Monday, January 31, 2022

It's Done When It's Done

It's come to my attention that a lot of our students don't realize that you can 'sharpen' your standard razor knife (or box cutter).  For trimming foil I've found that a cheap dollar store variety of razor knives works just fine.  The one thing you need to realize is that the blade MUST be extremely sharp or it will tear your foil rather than cutting it.  I change my blade just about each day that I use it.  Sounds expensive right?  Nope, not at all.  If your blade is extendable (as 99.99% of dollar store razor knives are) then you have multiple tips on each blade.  In the picture below I've extended the blade revealing  diagonal lines that allow you to break off a section leaving you with a new (and sharp) tip.  Before I go further along I need to say that the first rule of these simple instructions is:

1) NEVER snap your blade without wearing safety glasses.

2) To break off the bad point simply extend the blade so that the first line is past the edge of the blade guard.  The picture below shows exactly where that first line should be.  That 'line' is actually a perforation of sorts.  

3) Take a pair of pliers and line them up so that the edge of the pliers don't cross the line on the blade.

4) You should be holding the razor knife in one hand and the pliers in your other hand. Making sure that you are wearing eye protection hold the knife firmly while applying controlled pressure in a downward twist with the pliers. Do not make sudden snapping moves, just exert continuing pressure until the blade breaks off cleanly. If by chance it won't break try bending it back and forth (up and down) until it snaps off.

And that's all there is to it.   Once you've done this a few times you'll find that you don't need a pair of pliers because most razor knives come with a built in tool for the job.  We'll cover that and one other razor knife tip in our next post.  If you thought this was amazing, wait until you see what we show you what secrets your razor knife hold when we return next week.

Okay then, it's time to address the fact that Susan R's Wine Hoop puts everyone who looks at it on Cloud Wine.  I knew it was going to look great but all of that twisted wire work really put this over the top.  This is what a Hoop Project is all about-- large wide open areas that would have to be cut into smaller sections with lead lines running all throughout if you were to fill the background with glass.  Now that all of her work on this has been completed perhaps Susan will stop and smell the rosé!


Next we have Susan D's Cardinal Branch Decoration which is another stunning piece of art. Susan  went for broke on this and had her bird and leaves attached to the branch before I even knew she was ready for that final step.  And it was only when I went to take the picture when I saw that she even added little glass berries to the branch as well.  Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit because this turned out perfectly!!


Betty was as busy as can be and came in with four large Suncatchers ready to be soldered.   She's made one of the Mardi Gras Masks that I haven't seen made for a least 5 or 6 years now.  That said, later on in this post you'll see someone else working on Mardi Gras masks.  Before we get to that I really want to point out how perfectly Betty's Knot Cross came out.   Everything lines up so perfectly and the curves are all very fluid and graceful.

Now Cindy had this Pelican Suncatcher completed along with all of the other suncatchers she had finished last week but while we were getting it ready for a hook we discovered a break in the neck.   So she took it home and back came in this week with it repaired and looking fine.  We added a hook and Cindy has taken this bird to market!
Cindy also worked on her Nautical Themed Tray by getting the background cut and ground on the left side of the piece. By the time she left the Seahorse and the Life Preserver/Anchor were all tacked together. That leaves just the background of the dolphin on the and then a beveled border that frames it all.  I have to say that the colors she's chosen are perfect all around!
June finished cutting all of the glass for her Plane Window save for the sun itself but that should take less than one minute to cut.  She's got her water all ground and fitting together nicely and is working her way up from the bottom.  Even though it isn't ground yet you can clearly see what the plane looks like.  In other words, this is looking good!
Linda F began this beautiful multicolored Stained Glass Cross and I have a feeling that it's going to be very popular.   Not only is it gorgeous- it's also a GREAT way to use up some of that scrap glass that piles up in everyone's workshop!

Steve is working on a Cheshire Cat that doesn't have a face so much as big expressive features.  Yep, what you see is what you get.  It's a great design and the gold tooth that he's added gives this grinning cat even MORE character (if that's possible).  

Judy appears to be working from the outside inward on her Sunflower Window.   She cut out both her blue sky and her Root Beer Brown border this week which means that the blank flower sections will be filled in with green and yellow when she comes back into class.

