Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I quickly made a bunch of little stained glass Christmas Tree ornaments, two painted candles, a few painted glass ball ornaments. I also took three of my medium sized stained glass panels. I didn't expect to sell any, but it was interesting to watch folks as they looked at the stuff. Never having done a craft show, it was all a new experience. The experienced crafters there were very encouraging. I don't know that I'd do it all that often, but it was fun to try. I sold three stained glass ornaments, which is about as good as anyone else did.
I'll be starting the stained glass train next week. It's been snowing here all week, and I've been doing the Christmas baking and jam making. 10 pts of strawberry and 10 pts of raspberry. Yum. Next is pecan brittle and cookies!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I went back to the photos and narrowed it down to two, and tried to make patterns from both. One is much more complicated and would have over 200 pieces, and the second would have about 85. Guess which one I picked.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
I used Spectrum rough rolled/Champagne for the background, and muffle glass for the flowers, leaves and stems. I hadn't used muffle glass before, and I like it, especially for stylized patterns. I have to say, that stylized patterns aren't my favorite, and geometric designs are much harder than those that are more free-flowing. It demands more accuracy, and so far, that's not my strong point. One other thing I didn't think of at the time and that is , the transom window in the door has 6 panels, and I made this window with 12. Things that make you go ..doh! But it was fun, quick, and I learn something with each one.
Friday, November 7, 2008
In the winter it gets to be a little scary. The arctic storms roar through the Columbia River mouth, sometimes at 90 mph. Trees crash across the road and rain pounds so hard you just can't see to drive. So classes will have to wait until spring. I managed to get out of the store without too much credit card debt and drove back home.
Sunday I finished cutting glass, and foiled Monday night in front of the TV.
I finally had some time yesterday morning to solder. It definitely went more smoothly (no pun intended) using the new method. I still get too much solder going, and I'm not really happy with the way the iron fluctuates temperature, but as I've read, "It's a poor craftsman that blames his tools." I'll just have to make more projects so I can practice more. Oh darn!
I had never used lead came to wrap a project before so I was a little nervous about doing that correctly. I was worried about securing it properly to the glass, and about attaching the chain in a way that was secure. So I very carefully measured the diameter..21" just like I planned, and multiplied by pi. OK so I cheated and used a calculator, but hey, I wanted it to be accurate. Then just to be sure I added a 1/4 of an inch, thinking if it were too long, I could always trim it shorter, but if it was too short, I was in hot water. I'll e darned if it wasn't 1/4" too short anyway! I apparently didn't figure in the occasional irregularity in my "round" project. I wrapped the lead from bottom to top, thinking that the weight would be cradled instead of pushing on the seam, made a patch, and soldered the thing in there as best as I could.
Then began what I refer to as....The Chain Fiasco. I wanted to keep the handy hanger attachments for the chain away from any seams, on the glass and on the exterior lead came, so I put them at about 2:30 and 9:30. That seemed really secure, only to discover we would not have been able to hang the darned thing without the chain cutting across the glass..even if hung by two hooks (which I plan to do). So back off it came, and I re-did the chain. Learn something every day. I'll get it boxed and shipped off this week, with hanging instructions for the maintenance folks at the apartment building.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Here it is all back together. I have it set at 34" which is good for standing and working. If I want to use the chair, I'll just lower the table. And yes, I roll up the rug when I'm working on a project. This table is the same size as the one I had here, but I'm hoping to learn to light, trace and cut the pattern pieces more accurately this way.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
The clear baroque glass as the background looks a little limp laying flat, but I think once it is done and up into the light it'll be good. The glass for the swords doesn't even begin to show itself off until the light is in it. One good day of glass cutting is all I need to finish, then an evening of foiling. I've tried cutting glass sitting down, but it just doesn't work for me. Depending on how long I'm on crutches will determine when I can get started again...maybe a month. See you then!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I am not a teacher, instructor, mentor, or any other..or. The only thing I am is a rank beginner, and frankly, I expect I'll confuse the heck out of most of you.
I'd like to try to demonstrate the pattern making technique that seems to work for me. I may evolve to a more accurate and refined skill later, but this is working so much better than what I was doing first, that I'm pretty happy for now. I've heard that using a template is a beginner technique..well.. that would be me!
