Monday, August 15, 2022

It's On The Tip Of My TONGUE

Kerry's Circular Magnolia Window has been completed and I just know that Jeanne is going to love it.   He made this for his wife and his work has consistently been getting better and better.  They say a picture speaks a thousand words and this proves it.


The first of Sheri's Teardrop Seascape Suncatchers has been completed and I have to say that it looks marvelous.   She's got one more cut out and I believe that she said that she was going to make a few more so expect to see more of these throughout the weeks.

Here's a look at my Angel Wing Heart.  The design came from a piece of Jewelry that Facebook has been trying to sell to me for the past few months.  Inspiration can come from so many different places, all you need to do is keep your eyes opened. I knew that the points of the wings cutting into the heart would make this difficult but I also knew that those deep cut were the thing that was going to make this look so unique.  Then I went and added solder dots along the lead lines as the icing on the cake.

 Here's a look at the necklace that the Angel Wing Heart pattern was derived from.

Judy has begun working on a Winnie The Pooh Window and what a productive night she had!  First she traced out the pattern and then cut apart the poster board pattern pieces.   Next she cut out the glass that makes up the leaves, the bee hive, the ground, the bear, and Pooh's shirt!  That leaves only the sky and the tree left to cut before she can begin grinding this incredibly cute window


Kerry's next project is the ever popular Umbrella Lady.   He's got his pattern pieces all ready to trace and his glass all picked out so we'll see some real movement on this project soon.
Betty set herself to work as soon as she walked into the door and began grinding her Blue and Clear Geometric window.  Once that was accomplished she decided to spend the rest of her class cutting glass rather than foiling, which she can easily do at home without making nearly as much of a mess.   By the time class was over with she had cut out a pair of Cardinal Suncatchers and even got one of them ground as well!
Lisa cut and ground a Split Leaf Philodendron Suncatcher which are so popular these days.   Her work is flawless even though she was working through a considerable bit of pain.  We hope she feels better and I do believe that her Leaf will be completed when we next see Lisa.
Annette's Butterfly Mobile will consist of four Butterflies and she's got them all cut out now.  She's already got one of them ground and another completely finished!  Yep, these Butterflies will be flying before you know it.

Ann's got two Suncatchers under construction.   Her Angel Wing Heart was completely ground this week and she's about halfway through with her Wrought Iron Cross Suncatcher as well.   It certainly  looks as though Ann will be foiling glass when she comes back in.

Lara has all of her flowers cut and ground for her Peony Window.  She's working on the leaves now and from there she'll move on over to the background and the flower bud which surely won't take her long at all.  For a window with a lot of pieces, this is coming together quickly.

Mary worked on her own Heart and Angel Wings Suncatcher getting it all cut out and completely ground as well.  She's taken it along home with her to foil during the week so this should be ready for soldering when we see it next.  In fact, it should be a completed project as well!
Martha's Grinch Window is now fully formed!  Last week his face was barely started and he only had one eye but this week Martha went on a glass cutting spree and got him all cut out.  It looks like she and the Grinch will be moving on over to the grinder when we see them next.
Steve's Wire Frame Wine Glass is as unique as can be and has been a learning experience for everyone as he moves along on it.  As you can see it's essentially finished but Steve is trying to tin the thick copper rod with lead to give the entire piece a uniform look.   The blowtorch didn't work as planned but that isn't going to stop Steve.  More details will follow as Steve moves further and further along on this.

Melissa was busy filling the empty background pieces of her Heron Window and nearly got all of them cut and ground.   With only a very small handful of pieces left to go on this I suspect that the beveled border that goes on next will be attached  upon her return.
Cindy's Wood Duck Window was tackled in the best most possible way:  by doing the hardest parts first.  With the pair of ducks all cut out (and ground) Cindy got all of her tiny pieces out of the way.  All that's left to do is for her to cut out the large pieces of glass that make up the water.
Mary Grace has the first of her two borders attached for her second Peacock Window and now it's really taking shape.  There's just one more border to go and two fill in pieces that will turn this from a rounded top to a squared top which will make it look much more aesthetically pleasing as well as practical, sturdier, and considerably easier to hang.