Susan R not only completed the wire work on her Wine Hoop but she also  managed to get two Mardi Gras Masks cut out as well.  She's already grinding the first one to get a perfect fit and I doubt these will take her long at all.

Barbara's got a nice little abstract Panel going on which is a stained glass rendition of a drawing that her brother's grand daughter came up with. When this is finished I'll give you a side by side comparison of the window and the drawing.

Once Susan D finished her Cardinal on a Branch she set herself to work on this pair of Flower Angels.  I know she has two of them cut out but I also see two more heads in the picture which suggests to me that she may be making at least one other pair of these.

Lara had her Beach Sunset Window all ground and wrapped in foil when she walked in the door.  She didn't have any borders cut yet but that was done during class as you can see in the picture below.  Her colors are perfection and this window is now ready to be soldered.  Pass me a Tequila Sunrise, please!

Meanwhile, Lisa's orange sky and red sun reminds me of Lara's window up above!  The trees that are featured in this pair of windows are completely different and although they are both very calming, they achieve their effect in different ways.  Instead of an alcoholic beverage, Lisa's circular Matsu Tree scene makes me think of meditation, Tai chi, and massages complete with aromatherapy.  Alas,  Lisa was possibly feeling a little stressed when dealing with all of those tiny pieces because what you really can't see is the fact that this tranquil scene is only 12 inches in diameter.
Let came in and got her borders cut and ground and then even managed to tack everything together.   She's already begun soldering and really only has only the back of this left to go before she can take it home.  She already has her next pattern in mind and that's a good thing because she'll be starting it next week after she finishes her Santa.

Is MiMi on a roll or what?  Her newest Hexa-long Window Insert is all ground and ready to be foiled.  That entertainment room is coming together quickly now!
Linda F also worked on her Fish Panel of which the front side is completely soldered already.   I have no doubt that the back of this will be completed when Linda comes back in and that we'll be looking at this with some back lighting behind it when you see it in our next post.

Mary Grace's Peacock Window is well underway now that everything has been tacked together.  She's traced out the pattern pieces for her background glass and I'm pretty sure that will all get cut out upon her return because there really isn't all that much background glass to cut.  

Cheryl is well under way with her first of three Boxes.   The larger Wedding Invitation top has been completed leaving only five pieces of glass left to cut for that one.   Cheryl has decided (wisely) to go with single borders for the two smaller Mr. Bingle boxes and those will be under construction before you know it.
Mary's Morning Glory and Butterfly window is all cut out but she had packed it away before I could get a picture.  Well, here's a look at six of the pieces anyway!  Next week she'll be grinding so she won't be able to disassemble the entire project which means that you'll get a much better look at what she's making when we return with our next post.
And there you have it!


Monday, January 24, 2022

Put Your Beak On, Big Daddy

If you are having difficulty getting your foil to stick onto your glass pieces  you may very well want to try washing your glass.  Just dipping the piece in water and drying it off (thoroughly) can go a long way to getting the foil to adhere securely to your glass.  I do this any time There's been more than 2 weeks between my grinding the piece and wrapping it.

Okay then, first up we look at  Betty's Mardi Gras Jester which is a large suncatcher that captures that Mardi Gras feeling perfectly with its bright colors and mirthful design.  This is yet another great piece by Betty but let's face it-- we always know we can expect that from her!

Steve's Karate Crane showcases how simplicity can still create an incredibly moving piece of art. With only eight pieces of glass along with a small amount of twisted wire Steve has created a chef-d'oeuvre that looks far more delicate than it really is.  That's all because of the great construction that Steve put into this.
Judy's finished her Wedding Invitation Box which she started way back in 2021.  Actually this was her second week working on it and all she had left to do was make the bottom box section and then attach the lid that she had made the last time she was here.  As you can see it all went together perfectly. 
Well Cindy was as busy as can be during her 2 weeks off of classes.  Let's start the tour of her completed pieces by checking out the two Heart Suncatchers that she put together.

 Next we look at two crosses that Cindy made using only clear textures along with some iridised glass.

But wait, there's more!  Cindy also made a elaborate Parrot, two more Cross/Hearts and another Unicorn head.  Let's just say that Cindy's window is certainly full!