First of all, I use a large sheet of Avery fasson paper. I'm not sure I can describe this stuff, except to say that it comes in big sheets (27"x38"), and it's like contact paper except it stays by pressure rather than stickiness. I hang mine up on the wall ala pushpins, because if you roll it up or lay it around, it comes separated from the backing. I've tried without success to find a source on the internet, and get mine from The Glass Lady store in Vancouver, Wa. If they ever stop carrying it, I'm toast.
This project is for my brother-in-law who is in the St. Andrews Highland History Guild, which is a 16th century re-enactment of the court of Mary, Queen of Scots. He also has an ancestral interest in Norse history. Thus...Chantal Pare's pattern of Norse war helmet and swords.
I take my regular computer generated copy (8 1/2"x11") down to the local copy store and have them enlarge it to the size that I want, in this case 17 1/2"x20 1/2". I'm not worried about the size of the pattern lines. That will resolve itself.
I put the fasson paper on my work surface. I use a piece of sheetrock. It's (usually) flat, it's cheap, and I already had a piece. I put my fasson paper down (backing and all), then a layer of carbon paper. Remember that? Who knew we'd ever need it after high school typing class. Oops..they probably don't even teach typing in high school any more..or shorthand.
Ok so, fasson paper, carbon paper, then take the copy of the pattern, and put it on top of everything. Check your alignment, making sure the carbon paper has stayed in place and the fasson paper and top pattern are lined up, and secure it with push pins.
Now you trace every line, using a ball point pen, pressing heavily enough to give yourself a temporary case of carpal tunnel. Every time I make a pattern like this I think. "Gosh, I should buy a red pen so I can easily see which lines I've traced and which ones I haven't." Have I bought the red ball point pen yet? Um......no. But it's a good idea! Remember, it's just like signing for a speeding citation...press hard, three copies. To be sure I've gotten every line, I run over the whole pattern with my fingertips. You can feel an impression in the pattern from the pen, sort of like braille in reverse. Once you're sure you've gotten all the lines, unpin everything, take off the paper pattern, put away the carbon paper, and lift your fasson paper.
As you can see..or not..the fasson paper, being a plastic rather than paper surface, it's not a strong carbon mark, but it does take the pressure of the pen. Between the carbon marks and the pressure marks, though, you can see the pattern pieces. If you double click on the picture you can see better from the enlargement.
After I hang the fasson piece (usually on the wall with pushpins) I put the paper pattern on the sheetrock, and get out my layout blocks, push pins and my square.
Boys and girls, this is one of those places in your life where it is definitely hip to be square. I monkey with this thing until every corner is absolutely and perfectly square. Then I flip my square over and check it again. After I'm sure it is really really square, I go have a diet Coke, make a pit stop, come back and check it again, just in case the glass elves came in and messed with it while I was gone. Go ahead...laugh. It's been known to happen.
In the next blog entry, I'll show how to begin with the fasson pattern pieces. Tune in next time.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Glass in various forms has always drawn me. I knew I didn't have the room or the equipment to blow glass..something I didn't want to try to learn by myself, and I didn't know much about fusing or slumping glass. For that matter I didn't know much about stained glass either.
So, like so many, I bought a few books, a few tools, a little glass, and tried to put together a little project. I was so proud. I gave it to my friend, Kim, and she smiled and said "thank you" like a true friend should. Truth is... it was awful.
After that I decided to take a class, so I signed up for a project class in Astoria. I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot, but the distance (60 miles each way) and the winter weather and road conditions made it difficult get to. So I kept doing projects with only mediocre satisfaction. I just couldn't get the pattern pieces to transfer true to the glass. The pattern shears seemed very inaccurate, but if I used regular scissors, my project grew and grew in size.
I decided to make a surprise for Ed. Many years prior, he made a stained glass mirror, that he reluctantly sold when he had a commercial glass business. He had fondly kept the pattern, which I discovered in a box. "Hey.." I thought, " I'll make this for Christmas and surprise him with it." And I'll be darned if it didn't come out ok..not good...but ok. Breaking the strips was a nightmare, and prayers were said at every snap. The solder is a mess. But Ed was very gracious, and built the cedar frame for it and hung it up.
After that, I found a pattern that was similar to the barn we were building, so I tweeked the pattern a bit and did that one. As most things, practice helps, so the barn came out better. Ed says "You didn't put on the cupola or the dormer windows." I just gave him The Look.
