Saturday, April 5, 2014

Working on the Big Dream!

So today I am working on my Big Dream. I took my first stain glass art class. The first thing I want to say is that it was every bit as fun and wonderful as I expected. You can't imagine what a relief that was to me since I had it in my head that this is what I want. I was actually kinda scared I would take the class and discover I hated working with glass.

So we got there and they had work station all set up for us. There 6 of us in the class.

As you can see they had all the tools we needed all neatly arranged around the edge of the workstation. That is the pattern we will be doing. Our workstations formed an L and you can kinda see the instructors black jacket up in the left corner. He was able to help all of us from there and that made the class and his instruction easy to follow.

The next thing we did was go over all the tools and how to use them. He demonstrated the proper techniques for using each tool. He talked about the risk of lead exposure and safety.

Next he had us cut our pattern into pieces like a puzzle.

Now it was our turn to cut. I am not sure if it was easier than I thought it would be or harder but either way it it is something that will take some practice to get really good at. We used the clear sheet you can see in the picture above to practice on. First making straight cuts. Although, you don't actually cut the glass. You score it and then break it. Being the philosophical type, I think that is one of the things I like about this idea. That you make something beautiful out of something broken..

The cutting seem to go okay. The last pieces I cut were definitely better than the first. It was hard to keep the cutter steady and it will take some practice to get as smooth at it as he was. The goal is to get as close the pattern as possible.

You can use a grinder to help shape them but we didn't get to that today. We will be using it next week. He also showed us some techniques for doing shapes that aren't part of our pattern.

Next we got to pick our colors. This was easily the hardest part. We went into the room next door and they had tables set up with tons of glass pieces for us to choose from. Yellows, greens, oranges, blues, reds, purples everything you can image. Translucent glass, opaque glass, swirls and solids, so many choices. And you also have to remember that each piece of glass has two sides so not only did we have to look at and choose based on what we saw we had to flip each piece over and look at the back side too. The glass by itself is really amazing. I think we spent half our time in there. It was a great group of people and we all helped each other find pieces and give opinions. I can't wait to see how everyone's piece turns out. Even though we are using the same pattern, all our glass choices were so different each piece of work will be different as well. 

And then we got to start on the fun part. Putting everything we had done all day together to actually start cutting out the pieces for our project. He showed us how to place our patterns based on whether we wanted the pattern in our glass to flow or if we were using it for other effects.

Then we traced our patterns, held our breath, and cut. The glass was so beautiful none of us wanted to waste it by messing up. The glass I chose has a texture so I had to cut it on the back side which was smoother so I had to remember to flip my patterns.

In the end I was happy with the way my cuts went. I did mess up my sun (forgot to flip the pattern dagnabbit) but luckily the orange piece I had for the sun was big enough or me to get another shot without having to change colors. Here is where we quit for today. I could have stayed all day and finished!

In this one you can see my sky with the sun and the other 2 pieces I will be using. The blue will be the large piece on the bottom as water and the blue green you see will be the pieces right under the sun as my mountains.

This was so much fun! I can't wait to go back next week as that is when the scary part happens. i have to learn how to solder and that is the part that I am most worried about learning. It takes a really steady hand to make it look good. I will post an update next week and show you the finished product!


  1. i've got a buddy at work who does this stuff. such intricate work! can't wait to see your finished product :P