Susan D has a busy bee also.  She's got two more Silverware Dragonflies cut and ground, two  more Birds on a Branch, and a 3D Bee Suncatcher involving a bee and a honeycomb.  She takes no prisoners as she knocks out stained glass pieces as quickly and efficiently as ever.
Let worked on her Cat Window by tacking it all together and then getting her double borders cut and attached as well.  That was when we noticed that one of the cats had a crack running through a piece of glass in his ear.  Even though Let didn't have the replacement glass with her I knocked out the broken piece so she could learn how to do a repair.   She'll fill in the missing piece when she gets home and then we'll see these cats get their wire whiskers before getting washed and cleaned up to become a finished window when we next see this again.

Cheryl's Tree Of Life is a living window now.   Everything has been filled in and tacked into place, even the first clear inner border.    The final wider, blue border was also cut and ground before Cheryl called it a night. She's taken all of this home with her to foil and possibly even attach.   It's safe to say that the end is near.

Susan R finished grinding her Geometric Suncatcher which has been reinforced with re-stripping to ensure that none of those straight lines that create all of those 'hinge points' fold in half on her.   I can't wait to see this hanging up with the jewel that she picked out hanging in the center of it.

Look out because Shawn has completed the soldering on her Ethnic Hands Window!  That means that when she returns she'll be able to wash and color this massive project.   I guess it's time for Shawn to decide what she wants to do next.

Lastly, here's a look at Sheri's next Teardrop Seascape that's wrapped and ready to be soldered.  As you can see, this one is in a completely different color scheme.
And that about wraps things up here.  We'll be back in a few days with another tip of the week though, so keep your eyes peeled for that notification in your inbox.





Friday, August 12, 2022

Numbering Patterns


You wouldn't think that there could be good ways and bad ways to put numbers on your patterns right? would be difficult.  Just put a number on every piece, right?  Nothing's ever easy though and there ARE a few simple rules to follow that will make things much easier when placing your cut glass pieces onto your pattern.
Let's start by imagining a window with a bird and two different flowers in it.  Most people want to number each subject matter separately.  For example, they will number the bird first, then one of the flowers, then the second flower, followed by the background.  This actually scatters your numbers all over the pattern making them extremely hard to find.  Instead start in the upper left and work your way to the right.  Your next number should ideally touch the last number that you wrote.  Follow any path you like but keep the next number as close as possible to the piece you previously numbered.  For example,  37 should be as close as possible to 36 and not on the other side of the pattern.
In the pattern below (which has been numbered correctly)  you can easily and quickly find piece 91 because it has other 80 and 90 numbers near it.  It is NOT nestled up at the top between 9 and 7 for example).  

A great exercise is to follow the numbers in the pattern below so you can see just how it all plays out.  Just remember that the next number in the sequence is somewhere near the last number.  They can still be hard to locate, but at least you know the general location of the piece.

Other things to remember:

1) Your pattern that you are building on, the pattern that you have cut out, and especially the glass you have traced the pattern onto must ALL be numbered or the numbers are pointless.

2) If you are using tracing paper to make your copy onto poster board, number the pattern while the tracing paper is is still in place this way you only have to number things once.  This also helps prevent numbering errors and saves a GREAT deal of time.

3) It's easy to miss a piece.  Don't worry.  If that happens look number it the same as a piece next to it and add the letter B to it.   38B for example.

4) DON'T FORGET TO NUMBER THE GLASS YOU HAVE TRACED YOUR PATTERN PIECE ONTO!   I see this happen all the time where the pattern and the poster board pattern have numbers but not the glass itself.  The purpose of the numbers is to help you place your glass on the pattern.  If you haven't numbered the glass after you traced around the poster board pattern onto it you've numbered your pattern for nothing.

And that's it.  Happy numbering!

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Blood May Be Spilled

Judy is back in action and she wasted no time completing the soldering on her Teddy Bear Window.  It took her most of the night to finish soldering but that's only because she took her time to ensure that she did a good job.  In the end her lead lines looked great.  You can't rush perfection and this Bear proves it.

Jan came in with a plan in mind and was able finish off her first wedding box.  In one class you say?  Well, she went with a single border which really helped but the fact that she used only a single border doesn't make this box any less beautiful.  A single border box is made with just 12 pieces of glass and that's why we can get these done so quickly while maintaining an air of elegance . 

