Monday, December 26, 2011

The Eagle Has Landed

   Cleaning up after a project always presents a dilemma. Which scrap do I keep and what do I throw away? It kills me to throw any of it away, but what do I do with it? How small is too small? I'm thinking of getting a rock a rock tumbler, but different. I can throw the scrap into it to make nuggets for mosaics. I could also put sand in it with the glass and make beach glass.

 Last week, I finished the eagle transom. Ed cut some wood stops to set it in place, and started the installation. I have to admit it made me nervous to have him hammering brads so near to the glass surface. I should know by now that he knows what he's doing.

   We've been building this home for the last two years, and I've had this transom on my mind for longer than that. I was a little nervous that we'd get it up and then wouldn't like it, but I'm happy with it. The front door is on the north side of the house, however, and has a deep front porch. This limits the amount of sunlight that comes through these windows. My original plan was to make coordinated sidelights, but now that the transom is up, I think sidelight stained glass would cut out too much light into the foyer. I'll think about it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Glass Diet

   After a very long glass drought, caused by construction and moving, I am finally able to get back at it. I have a whole basket full of ideas for projects. They'll have to wait just a bit longer, because the first project is for the new house.
   I wanted to do a window for the front door transom. We have bald eagles here. No matter how many times I see them, they give me a thrill. I designed the transom and sidelights to include the Columbia River and a GST soaring eagle bevel cluster.
   Our new home has a designated craft room, which is wonderful, but during the final phase of construction it had become the receptacle for every tool, extra plumbing fittings, jars of screws, paint get the picture.
   With a look of dread, Ed asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Shopping is not an activity he enjoys.
   "I'd like my craft room." I suggested.  He beamed! That was something he could easily do. It took almost a whole day to move out the tools and construction debris, but it's mine!
   In between errands, Thanksgiving and life in general I managed to get on one more solid day of glass cutting. Since I hadn't done any for a long time, there were a few bandaids associated with the memory curve. The glass for the gray mountains in the background and brown mountains in the foreground is Uroboros granite, which is textured. That means I have to reverse the pattern pieces, trace them with a silver magic marker, and cut them. There may be a better way to do that but I don't know what it is. Uroboros is rich, delicious glass, but it seems to me that it's also grainier, and a bit thicker than some other brands. All that makes it harder for me to cut.
   But I did have a good glass day. When I get in the glass groove, I forget about everything else. The fire dies out, the dog is ignored. I forget to eat, which for me is a big deal. It's all about cutting just one more piece before I stop for the evening. It really does feel good to be back to cutting glass. And now I have a beautiful room to do it in. Once this project is up off the board, we will order stainless steel countertops and I can get organized.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jasmine and Ivy

 Trimming ivy is usually done with clippers. The ivy transom however was about 1.5 inches too long, partly because I didn't realize the window casing wasn't in and partly because I didn't measure it myself. Lessons learned. I wanted to avoid taking the completed work apart, and took a chance in using another method. Ed and I pulled out the trusty tile saw and used a test piece.    Success!
   So with bated breath, we ran the ends of the transom through with an equally satisfactory result. I probably wouldn't use this method with a larger panel, but the cut was only 8" long. By the time we had the cuts complete I was a nervous wreck.
 Finally came the moment of truth. We went over to George and Carol's for the installation and a glass or two of wine. Glass first, then wine.
  Carol and I stood down and chewed our fingernails while George and Ed set the window and shot nails into the trim pieces. I have to say...having a nail gun that close to the stained glass window was a scary moment.

 The window fit, the nails missed the glass, so let the celebration begin. Thank you George and Carol for my first commissioned piece.

     Last year while visiting friends in Montana, their little chihuahua, Jasmine, was injured. Sadly, she didn't survive.

    I promised to make a memorial panel for them, but only just finished it recently.  I used black glass nuggets for her eyes and nose, and I made little foil overlays for the toes.  I know Jasmine waits for Dave and Sharon at the gates of heaven.

   We're still working on completing our new home, so I'm not sure what my next glass project will be.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Heard It Through The Grapevine

    I've been unable to work on glass for some time. I interrupted Ed's work on the house to get him to build my glass storage shelves, set up shop in the garage, then for a million reasons not listed here, haven't done much with it.
   But fate has a way of taking you where you need to go. I received a request from a friend for an interior transom in their home. It feels good to be back doing what I love.
   Carol is a Master Gardener and George makes his own wines, so they decided on grape leaves. I went out into my back yard, hacked off a branch of an old, unproductive vine, and dragged it inside for a model. After staring at it for some time and combing the internet for botanical input, I came up with a pattern .
I thought about adding wire embellishment tendrils, but since this is a transom and up high, we decided they would become dustcatchers and left them out.
    The measurements were a little tricky because their house is 100 years old, and the transom isn't plumb or square. I tried to be pretty careful with the measurements, but I forgot one little thing. I didn't ask if they had finished trimming out the interior of the transom, so I made the glass 3" too long. Lesson learned for the next window!
   This weekend, I'll adjust the size, and hopefully next week I'll get it installed.