Next up we have Shawn who wrapped up the work on her last Christmas Ornament of 2021.   I'm not sure what she's making next but I'm fairly sure that it won't have anything to do with Christmas.  Great job on this BTW.
Speaking of final Christmas Ornaments, Mary finished and took home the pair she had been working on.  The one on the right came from the same pattern that Shawn (up above) used and even utilizes the same colors, just with a different color placement.


And now we're at the part where we check out the projects that are still under construction.  Let's start with June's Airplane project.  This is her first full sized window and she's moving along wonderfully.  All of the background has been cut which means that when she comes back in she'll start cutting out the actual airplane itself. The propellers and the struts will be added after this has been ground.

Lisa's making a gorgeous Circular Tree design that will reside in a stand which will display this on a table top.   She's using bright vibrant colors all throughout this and her use of mixed greens for the tree is superb.  The red sun against an orange sky really set this off.


Speaking of reds and oranges, next up we look at the multi colored fish that Linda F is making and is almost finished with.  It doesn't take much time for her to knock something like this out.  Don't think that this is a suncatcher though-- it WILL become a panel next week when Linda cuts out the background glass for this.

Next up we look at the Mardi Gras Fleur De Lis that Kerry is hard at work on.  Once his background was all cut and tacked together Kerry next assembled the bevel border that the alternating gold, green and purple border with fit next to.  As you can see they're already cut which means that Kerry has only 16 pieces of glass to grind into place before attaching his final border.

Let is moving along at an astounding pace on her first window.   She started this Santa Face last week (which means that she's the first person this year to begin working on Christmas items!) and she's already up to the first of her two borders.   She actually has the first one cut out and ground and has taken it home with her to foil over the weekend.   I have no doubt that she'll be soldering this upon her return.

Sheri is also making quick work of her project.  This Double Mardi Gras Mask window is one of my favorite patterns and Sheri is MORE than doing it justice! I've considered making this myself and I have a feeling that once I see Sheri's version of it completed I will end up starting one of my own.
Susan R has all of her Hoop Wine Scene soldered and she even got the wire twisted for all of the wire work that this piece involves.  Next week that will be tacked into place and Susan will walk out the door with yet another completed project.  This already looks stupendous even before the wires are attached!
Next we have Susan D's Cardinal on a Branch  which is all tacked together and now just awaiting its final soldering.  I can't wait to see this get attached to it's lead branch and colored because I have never seen this done before.  Susan's going to teach an old Paul new tricks!
Cheryl has stopped working on her Fleur De Lis Window temporarily until she gets these three boxes completed.   It's all about priorities and as you might (or might not) be able to see she's got a wedding box started which usually means that there's a deadline involved.  Luckily boxes go quickly.

Lastly we look at the pattern that Ann will begin working on when she comes back in.  This week she got it all traced out onto poster board and worked out what colors will go where.  Join her seven days from now when we get to see her cutter hit the glass!
And there you have it.  In out next post we'll see a few new projects begun (that we haven't revealed yet).  And, of course,  we'll see some of the projects from this post turn into completed projects.  See you then!


Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Monday, January 17, 2022

Someone's Full Of It

Something that we see happening in class involves the incorrect positioning of the marker while tracing around the edge of a piece of glass.   People are angling the marker so that the point is actually away from the edge of the glass (see the left example).   You want the tip of the marker AGAINST the glass that you are tracing.   Even if you hold the marker in a perfectly vertical position the tip won't touch the piece of glass that you are supposed to be tracing.  Look at the illustration on the right for the correct angle of the marker.  The point of the marker MUST be touching the glass you are tracing if you want an accurate line. 

Also, NEVER trace along a piece of glass that hasn't first had its edges ground on the grinder.  That will destroy the tip of your marker.  Lastly, use very light pressure while marking your glass.   You are using a felt tipped marker, not a ball point pen--exerting pressure onto the tip of the marker won't  make the line any easier to see but it WILL ruin the delicate tip of the marker.

First up we have Linda F's Victorian Window which has now been completed.  Linda's done another great job working on this fairly large window.  She's used all muted, almost pastel, colors to set the tone for it, and then made sure that she only used cathedral glass throughout the window lending it even more character.   The end result is nothing short of stunning.