Remember all of those Humming Birds and Silverware Dragonflies that Betty was working on last week?  Well they're officially completed with the total count coming in at five Humming Birds and twelve Dragonflies.

Here's the whole lot of them:

Ann started two large (and complex) Suncatchers this week.  Her Wrought Iron Cross has been cut from a yellow/black glass which may sound like an odd combination but just look at it!  She's also begun a Winged Heart and is making the heart out of an iridised white glass.   This one will end up requiring a lot of grinding due to the complex curves but I know that Ann is well up to the task at hand.

Last week I said that Annette was going to be the first to make something and this week she began cutting the glass for this surprise project.  To start it all off she'll make four small butterflies which she'll assemble in a 3D fashion.  When they are all completed she will string them together onto a three tiered mobile.  I've assembled one before and just hope I can recall how to balance it all out again!!!
I don't know why my camera sometimes takes blurry pictures but as you can see it certainly does from time to time, this being one of those times.  That said you can still see the basic Geometrical Suncatcher that Susan R is currently working on.  Once it's finished it will have a crystal hanging from the center.  Perhaps with a single hook it will even spin if it isn't placed against a window...


Martha's got a Grinch in the works and I have to say that it looks a bit odd with only a few pieces of glass cut out.  It almost looks like he's winking at us!
Lara's Peony Window is coming together quickly.  I'd say the the hardest parts of this are behind her now.  Lara opted to work by dividing her flowers into individual sections.  She then cut out the pattern pieces for each section one section at a time.  Then she'd cut the glass pieces, grind them, and then move along to a new section.  This prevented her from having to maintain numbers on each piece and from being over run with countless pieces.

Next up we have Melissa's Heron and Irises Window  which got most of its background cut, ground, and tacked into place.  There are only a few pieces left to go and then Melissa will put a bevel border around it all.  The end is near!
Sheri is working on two Seashell Pendants.  She has the two piece framework done for a pair of these and just needs to foil the jewels, globs, and seashells that will fill the bottom of them.  after that it's just a tack and a solder away from completion.
Let's Cat Window is nearly finished as she cut out and ground all of her background pieces while in class.  I'm certain that she'll have this wrapped and tacked when she comes back in which means that the next time you see this it will have a border attached.  I'm also expecting Let to get a lot pf this soldered as well.  Time will tell but I'm pretty confident about this.

Linda L got all three of her Butterflies ground and wrapped with time left over to tack them all together as well.   It's a safe bet that these will be another of our completed projects next week because soldering these suncatchers is child's play for Linda.

With her pink border now in place June is ready to resume soldering her Nurse's Window. With the front almost completely soldered she'll be working on the back side of this when she returns.  There's even a good chance that she'll be able to finish this and that you will be looking at it in it's completed form when you see it in our next post.

It's looking like next week will be a busy week for completed projects because we saw Kerry pick out a green cathedral glass for his Magnolia border, cut it, grind it, tack it together solder the front side and then flip it over and solder 85% of the back side as well.  Yep, betting on this being completed when he returns is as good as money in the bank.
Here's yet another background that was ground and then wrapped and tacked together.  Mary Grace has her Peacock Window ready for its first, thin inner border which she will cut out of a teal/blue.  Actually, the strips have already been cut so all that's left to do now is to break them down into their individual pieces and then work on the three curved pieces for the top. After that it's just got one more clear border to go before Mary Grace can begin soldering.

Shawn's Hands With Flowers Window is well on its way now.   The front side is halfway soldered but this is a BIG window and it will take a while to wash and clean so there's no way that it will be completed next week.  These large windows always take more time to finish than you initially think but it's always a joyous occasion when they are completed.

Cheryl's Tree of life just needs a little ground work now and then she'll be set to 'borderize' it!  This window has given Cheryl some trouble but only because she had cut her pattern out entirely and had things mis-numbered as compared to the numbers that were put on the pattern by the last student who made this.  Engineering your project from start to finish by taking small simple steps makes a project like this much easier.  Luckily, Cheryl was able to recover gracefully.
And these are the Wood Ducks that Cindy is about to begin cutting.  Once again, Cindy is dealing with a window that contains a lot of small pieces but we all know how much she loves that!  I can't wait to see this when she comes back in with it.
And there you have it.  One blog, one day early! 



