul into a window you'll get it all back in spades.
Cindy resumed work on her Crab and Corn tray.  She's also rearranged the claws of the crab so they'll be more sturdy in her second iteration of this incredibly cute piece.   Next week she'll start on the kernels of corn.  It's a good thing that she likes working with small pieces!
Linda F started cutting out this Houston Logo Window and in the span of one class she has it ready to be ground.  Wait a minute, you mean that ISN'T ground already?  Nope, that's just good old fashioned accurate cutting.
Mary's Dove and Cross Window has an impressive amount of pieces in it but even more impressive is the fact that she's already got the dove all cut out.   She'll be working on this one section at a time so that means she'll grind, wrap and then tack the dove together before starting on the background of this divine window.
Melissa started work on this Fish Panel once she realized that her Quad Fleur De Lis Window didn't need her attention any more.  She's currently not thrilled with the way this is looking but I know that once she  grinds it and fills in the background she'll be more than happy with it.  (I've seen this happen before time and time again.)
Here are the eight gold Santa Faces for Betty's Daughter's gold Christmas Tree.  Wait a minute, did I say eight?  Yep, she had dropped a piece and was re-cutting it when I snapped this picture.   These are all soldered and now only need some wire work which will happen upon her return.

And here is (essentially) what Annette's Double Fleur De Lis Window will look like.   She got all of her background cut and attached which leaves just a border left to cut.  That should easily happen when Annette comes in for her next class.
And here's Ann's version of the Quad Fleur De Lis Window.   This week she managed to get the backgrounds for her last three remaining fleur de lis cut, ground, wrapped, and tacked.  That means that she's ready for a border and then some solder!

Lisa's stunning Tree of Life Window is, well, stunning!  That sky is perfection and the mixed greens in the tree top stop it from becoming one big green blob.   She'll be grinding this when she comes back in and knowing Lisa she'll do that quickly and efficiently.
Lisa also cut out 4 C's that she'll be hanging little paws from in the center (which she'll leave open).  Look closely and you can see the paws in the picture.  More on this when we return next week.
Jan was hard pressed when it came time to decide between two different pieces of blue for her inside accent color border.  Although I loved the one she didn't pick, I felt it was too dark for the window and in the end everyone else agreed as well.   Looking at the blue that she chose, it is indeed a perfect fit.  She's also got the final border cut out as well, but she had that bagged to take home to wrap when I took this picture.
Martha is making another Dragonfly Window and she's started that by working first on the dragonfly.  Now that she has it cut and ground (perfectly I might add), she'll be able to start working on the background glass after which she'll 'cut' the dragonfly into.

With her Sunflower Heart all ground Tracey is now working on the foiling stage of the creation process.  This will surely be finished upon her return.  I do believe she has a second one of these waiting to be ground after this is completed.

Linda got her second Address Window ground and wrapped this week and then she moved back to the first window and got a border cut for it.  With barely an inch to spare she got all the strips cut and then broken down to their correct size.  I suspect that we'll see a border for her second window when she comes back in.

Shawn got her first ornament completed for her Christmas Ornament Window and has moved along to a second one.  I like the fact that she picked one of the hardest ones to do first because that means that her work will get easier and easier as she moves along from ornament to ornament.
With her Geometric Window all cut and ground (and fitting together within a millimeter of perfection) she's begun wrapping all of her pieces with quarter inch foil.  This is a large window and small flaws show up even more so in windows of this size.  Alas, Susan's has not a single flaw in sight which means that the possible problem never even barely existed for her.

Sheri's flowers are cut and things are looking great here.   Next week we'll see if she picks some water or begins grinding. Either way, she's charging to the finish line with this beautiful window.

Now that Roxane has her Nativity scene all tacked together (save for the sky) I was able to draw the left and right side panels which will make this one long window.  Next week we'll look at the big picture!

Finally, I'd swear I took a picture of Beth B's Address window but there's no sign of it on my camera's SD card.  I guess you'll have to take my word when I say that her window is all ground and waiting to be foiled.  I'll be sure to get a picture of it (probably with a border cut for it) when she comes back in.


Bayou Salé GlassWorks




Monday, October 19, 2020

Come Hell Or High Water

Here in the south Dragonflies are very popular.  We've seen a lot of dragonfly suncatchers being made but most students have issues getting the notches in the lengths of the body to line up nicely.  Here's an easy was to fix that problem.

See that long notched body piece in the bottom center of the dragonfly in the pattern below?  Most people try to follow the curves with their cutter which inevitably ends up leaving them with an unsymmetrical body. The trick is to cut it straight along the widest points of the body. In other words, follow the red line I've drawn along the body.

Once you've cut the piece it will be un-defined as in the picture below.  I suppose it's acceptable (if you're an EXTREME beginner) but in under one minute you can have it looking FAR, far better.
Just push into the piece with your grinder wheel at the spots indicated by the arrows and you'll begin to get that all important detail.  Once done, flip your piece to the other side and place the same indents directly opposite the first set you made.

So there you have it.  A perfect dragonfly body with very little work.  Remember that smaller, intricate details are usually achieved at the grinder, so examine your patterns and learn to plan for that before you start cutting your pieces.

Speaking of smaller, intricate pieces, MiMi put the finishing touches on her Combat Vet Window this week making it look even better than ever.   She even attached a lead figure to the chute for an extra bit of pizazz.  To form the body we found a paratrooper silhouette, traced it onto copper foil, cut it out and added lead to it.  Once it was peeled off of the plate glass that we soldered it on we simply tacked it into place to the window which made it like the icing on a cake.  MiMi's work is top notch on this window, wouldn't you agree?

