Monday, February 22, 2021

Well Butter My Onions

Something that I've just realized is that our students believe that you have to hear the sound of the glass cutter scoring the glass for it to break correctly.   I understand came to this conclusion but it is just plain incorrect.  During each students first cutting lesson I turn down the music in the shop and demonstrate cutting a piece of glass while asking the student to pay attention to the sound.  I then state that you won't hear the sound if you travel across the glass slowly.  This is entirely true but it doesn't mean that you have to hear the sound for the cut to break correctly.  It means exactly what I said: "You won't hear the sound if you travel across the glass slowly."  For the record, in no uncertain terms, you don't have to hear a sound while your cutter is making a score line for it to break.  It just takes the correct amount of pressure. 

That brings us to what this is all about.  I watch students try to cut the lines that they've traced onto their piece of glass while sliding their cutter across the glass at nearly the speed of light.   There's no accuracy involved at all and it just leads to much more grinding later on.

Even worse is when I see that the cutter never even started on the line (and I see that a lot).  Below is a perfect example of an absolutely horrible score line.  The black line is what the cutter should follow but the red dotted line is what I see more times than not. 

Start with your cutter wheel on the glass and AGAINST THE LINE.  Then S..L..O..W..L..Y run the cutter across the glass following the line whether it's straight or curved.  Again, follow the line, it's there to tell you where the cutter head should be!  Ideally you should be cutting the line off of the piece you are saving as you can see in the triangle below.  To cut the line off simply follow the inside edge of the line with your cutter wheel. The image below is a perfect example.

So, in short, take your time while cutting.   Cutting goes quickly no matter how slow you go.  You can accurately cut almost any piece in less than a minute but I often watch students grind a single piece of glass for up to 5 minutes.   Relax.  Take your time.   If you relax while cutting your glass instead of rushing through it you will EASILY be able to relax at the grinder and spend much less time there.

Okay then, here's Kerry's Nicholl's Mascot Window all finished and looking very cool indeed.  It's not often that you see a dog with sunglasses but this guy makes it work just as Kerry did in making this window.  Whenever we have two (or more) subjects that will be separated by a border or a straight line we make them independent of one another and then join them when adding the border.   If you aren't following what I'm saying just go back a few weeks and watch how Kerry made this week to week.

Linda L is going crazy with her Cricut Cutting Machine and is using it to make stencils so she can etch things onto clear glass using etching cream. This charming panel is her latest creation and it was made to be displayed in the Southern Chaos store front window.
Last week Bee said that she wanted to try making a box and this week she learned just how to do that.  This sweet little 6 piece Box (it's just one box pictured in both its opened and closed positions) went together quickly and efficiently and even has lead feet on the bottom corners.  I'm thinking that Bee will be making a few more boxes so expect to see more similar designs over the weeks to come.
Sheri took a small break from her Koi Fish Window and began and completed this cute Honeycomb suncatcher.   It's a great way to use up your amber pieces of scrap glass and if you haven't realized it by now, honeycombs are the rage!


Somehow (actually I know exactly how) Linda F's Christmas Gingerbread House was skipped last week.   Had I included it in our last post the text would have said something about her moving along at a nice rate of speed and having her project halfway ground.  This week I'm pleased to show you her completely ground Gingerbread House.  The Gingerbread man himself will gain some features using white glass paint once this is finished and that surely won't be long now.


Cindy's  highly detailed Butterfly is bigger than a suncatcher but smaller than a window.  In all honesty I never know how to describe pieces this size.   That said, Cindy's Butterfly has more pieces in it than window twice its size but she already has 78 of 137 pieces cut and ground already.  Anyone who counts differently and proves me wrong gets a gold star.

After finishing up the work on her Southern Chaos Sign, Linda L  headed over to the grinder and managed to get all but 7 pieces ground for her Cross and Flag Window.  She had the option of making things easier by adding to lead lines to make cutting and grinding easier on two pieces of the stripes but she decided to make the more difficult cuts and avoided making extra unsightly lead lines.  This project is almost finished now so the end is near.


Judy M is really on a roll.   Two weeks ago she cut out her entire Cardinal Window and then last week she completely ground it.  When she came into class this week she had everything wrapped in copper foil and managed to tack it and get the front side soldered.  With only the back side left to go I have no doubt that she'll finish this and start her next window when we see her again.  Oh, and her soldering is absolutely wonderful!
Betty is another student who is on a fast track.   In this class session we watched  her assemble and tack together her Transom window and then add a zinc channel to it.  Normally we don't apply channel this early but this window has no border to strengthen it so the channel will allow her to easily lift it up to flip it over to solder the back side. 