Saturday, August 6, 2022

Grinding Stock Bevels


The general rule of bevels is to never grind one before wrapping it.  They are machine made and the edges are smooth and perfectly even allowing for the foil to adhere securely.  We never grind a bevel because they can chip and thus ruin the beveled effect with distracting glints of light poking out around the ground edge.
That said, there's an exception to EVERY rule.  Occasionally a bevel border will be slightly short in which case you must space the bevels out to fill the distance.  Then there are times when the bevels are too long to fit the subject matter.  Your only option at this point is to break the rule and grind your bevel(s).  Of course there's a correct way to do this and an incorrect way.  We're going to show you both and then tell you what you SHOULD do.

Below is a diagram of your standard stock (pre-made shape) bevel.  The red arrows point to an enlarged corner and shows you how the tapered edge comes out perfectly to the corner.
First off, if you have to grind a bevel use a dull grinding wheel! This will prevent your bevel from chipping.  In the example below you can see that 1/4 of an inch has been ground from the left side of the bevel. The left red arrow shows how the tapered edge no longer meets the corner as it does on the right side of the bevel.  This lack of symmetry is very obvious and very distracting.  We can't avoid having the tapper missing the corner but we CAN make it less obvious by grinding both sides of the bevel.  Instead of grinding 1/4 of an inch away on one side we can take half of that (1/8 of an inch) and take it off of both sides.   The green arrows point to this solution.  The bevel itself remains symmetrical and the amount of mismatch is far less noticeable.
I would place this ground bevel in the center of the border to help keep the string of bevels symmetrical. There is actually another way to handle this problem as well. Instead of taking 1/4 of an inch off of a single bevel you can take 1/16 off both sides of of two different bevels. The mismatched taper to the corners would be extremely negligible this way. The only 'problem' with this method is that the more bevels you grind, the greater the odds are that one or more bevels will chip. For that reason it's always good to have a dull grinder wheel on hand that you can switch over to while grinding any bevels that need to be adjusted.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Dear God! We'll See What Happens...

This is going to take a while to explain because Ann's got a very unique window indeed.   She wanted a multicolored circle with a cross on it, not IN it.   She wanted the cross to be raised on a completely different level from the circle section which was something that I'd certainly never done before but which was something I knew we could work out.   First Ann made the circle and completed it.  Next the four pieces of the cross were cut out.   The only way that I could see to attach the cross was to use one inch posts.   How we would ever get them to line up with the lead lines on the circular piece was still a mystery to me because they needed to attach to lead on both the cross side as well as the window side.   The solution to this conundrum involved having Ann covering covering the four cross pieces in foil and then covering all of the cross in lead.  She textured the front of the cross using a semi warm iron and then added a glass bead in the center to give the cross some much needed strength.   With the back of the cross completely soldered Ann was able to mount the four posts onto the window and then tediously get the cross attached to the posts with small dots of lead.  Once the cross was attached to two posts we were able to turn the entire piece upside down and get the cross attached much more firmly.   What you see below is the end result.   I've also included a side shot so you can see just how much higher the cross is from the rest of the window,  The end result has a cross that appears to move in parallax over the window depending on the position that you view it from.  In hindsight, I should have taken a video.  :-(

Here's the side view of Ann's window.   You can clearly see the 4 posts that hold the cross out and away from the window itself.
Mary's Cardinal and Sunflower Window is the first of two of these patterns that have been completed this week.  Mary went with a rich blue color scheme and her window is definitely striking.   I love how her green leaves have a yellowish tint to them ensuring that the bright red cardinal is the focal point of the window.  Her soldering is perfection as are all of the other skills that Mary used to create this window.

