Just a reminder to take care of yourself during this busy time of the year. Slow down, pamper yourself and reflect every once in awhile. You need to stay healthy for yourself. Sending hugs and some downtime your way.
I love affirmations! I used to print out every positive affirmation I could get my hands on then I got to thinking and they all could not fit me, could they?
Years later I came across this one and it "spoke" to me.
And that was it! I found my affirmation. and I love it still to this day.
What is your favorite positive affiramtion?
When working in a stained glass studio there are many things you need to be alert to. You need to pay attention at all times, just to be safe around the glass. Shortcuts can lead to accidents. When I teach I ask students to silence their phones, interruptions can be the leading cause of accidents.
Here are some safety tips from my studio to yours.
Protect your body!
Ventilation- work in an open area with lots of ventilation or use an exhaust fan.
Chemicals- wear gloves while applying patina, some people wear disposable gloves while working with flux.
Eyes- protect your eyes at all times- from flying glass chips while cutting or grinding glass, flux spits while soldering. Goggles, safety glasses or full face shields all work. Wear safety glass/googles over prescription glasses.
Good light source- make sure you have good lighting
Wear long pants- solder balls that roll off workbench are hot! Sitting on glass chips is not fun either.
Wear closed toed shoes to protect from solder balls and glass chips falling.
Know where your First Aid Kit is!
Know what is going on around you while working with equipment.
Be checked out on the equipment before use.
Listen to your power tools. Do they sound normal or something fun, turn off right away. A saw blade can pop so quickly.
Clean up every work station you work at. You want to go to a clean space, please leave it clean for the next person.
All glass scraps go in the glass bucket not the garbage can! I have been cut too many times by glass in the plastic bag.
No food or drink while working. (a covered cup is ok) Glass can hop into your drink, flux and food are a deadly combo.
Clean up your tools, wipe them down to remove glass debris and flux (which will corrode tools so fast)
Be responsible for your tools, whether classroom provided or your own.
Be sure cutting area is clean before beginning to cut your glass. Tiny chips can break your glass.
Tweezers and Duct Tape are good for removing glass splinters.
When carrying glass, know what is on the floor in front of you. Carry glass vertically- one hand below and on on the side for stability.
Work on a solid surface, free of cracks and gaps.
Cover any cuts in your hands before soldering.
Pay attention to what you are doing. Know where your soldering iron is at al times.
Do not over flux.
Make sure the cord is never near to soldering iron or the cage of the soldering iron stand.
Children should not be in the studio for everyone's safety.
You should not eat or smoke while working with stained glass. You can transfer flux and lead to your mouth via your hands, food and cigarette.
Most of all, use common sense. You will learn as you go along how to work safely and by following some precautions you can save yourself some unwanted accidents and problems.
This was not meant to scare you but to alert you to what you need to be on the lookout for.
Be safe and create lots of beautiful stained glass creations!
Keep art in your heART!
A glass cutter is not really a glass cutter! A glass cutter scores the glass allowing you to break the glass where you want it broken.
There are many different types and brands of glass cutters out there, from the old school cutter that retails around $4 to superior quality for up to $50. It is one of those "you get what you pay things". I have used the $4 cutter and it is fine to start out with but you will want to upgrade for sure. The $4 one has to be dipped in lubricating oil to keep the blade lubed and in good working condition. The self oiling ones take that step out but they will leak so do not fill them to the top. The self oiling ones also can get replacement heads so you keep the cutter forever.
How do you care for your cutter? These simple steps will help your cutter last longer.
1) The glass cutter is one of the most important tools in your studio, treat it that way. Do not throw it in a can for storage or in a drawer with a bunch of other tools.
2) Make sure the glass surface is clean of dirt, which can clog the the cutting wheel.
3) Always lube up the wheel with cutter oil. You can put apiece of sponge in a bottle cap and soak it with oil. Just dap cutter on sponge to pick up oil and score. I would suggest every score or every other score depending on how much oil is on the wheel. A self oiling cutter will release oil with pressure. Check the wheel for debris like dust and dirt- that will prevent oil for releasing.
4) Start at edge of glass, score but do not run off the other edge. When you run off the glass you can chip the glass but also you can damage the wheel.
5) Clean your cutter by wiping it off after use. Just helps to prolong its life. Check the rubber washer on the nut to be sure it is not drying out or cracked ( will cause more oil to leak out when not in use).
6) Have fun and push yourself once in a while to cut tricky pieces. If you want more information on cutting glass, just comment and I will answer your questions.
Remember to sign up for my Insider Newsletter to get update news from the studio.
Keep art in your heART,
There are many choices of soldering irons for stained glass. My favorite two are the Weller 100 and Hakko FX-601.
When you purchase a new iron it will need to be tinned. By that I mean applying flux to warm iron tip and then rolling tip in solder. It needs a base of solder on it to work properly and to be maintained.
While soldering you can clean tip of flux residue (black) by dragging soldering iron tip over damp sponge of brass tip cleaner. This will help keep iron in good working order.
Metals oxidize when exposed to air and hot metal can oxidize quicker if not tended properly. This can lead to a hard blackish-brown crusty type of build up that won't wipe off. This build up interferes with the heat transfer from the iron tip to the solder and will greatly impact your work.