After finishing up her Honeycomb Suncatcher Sheri worked on attaching a mixed border of bevels and granite back glass to her Koi Fish Window. All that's left to do is fill in a few pieces of glass that are missing and then Sheri can begin the relaxing soldering phase of her window making.  She's close to the end now and looking forward to making some smaller projects after this.

Lara has all of the windows and doors cut out for her Street Scene Window and only has to wrap the pieces of the blue house on the left before she can tack this all together and then cut out the roofs and the sky.  This window taught me that although I say it all the time, 'rooves' is NOT the plural of the word 'roof'.  It must be a Pennsylvania thing.  You learn something new every day, huh?
Then we have MiMi who is working on soldering the back side of her latest Hexagon Window.  She got her front side soldered during class and her zinc channel was added so she could possibly finish this off at home.  Now that this is off of the pattern she plans on getting more pieces ground and fitted for her next size set of windows.

Meet Mr. Bingle.   Originating as a mascot of the Maison Blanche department store in New Orleans, Mr. Bingle was also used later on by Mercantile Stores and Dillard's.  If you are from or familiar with the New Orleans area you probably know Mr. Bingle.  He is a part of Cheryl's childhood and something she wanted to immortalize in glass so she's begun work on this HUGE Mr. Bingle Window.   This week she traced her pattern and next week she'll start cutting glass.
Once again the weather did not mix well with our classes so we were considerably short this week.   now that things have warmed up and roads aren't being blocked I'll guess that our class attendance will return to normal again for our next post.  Come back again next week and see for yourself!


Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, February 15, 2021

Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightening!

Last week I showed how removing redundant lead lines and curving others could make your windows look better.  If you missed that example here it is again.  The pattern on the left came from the internet.  The problem I see with this design first and foremost is that there are too many lead lines running from the flower to the outside edge of the glass.  Secondly, they are almost entirely straight which makes them look as though the glass was broken accidentally.  The pattern on the right reduces the number of lead lines but keeps the flower intact as it was in the original pattern.  Already, the pattern on the right looks better (although in all honesty I'd remove or shorten even more of those lines) but we can make it look even better by altering the flower itself.

Embrace curves.  Glass breaks in more or less a straight line so curving your cuts prevents your window from looking clunky and fractured.  Once again the pattern on the left is the original whereas the pattern on the right has been completely redrawn by exaggerating every curve in the original design.  There's a very old style charm about the original pattern but any experienced stained glass artist will tell you that it appears to have been made by a novice.  All I'm saying is that you need to overdraw your curves for a more realistic and eye-pleasing look. Also, all curves will straighten out a bit after they are leaded so don't be afraid to overcompensate to achieve a more delicate, flowing design.  Zoftig flowers are beautiful!

First up we have Cheryl who completed her Lighthouse Window with time to spare.  Her border choices are perfection as they add to the window without drawing attention away from the main focus of the design.  While making this Cheryl recognized some problem areas and then fixed them rather than turning a blind eye to them and that's exactly how I like to see my students handle a problem!

Sheri's Peeking Cat Hanging will most surely find a home resting against the side of a window somewhere.   This is so adorable!  I have to say that Sheri's cutting and grinding is spot on here in this festive cat.  I also love the abstract color placement which gives this so much style.
Bee finished her Flower Window and does it ever sparkle!  She made this window 100% completely on her own not wanting help with any part of the creation of this beauty.  This window is only 12 inches tall and wide so you know that these pieces were tough to work with yet Bee pulled it all off flawlessly.
Barbara's Tulip Panel is another small project measuring only 7 inches wide.  As I said before, this is part of a series of flower panels that Barbara is making.   Next week she'll begin work on a small Tulip panel made in various shades of purple. 
Cindy finished her Septet of Multi Colored Feathers (a good vocabulary is a good thing) and do they ever look lovely indeed.  And they're made out of scrap glass so how could she lose with these? 
Helen put the finishing touches on her latest LSU Window.  She worked hard on getting her outside edges perfectly straight which allowed her border to go on flawlessly as you can see for yourself. 
Next up we have two more of Susan D's Spiraling Christmas Trees complete with decorative wire, a star tree topper, and a single hanging ball on the bottom right.  She's used iridized glass in both of these and I have to say that she's got these down to a science now.
Linda L made three more Framed Bevel Suncatchers (although I only have one pictured below) and she is ready to move along to something else.    That something else will be seen a little later on in this post.

