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Archive for February, 2013

Okay, I admit it.  I actually have little to no patience!  Class isn’t until this Wednesday night, but I just couldn’t wait to cut the flowers in their blue color and see what they looked like.  Here are my first two flowers in blue with a white center!

Flower 1 after Cutting before Foiling

Flower 1 after Cutting before Foiling

Flower 2 after Cutting before Foiling

Flower 2 after Cutting before Foiling

Yes, I realize there are probably no flowers in this color of blue.  But I liked the color!

We will have to see if I can wait until Wednesday for the next set of pieces.

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First news flash – I changed my design at the recommendation of Jackie Marr, owner of Kiss My Glass in Santa Cruz.  I visited Kiss My Glass to pick up some stained glass and supplies for the class and she offered her opinion that my existing design was too simple.  So I went through some books and chose a new one.  Check it out!

Stained Glass Flower Template

Stained Glass Flower Template

This week’s class involved cutting out our entire design in clear glass.  I have to admit that before we did this, I was flummoxed on why were doing it since we didn’t plan to use the clear glass afterwards.  I thought perhaps it was for the beginner’s who hadn’t cut glass before.  However, about halfway through the exercise, I was so glad that we did the exercise.  Several lessons learned.

First, as is obvious, practice is great!

Second, I started with the bigger outside pieces and then worked my way in to the more curvy flower petals since I knew they would be harder and decided afterwards that it would have been better to work from the inside out.  I believe it will be much easier to match the edge shapes as I move outward.

Third, curves are much harder to cut freehand.  When I was at Kiss My Glass I mentioned that when fusing curvy shapes I would just use my ring saw to cut them.  She glanced sideways at me and said, “That’s not the point, is it!”  Meaning I should learn how to do it freehand.  It is a good thing that stained glass artists believe in the grinder as it was a very much needed and appreciated tool to get the curves just right.  Perhaps with more practice…

This week, we will cut our colored and final pieces.  I may do some cutting before class at home as I am still waffling on some of the colors and I will have easy access to all my glass scraps.  I know I want to use blue for the petals, but I only bought one color blue and may borrow some fusing glass to add a little variety.  And I also bought yellow for the centers, but again I may go with a whispy white of which I have lots of scrap pieces.

I was surprised how many times I started to cut a clear piece over and I am a little apprehensive that I didn’t buy enough color.  So here is hoping I cut better with my colors!

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I mentioned last week that I started a Stained Glass class.  Most of the ladies in the class have never cut glass, so last week was spent practicing cutting.  The instructor specializes in glass blowing and stained glass and I found it fascinating how his glass cutting methods were so different from mine.  I doubt these are related to which medium we like and rather to how we learned and what we have just come to do over the years.

I learned using tools: a good glass cutter (I like the pistol grip kind) and running pliers.  Basically, you score the glass with the cutter and then use the running pliers to gently break the glass along the line you scored.

The instructor also uses a glass cutter, but then basically breaks the glass using both hands on either side of the score and pulling down.  At first this really intimidated me and I flinched each time I tried it, but in reality, it works well.  If your score is not straight and especially if an inside curve, then he takes something like a straight cutter and uses the ball on the other end from the blade, and taps gently underneath the score until you can see it run and then breaks it.

He also taught me the value of grozer pliers.  I have used these before, but typically only when cutting circles.  I learned that when my pieces are small and I am trying to cut off a small piece of this already small piece, then grozers work really well.  And in the above example with the inside curve, grozers again work really well and most of the time didn’t even require the tapping first.

Now what do I really think after cutting for a few hours trying his methods?  I prefer to use my running pliers.  But sometimes the running pliers take a small chunk out of the glass, and using my hands did not have this issue.  This missing chunk doesn’t matter so much in a typical fuse as it melts out.  But when doing strip construction, it makes a big difference, so perhaps next time I do a strip construction I will try the grozers instead of my running pliers.

Second, I really did not like the tapping gently from the bottom method before breaking.  It seemed to leave a very jagged edge.  I am guessing you grind this edge off before adding the copper foil and so it really doesn’t matter, but from a first thought’s perspective, it was not my favorite.  It would be hard to lay 2 pieces of glass next to each other for fusing and not having a gap due to some extraneous glass shard along the edge if you didn’t first grind the edge.  With my running pliers, I get a pretty nice sharp edge each time.

Last week I promised to share my template for my stained glass piece.  I have not chosen colors yet, so would love any suggestions!

My Sunset and Ocean Template

My Sunset and Ocean Template

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It is interesting how some things come full circle.  The very first glass class I wanted to take was a glass blowing class from Tom Stanton who owns Holy City Art Glass.  The class was through a community center and had a must-have-so-many-students and ended up being cancelled.  I then pursued other classes and glass mediums and eventually ended up becoming addicted to glass fusing.

Now, 3 years later, the same community center offered a Stained Glass class and I jumped at the opportunity.  Learning how to solder the lead that goes around the glass and perhaps being able to eventually marry my glass fusing with some stained glass aspects was just too good to pass up.

Last week was my first class and it was interesting to observe the differences and similarities.

The biggest difference to me is the need for a pattern.  With fusing, I usually stand at my work bench surrounded by glass pieces and just go for it.  Sometimes I have an idea with which I start, but only once or twice have I actually sketched something out.  In stained glass you need a pattern and even the width of the lines between the pieces is important.

So my first big task is to come up with a simple pattern with simple emphasized as we only have a few classes in which to make our pieces.

Since last night was mostly talking, understanding the materials we will need to get and then some basic glass cutting demos, I don’t really have any pictures to share. Next week, I should have my pattern ready for approval and can share it with you!

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