Check out Mario!  Shawn's rendition is top notch and I think I'll have one of these in tow the next time we do a show.  In the end we painted the eyes on the cloud and the red 'M' on Mario's cap.  I have to say that this makes me want to play Super Mario Bros. 3 again!

Cindy's Colorado Window captures the logo perfectly and that mountain with its snow cap really shows off her abilities.  This looks simple enough but it's certainly not a beginners pattern by any stretch of the imagination.  Look at that snowcap!

This was the Geometric Window that Cindy completed two weeks ago that I never got a picture of.  Luckily enough she still had the window at home and brought it in so I could share it with you all. Stunning.

Here's Cheryl's interpretation of a Franklin Street Light.  She did a great job especially when you consider that this is only her second window with us.  Way to go!

Angie put the finishing touches on 5 different Dragonfly Flower Pot Ornaments, two of which are pictured here.  Whether these are made as flower pot ornaments or suncatchers, they always brighten up the area.

Helen made this butterfly while at home and finished up the soldering while in class.  She wants to work on her own as well as in class and I've found that that's always the best way to learn.   When you don't have the teacher at hand you are forced to make decisions on your own which is paramount to building your skills.
Annette completed the work on her second (large) Fleur De Lis and is now ready to join the large one to the small one with the background glass.  The shape is odd but it fits inside an existing window for a friend of hers.   Since this is so large Annette is wrapping her background glass and border pieces with 1/4 inch foil to help make it more stable.  

Cindy also began working on this crab Tray  She's already made this in the past and she's flying through her second pass at what will be a 3D tray.  Look at the inner curves on those claws. 


Kerry managed to get two of his three mosquitoes ground and you know what Meatloaf has to say about that--  "Now don't be sad 'cause two out of three ain't bad".  There's going to be a lot of wire work on these but luckily the wire will be thin making it easier to work with.

And Bee is well on her way to wrapping her Birds On A Branch Window hanging.  The small pieces don't scare her and her pieces fit together as precise as can be.  This is becoming a popular piece to make here in our classes and Bee's excellent work will only make it more popular.
Linda F has her Pumpkin Cornucopia Window all soldered and will be ready to wash and color it when she returns for her next class.  She might very well have had it completed this week but she had to leave early for an appointment.  We'll surely be seeing this finished and then get some work get done on her next project when she returns. 

Ann got her background wrapped and tacked together which allowed her to start cutting the actual background glass for her Fleur De Lis'.  One is completed (and tacked) while a second one is almost all ground now.   At this rate I'm thinking that she might even get her border cut out next week.
Linda L has her first Address Window ready to be foiled after which she'll attach a border and solder it.  Talk about paying attention to the lines-- those numbers look like they've been typed out on a type writer!

Lisa's Tree Of Life Window is looking incredible before it has even been completely cut or ground.  She's mixing two similar but different greens for the leaves of the tree and the glass she's using is perfection.  I'm really loving this design.

After completing Mario, Shawn anxiously began her Christmas Ornament Window.   She's started with the bottom right ornament and next week we'll see more of them cut out.  People have been going crazy over this pattern since they saw it hanging on the wall waiting for Shawn to start it.

Martha's Pelican Window is another example of glass perfection.   That sky, as dark as it may first appear, makes this window shine because it's not quite what most people would pick for a sky.  I've had similar results using purples for sky tones.   And just look at that piling that the Pelican is sitting on.  Gorgeous.

Mary Grace is working on her second Address Window and her colors are vivid and EASILY readable.  At this rate she'll be working on her third Address Window before you know it.  She got it all foiled, wrapped and tacked this week and then got the border cut as well so next weeks progress will surely impress our readers.

Roxane's Nativity Scene is still missing its sky but the rest of it is ground and is now being wrapped.   Once it's tacked together I'll draw up the two side panels that will make this one long window and Roxane will know how much blue will be needed and just what shade to cut it from.

Susan D has been busy grinding her large Geometric Flower Window and she's got two of the corners fitting together nicely.   This window is bigger than 4 square feet so she'll also be wrapping this in 1/4 inch foil for added strength.  Big windows demand extra stability so we'll also be using a heavy zinc channel on this as well.
Sheri's making steady progress on her Koi Window.  She's still undecided about what she'll use for the water but she has options and is eying numerous pieces of blue glass.  Next week she'll begin cutting out the Water Lilies and after that she'll make her final water choice.


Susan R just needs to cut out the whites of her Owl's eyes and then she'll be taking this home for the last time.  This surely is a cute and colorful Owl who will look a bit more lively once he has his eyes!

Tracey started work on a Sunflower Heart and she's already set to grind it.  To be honest, it doesn't look like that will take long at all since it looks like it's been ground already!  Blue and yellow go together so well, I suppose that's why everyone loves this design when it's finished.

Our last Window is Melissa's Quad Fleur De Lis.  It's all cut out and tacked together with the front side nearly completely soldered.   Yes, the end is near and Melissa says she's ready to move along to something new.  I can't wait to see this hanging.

Before ending this I have to say that Tracey got away yet again without me taking a picture of her Butterfly Lawn Ornament.   She IS a sneaky one.  And Mary as well!  She's working on a Dove Window that will knock your socks off when I show it to you next week.  See you then!