Lisa is always making things that are just a little bit out of the ordinary.  There are very few pieces that merely hang in a window in her stained glass portfolio.   Her latest project is a Honeycomb and Bees which she's mounted into a plank cut from a tree with the bark still surrounding its perimeter.  It's another head turner, that's for sure and if you don't believe me just look at the number of 'likes' it's gotten in the 'Stained Glass Patterns' page on Facebook.  It's a certified hit for all of the right reasons!
Then there's Steve who finished the work on his Stained Glass Door Panel which was made to commemorate the front door of his Grandmother's house.   The house may no longer be in the family but the distinctive door that always welcomed Steve into a house full of wonderful of memories will always be with him now that he's made this. 

Our newest student, June, has created her first project with us and regular readers know that means that we're about to look at a Butterfly Suncatcher.  June picked a pink glass with just a hint of blue running through it for her wings and then used a wispy blue for both the body and head of the Butterfly.  I can't wait to see what future projects June has in store for us.
As the Beatles once famously said, "Number 9.... number 9".   This is MiMi's 9th panel and she's already getting started on her next one which she is currently referring to as 'Deci'.  
Shelley is our Mermaid Queen and this is her latest Mermaid.  She worried about the shells blending into the flesh too much but I think that it's very obvious that this Mermaid isn't immodest at all.  Another Mermaid well done.

Annette's still got that passion for Christmas and now that she's completed another Santa/Gnome and an pink Angel she only has (I think) one more Christmas Suncatcher to go before she begins another window.
Ann finished up the cross that she had begun working on last week and then even had time to pick out what window she'll begin when she next returns.  Judging by her excellent work on this it's safe to say that these crosses pose no challenge for Ann (as you can clearly see).


Shawn is in the exact same boat as her mother.   She has two more Christmas Ornaments under her belt this week leaving her with just one more Christmas suncatcher to complete before she moves along to something a little less seasonal.

First up in our projects still under construction part of this post we have a look at a Fleur De Lis Window that Cheryl began working on. With the center section all cut out she's begun grinding from the bottom left hand corner.  Since the subject pokes out of the window and into the border Cheryl can't use a square to keep this straight along the outer perimeter so she'll just need to pin everything down as she moves along being careful not to allow any of the end pieces to extend past the lines on her pattern.

Sheri is hard at work and burning both ends of her stained glass candle!  Here you can see the two windows that she is working on concurrently: her Sugar Skull and her Mardi Gras Masks.  Both are looking good but I'm thinking that the Mardi Gras Window will be completed first since it's the far easier of the two projects.
We saw Let make her Butterfly last week and for her first project she's decided to make a Santa Panel.  She managed to get it all cut out in just one class and has even begun grinding it at an incredibly quick yet precise pace.   Because her cutting was so precise she's not having to grind much to get her pieces to fit together perfectly.   I'm pretty sure that she'll be wrapping this and tacking it when she comes in again next week.

Linda L has begun cutting out glass for her Beach Windows but there's been a small change.   All three of her Beach Scenes will now feature that little red blue/green crab.  In the picture her water looks pitch black but that's only because all of the glass that you see has been cut out three times and laid down on top of one another.  I'm afraid you'll just have to wait until this is finished to truly appreciate the clear blue glass that she's picked for her water.
Kerry's latest undertaking is a Mardi Gras Fleur De Lis Window.   The background is a fairly complex grid work design but we are going to do it the easy way and we'll show you how that is achieved when we see this again next week with it's grid work all cut and fitting together perfectly.

Susan D's got all of her Cardinal On A Branch cut out and ground during class and she has now moved along to the foiling process.  I have a sneaking suspicion that she may very well get this completed upon her return.


Mary Grace's Peacock is filling out now that she's got some flowers and branches behind her bird.   It won't be long now until she's cutting out the background for this window.  We still need to fill in that one missing piece which I forgot about so I guess that will happen when she next returns.
With her first border attached and the second one cut, ground and partially wrapped you can easily see how nice Martha's Franklin Street Lamp Window is going to look.   It doesn't take her long to solder a window so she'll surely begin working on her second version of this (her 5th altogether) soon.

That about wraps things up here.  Classes are still running a little sparse due to covid and the after holiday recuperation but they should begin filling up again soon.  I will say that it IS nice to be able to finished these posts so quickly which explains why these last two Blog Posts have come to your inboxes so early these past two weeks.