Meanwhile, Cindy is making a gradual move from Bird Feathers to Butterfly Wings.  These wings have a lot of detail but that's the way that Cindy loves to work.  Small pieces put a big smile on her face so this Butterfly pattern should have Cindy absolutely beaming! 

Linda L is back to working on widows and this American Flag and Cross Window is more than well under way.  It looks like Linda only has to cut out the red stripes of the flag and then she'll be ready to begin grinding.

Well, I'll be.  First my Aunt sent me a picture of a Cat on a Moon suncatcher and then Shelley walked in the door with the pattern in her hand and her glass all picked out.  Not only that but a second student also showed me the picture saying that she wanted to do one as well.  When it rains it pours.   That said, this is ready to be wrapped and soldered and should be finished upon Shelley's return. 
Betty's Transom Window went together quickly and efficiently as she left with her entire background cut and ground!  This window won't get a border so all Betty needs to do now is wrap this, tack it, and then solder it together.  Part of the design isn't showing at this point because it will only become visible when the window has been soldered.  In other words, there's more to this than currently meets the eye.
Susan R's Flower Teapot Panel is also tacked together and ready for solder.  She's another student who is making numerous decorative panels for a wrought iron frame that can be found in her yard.  Changing out the panels is a great way for her to change things up each season or for whenever she wants to look at something different.  
When Judy M left last week she had cut out all of the glass for her first window.  This week she spent her time at a grinder and ended her class with a completely and perfectly ground Cardinal!  I have got to say that I'm very impressed with how quickly Judy has caught on and can't wait to see this hanging up.
Speaking of cardinals, Tracey finished all of the grinding on her Cardinal Window and then set upon wrapping each of those pieces.   We discovered one piece of leaf that was mis-cut as background glass but Tracey will bring in some more of her green glass next week and then we will fill in that missing hole this complete this bird.
Ann got her Cross Window all tacked together and only needs to work on her borders now.  She's decided to go all out on this one and go with a triple border.  A triple border with wrap around corners!  What's that you ask?  I doubt we'll be able to fully show you what wrap around corners are next week because they can be somewhat time consuming and tricky but I'm going to say that you'll be able to see then two weeks from now when each layer is assembled.

Melissa's Calico Wine Cats got both of it's borders this week starting with a thin white border to finish off the illusion of the window frame within a window.  To be honest, I wasn't sure how this would look with a second border but I must say that I like it VERY much! Just wait until you see this lit up.
As for MiMi, well, what can I say.  She's still as busy as a bee with her honeycomb windows and will be for quite some time.   That said, the precision on these is certainly impressive, is it not?
Mary has begun soldering her Dove and Cross Window this week saw her get every piece of glass cut, ground, foiled, and tacked.  Once that was done she began soldering the front side of this stunning window.  Once she has this soldered we'll add a circular Zinc channel to it and then it will be out the door for its final trip home with her!
These are Susan D's remaining Christmas Trees.  Actually she has the two completed tree's that we saw earlier in this post on the board as well).  I suspect she'll have more of these finished when she comes back in.
And this is the part where I regret to say that Rowena escaped without my getting a picture of her LOVE window.  I'm thinking it could very well be completed when she returns since it was all wrapped and ready to go when she walked out the door.  Look for LOVE next week!


Monday, February 8, 2021

It's a Dumpster Fire


Lead lines are a very important part of making stained glass.  They provide us with a way to make complex cuts much easier.     Below is a window that I found on the internet.   You'll note that any time any part of the flower forms a point there is a lead line running from that point to the outside edge of the background glass.  The thing is, not all of those lines are necessary.  Also, by making those lead lines run straight  the look jarring and detract from the rose itself.  Simply curving those lines will soften the look of this window dramatically.   


Now here's my modified idea of the same basic pattern.  First I removed two of the top lead lines that previously ran to the top of the window.  Although the petals have points there they are very soft points that honestly don't need lines running from them.  To 'fix' the other lines I simply curved them so that they flow with, rather than fracture, the background glass.  Scroll back and forth between the two images and I think you'll see that the bottom one is a far more graceful window.  Next week I'm going to curve the flower itself to show you just how important curves are.

With that out of the way we now turn to Martha who put a zinc channel around her Pelican window, washed it, patina'ed it,  washed it again and then waxed it.  Yep, that means that she has completed her window.  She believes that it took her forever to make but I disagree.   She worked with great precision at a perfect rate of speed leaving her with a window that she can be proud of.
Linda L  has three more Beveled Diamond Suncatchers completed and you can even see that one of them has a chemically etched initial in the center of the bevel.  I think that this may be the first time we've seen a student work with etching cream, but it may not be the last time...