And again, he made a beautiful frame out of old cedar fence boards that work perfectly.
But I was still having the same problem with having the project grow, filling in badly fitting spots with solder, and the pieces just not fitting together right. I wasn't happy with how the pattern shears cut out the pattern pieces.
There are several early projects that I don't have photos of. I made that "Angry Bluebird" for my daughter Ellen. That one is pretty rough! And an angel that I made for my daughter Aimee. I also made a Chantal Pare celtic thistle circle for my sister. I've slowly learned to take photos of each piece, even if it's just to show the learning curve.
I started looking around for another place to take classes. Maybe if I learned a different way of cutting out the patterns, the projects would go together more smoothly.
I thought I would try a glass shop in Vancouver for supplies. The Glass Lady http://www.theglasslady.biz/ is owned by a very nice lady, Lori Alwine, who showed me a completely new way to cut pattern pieces for more accurate glass pieces. I won't go into it here except to say that it involves fasson paper and cutting out one pattern piece at a time, instead of cutting them all out at once, and uses regular scissors rather than pattern sheers. I chose this simple pattern for a class, since it had long narrow cuts as well as round ones. It has made the difference between glass being a frustrating experience to becoming a consuming joyful hobby. I'll give more detail during my next project, but if you live in the Portland/Vancouver area (it's 90 minutes for me) go check out her shop and maybe sign up for a class. They're wonderful folks.
With renewed confidence, I wanted to make our friend Dave, who is a SCUBA diver, a birthday present. And what better present for a diver than a shark? So after an internet search for the appropriate subject, I found a tiger shark that I liked and went to work. (Tiger shark, great white..what do I know?) Plus, this was the first pattern that I made myself... I was pretty stoked. See that tan glass at the bottom that makes the sand? Well if you double click on the photo you can see the detail (don't look too close.) The back of that glass is wavy, and when you cut it... that edge is like a serrated bread knife. I had bandaids everywhere. But it made perfect sand. Once again Ed stopped his other projects and made a frame for me, and we sent it to Dave.
After than I started a project for my granddaughter, Elicia. She will be moving into a house soon from an apartment, and I wanted to make her something for her room. Now Elicia is very...pink..everything..pink..so the glass had to be pink too. But I also wanted her to remember that she's never alone, even when she feels lonely, so .. here it is. The dove was taken from a beautiful work by Olimpia Perez. You can see more of her glass at www.glassbyolimpia.com. And while I'm at it, I should mention, that I now know it's very bad glass manners to use someone else's pattern without purchase or permission.
We have a Dollars for Scholars Sturgeon Derby and Rods and Reels car show here each year to raise scholarship money for local kids. I've volunteered the last several years and had a really good time. Nice folks run it and nice people show up. They raffle off items and have an auction. This year I thought I'd do a stained glass piece and donate it to the car show fundraising effort. It was raffled off and did relatively well. I think next year I'll also do a fish-themed piece as well and donate it for the auction side. I was pretty happy with how this turned out. My soldering is getting better, although some days are better than others. I used wire to make the steering wheel and door handle.
Finally I had a lull. I was looking at a magazine and saw a picture of Picasso's "Portrait of Francoise". Well it was gorgeous. Ordinarily I'm not a big Picasso fan, but the drawing was just striking. Maybe it was the beauty of the young woman. Maybe because my daughters have hair just like hers. All I could think about was doing that portrait in glass. So I started tracing. I'm no artist, and I'm still a beginner in glass, but I was driven to do this project. Now it's my favorite.
We had friends come up for July 4th this year. They were married last October in Carmel on the beach under a monterey cypress tree. Well, I though, maybe I could find a picture of the beach... I'm finding that making my own patterns is very rewarding. There are so many things that I can't make patterns of, and so many talented glass artists that make beautiful patterns and share them, Chantal Pare, for example. But when I can, I enjoy making glass projects from my own patterns.
The most recent is also for a fundraiser. The River Life Interpretive Center is a very small local museum. It used to be a school, and a meeting hall. The community works hard to keep the building in shape, and the Interpretive Center hosts many art and historic displays each year. They have an annual Wine Tasting and Auction. So, I found a good photo of the Center.
Yeah, thats me. The auction is in September, and I'm hoping it does well for them. I think the next project is going to be for my brother-in-law, Gene. His birthday is in October. I've got to give it all away..I'm out of windows!