Let has made a Cardinal Window of her own but this one features a male and a female Cardinal.  She took her time lining up the lead lines that cut across pieces of glass to form thin branches and everything lines up perfectly.  That's the toughest part of making this window and Let handled it as though she's been making stained glass for years!
Cindy's Bowls are a huge topic of conversation throughout all of our classes.  The thing that scares everyone else from making their own bowls is the fact that  Cindy didn't use a pattern to make them.  She just assembled them piece by piece using randomly drawn shapes.   And you know what that means-- each one of these bowls are unique because no two can ever end up being the same.
Martha's version of the Cardinal and Sunflower design is striking in its own right.  Her color scheme is all about soft muted colors which include her earthy green border and her baby blue sky.  Colors can change the look of a window but they never hide the beauty of the design especially when the workmanship is this good.
 Cindy also made two of these geometric Spiraling Circles which are certainly fun to admire.   Her color scheme accentuates the coiling effect effect that makes this geometric design so three dimensional.  Last but not least she completed a small pendant that she made around a small 'diamond' studded piece of jewelry.  That's what I call thinking outside the box.
Lisa has finished her Decorative Feather Mobile which finds the feathers hanging from a bicycle pedal Gear whose openings she has filled in with different colored glasses.  The end result is a winner for sure and she's made this 100 percent on her own with no input from me at all.  Stunning!

Susan R has finished her beautiful Pinwheel Suncatcher and finished it off with a bevel in the center to prevent what would essentially become a big uneven blob of lead from forming in the center.  Whenever you have more than four lines joining together the solder tends to pool in the intersection creating a mess.   Susan's use of a bevel has nipped that problem in the bud.
Susan D competed a Silverware Dragonfly but opted to not cut off the utensil end of the silverware.  Since she was using a small spoon she thought that the 'bowl' of the spoon would resemble the dragonfly's body.   When it was finished we discovered that she put a completely new twist on what's becoming an old favorite.   She also finished her 6th and 7th (or so) Birds on a branch leaving her with (I think) only one (or possibly two or three or four) more to go before she wraps up her Birds on a Branch Series.  Note how she added paint to the lower bird to give it a more realistic look.
Let's latest Owl is a study in soft greens and as we already know, these Owls look good with just about any color combination that you could possibly throw on them. 


Cheryl's Tree Of Life is certainly coming to life now.   She's organized and she's determined to see this window completed.   There's really just the green grass and some small pieces of sky left to go before she picks out a color for her border (or borders).

Melissa Tacked together all of the the subject matter of her Heron Window and then placed it on top of her background glass to trace out the remaining pieces.   She's got the biggest pieces cut out now and will grind and them into place before she cuts out any more of her background glass.   This will ensure both stability of the window while she works on it, and squareness.  I suspect that we'll see the remaining pieces of background cut when she comes back in next week.
June got her background glass attached and then decided to go with a pink border to finish it all off.  Alas, she had accidentally left her pink glass at home. Rather than just sitting around and wasting a class she set upon soldering her front side to keep the work flowing on this project.  No time was wasted here!

MiMi is making INCREDIBLE headway on her window repair.  This week she removed the lead and foil from the remaining 28 pieces of glass and then set upon grinding everything.   We've printed out a copy of the original window and reduced its size by almost 1/4 of an inch  so we could close in some of the gaps that we knew existed.  We were surprised to find that the original pieces had never been been ground which explains why the fitting of the original window was so bad.   There are sections that fit together in an acceptable fashion but there are other sections that still have some large gaps and make we wish that we'd printed the pattern out even smaller.   Alas, it's MUCH better than what it started off as and we don't want to change things up too much since the owner loved it as it was.  MiMi is going to be away for the next two weeks but when she returns she'll finish up her grinding and then begin wrapping everything.
 Linda L has got three Butterflies in the oven so to speak.  Lately it seems that Linda is working in groups of three and that's because she's always making things for herself and her two daughters.  (And  sometimes other faily members as well!)  The picture is dark but each of these will light

Susan D has two Tulip Angel Ornaments cut ground and ready to wrap.   She also  got a second Silverware Dragonfly all cut and ready to grind as well.   She's a stained glass machine!
As you can see, Betty is certainly keeping busy as she now has five Humming Bird Suncatchers and eleven Silverware Dragonflies all tacked together and waiting to be soldered.   She likes to keep a surplus of gifts on hand and I believe that this will constitute a 'stock pile'!

And to finish things up here I'll talk about Annette who was in this week but who had no clue of what she wanted to begin making.  All she knew was that she wanted to make something different and by the end of class she decided to make something that we've never seen before but that I've played with once a few years back.   Just wait until you see what it is.  Oh, and thanks for all of that Chinese food, Annette!