Here are Susan D's latest Beveled Christmas Ornaments.  Susan trimmed the two of these using gold Van Gogh glass which is actually a sheet of glue chip glass with a gold backing applied.   It's application in these ornaments is pure perfection!

Angie finished soldering her latest Address Window and I know it will surely be appreciated.   I love the background that she picked--  That white with just a hint of blue running throughout it works in tandem with the dark blue border wonderfully.

Judy started her first 'real' window with us and for that project she decided to make a Cardinal.  In just one night she managed to get the entire window cut out which means that next week she'll find herself working at the grinder making sure that every piece fits together flawlessly.
Bee finished cutting and grinding the remaining pieces of her somewhat avant-garde Flower Window which means that this is ready for a border.   She has the strips cut out already (you can see one of them to the right of the window and the entire sheet of border glass above it).  Bee hopes to get her border attached while at home and then solder it before she comes back.
Betty has begun work on a large Transom Window which will be her first piece for hire.   It's a good three feet wide but the pattern repeats which means that she'll be making all of the accent sections and then, after they've been cut, ground, and tacked she'll trace them onto the background pieces.   Working this way will make the creation of this window go quickly and efficiently.

Rowena is making a LOVE Panel and in the span of just one class she managed to get the pattern drawn and traced out, then the glass cut and partially ground.   She's a quick worker who just LOVES her work.
Susan R's  Flower Teapot was ground while she was in class and now she's wrapping her pieces in copper foil   This is going to be the centerpiece for a window so we'll most likely see a background cut around this Teapot when Susan comes back in.
After completing the Pelican Window that we saw at the top of this post Martha then began working on a Sunflower Heart which, as you can see, she's already begun to grind.  Looking good!   
Sheri got all of the background wrapped for her Koi Fish Window  after which  she then moved on to tacking it all together.   There are four or five pieces that didn't fit as perfectly as she would like so she left them open so  she could place a piece of glass behind her tacked window and then trace around the inside of the opening to make a perfect replacement piece.  However, before she does that she'll need to add a border to make sure that her window is nice and sturdy before she starts lifting it to slide glass underneath it.
Cheryl's Lighthouse Window got its double borders attached  which means that this is all set for solder.   She really hopes to be able to finish this project next week (it's a gift) so she's taken it home to get a head start on the soldering.  Time will tell what will happen but I have a good feeling about this being finished for a very timely unwrapping.

With all of her pieces ground and fitting together wonderfully, Ann began wrapping her Cross.   She only has the center circular section left to go and then she'll tack this together and work on getting her clear textured background glass cut.  After that she only has a few border pieces to work on and that won't take any time at all.

Mary Grace finished grinding her Angel Suncatcher and then set upon foiling all those carefully ground pieces.   At the end of the day she had the task completed and is now ready to solder this beautiful, delicate suncatcher.

Barbara H came in and cut out the background for her small Tulips Panel, ground those pieces, wrapped them and then tacked it all together so she could get a border attached as well.   By the time she left for home she was ready to solder this small but stunning stained glass vista which we'll see completed upon her return.
Cindy has four of her stained glass feathers all ready to be soldered with another three ready to be wrapped.  I won't be surprised to see these amongst our completed projects in our next post.  Cindy wastes no time at all when she has a soldering iron in her hand.

Kerry got the border cut out and attached on his Nicholls Dog Window and even got the front side soldered as well.   What you see below is the back side of the window and you can see that he's already begun soldering that side as well.   This will almost surely be completed when he comes back in.

MiMi, the work horse that she is, has begun grinding all the hexagon pieces for her third Cabinet Insert Panel.  She says that at this point in time it isn't really going much faster (she picked up extra speed on the second panel that she made) but that it is far less stressful and much easier for her to manage all of these hexagon pieces now.
Lisa came in the with bottom 2021 section of her United States Coast Guard Window all put together and tacked into place.   She had also brought in a wooden frame that she wants to mount her window into so we measured out what size the finished window needed to be and then figured out the sizes for  a double border to surround the glass.   By the time she walked out of class she had her window ready for its final coat of solder.
Lastly, Susan D also worked on a slew of Swirling Christmas Trees while she was in class.   At this point they are all set to be soldered and 'wire worked'.  It may look like the majority of the work has been done on these but tinning and twisting all of the wires that finish off these trees takes more time than you'd believe. 
So there you have it!

Bayou Salé GlassWorks