After trying both the sponge and flux to clean the tip of your soldering iron, sal ammoniac would be the next step if the others didn't work.
Sal ammoniac for cleaning your stained glass soldering iron tip comes in a solid block form similar to that of a bar of soap. It is hazardous so please read all safety tips included in or on the packaging. To use it, simply rub the hot iron tip across the surface in a bit of a scrubbing motion. It should work fairly quickly but sometimes the buildup is a bit stubborn to come off. Once the whole tip is clean and shiny, immediately add solder to it and it will flow smoothly around the whole tip.
Every week I loosen the collar that keeps the Weller 100 tip on and clean. If you do not keep the iron clean the flux overspray off so tip and collar do not rust.
Do not use a file, metal grinder or emery cloth to sand or scrape the iron tips clean. This will only damage the plating on the iron tip and ruin it. Try the cleaning methods mentioned above and if these cleaning procedures do not work, just get a replacement iron tip.
If you have any questions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Glass grinders mainly consists of a spinning diamond coated cylinder (the bit) extending above a grid surface that can rapidly and accurately grind glass to the desired shape, an electric motor and a water reservoir.
Do not purposely cut glass large with the intention of grinding. Ideally no grinding would have to be done. It should be used only for minor adjustments, for grinding tough-to-cut inside curves and roughing up edge for foil to adhere to.
The water reservoir should be emptied each day after use. It is not advisable to have standing water in your grinder for avoiding unpleasant smells, and moving a grinder with water risks damaging the grinder’s motor. Even if you do not move your grinder about, the water needs changing just as frequently as the glass sludge needs removing.
Ensure you clean your sponge, located behind the wheel, when cleaning out the reservoir. If you do not clean it regularly, it will become hard and stop bringing water to your grinding head.
The accumulated glass sludge should be cleaned out with scraper and disposed of in the waste, not down a sink. The glass sludge is relatively heavy and will bind to pipes becoming solid and block your drains. The glass sludge will restrict the flow of water to your grinding head.
Clean the plastic eye shield with running water, avoid rubbing it as that will scratch the surface.
ALWAYS be sure there is water in the reservoir before starting any grinding, but do not over fill as the excess water could get into the motor.
Grinder Head Maintenance
There seem to be two main indications of wear – chipping of the glass, and slow grinding. There are a number of reasons that may cause the grinder to chip the glass surface and not all are indications of wear. Some of the things to check are:
Too much pressure will cause the glass to chip.
Grit size has an influence on the way the edge appears. The coarser the grit is, the larger the chips will be taken off the edge surfaces. Smaller grits take smaller chips off the edges, and so are less obvious.
New bits can be a source of chipping.
Remove protruding diamonds, or cleaning and exposing new ones on a worn bit.
A worn or damaged grinder bit/head can cause chipping.
Inspect your bit carefully for smooth areas showing that the diamonds have been worn away. Also look for dents, and other irregularities on the surface, indicating that the bit is damaged. Any dents or smooth places on the bit cause a vibration that is similar to a tiny hammer tapping the edge of the glass.
Water is needed for grinding
Insufficient water supply can reduce the life of the grinder head.
If there is too little water reaching the head to lubricate the diamonds and keep the glass cool it can reduce the life of the grinder head, by overheating it too. If you are getting a white paste on or near the glass, you need to increase the water supply.
Vaseline for the shaft and set screw. Smooth any corrosion from the shaft with fine sandpaper and lubricate the shaft. Periodic removal of the bit and lubrication of the shaft should be part of the regular maintenance of the grinder. Also ensure the set screw is kept clear of glass grit by putting some Vaseline in the recess. This keeps the threads and the slot for the allen wrench from clogging up with glass grit.
Removing the Head
The first step in removing the grinding head is to loosen the set screw that fixes the head to the shaft. Insert the allen wrench as far as possible and while holding it in turn the key in an counterclockwise direction.
If the bit is firmly stuck, you will need a small gear puller to get the bit off the shaft. Small gear pullers are available from most auto supply stores.
Once you have the bit off, smooth any corrosion from the shaft with fine sandpaper and lubricate the shaft. Periodic removal of the bit and lubrication of the shaft should be part of the regular maintenance of the grinder.
If your grinder bit is too low or too high the diamond surface will not grind the whole of the glass edge. This can lead to chipping of the surface of the glass at the edges.
A good practice is to start with the bit as high as possible to allow for differing thicknesses of glass. This will ensure that you can deal with varying thicknesses of glass without immediate adjustment. You can then lower the bit as it wears.
Be certain that you secure the grinding head with the set screw facing the flat part of the shaft.
Of course, you need to ensure there is adequate water reaching the grinding bit to avoid overheating the glass, and to keep the dust from grinding from getting into the air.
Care in Use
Water is the primary lubricant. It washes the grit from between the diamonds and keeps the head cool. It also cools the glass, of course.
You can buy an additive for the water – often called a diamond or grinder coolant – which is intended to provide a kind of lubrication for the diamonds. This may also extend the life of the bit.
The diamond bit must be kept wet in order to reduce wear on the diamond and prevent glass dust from developing and being inhaled. There are several grits available. "Fine" grinds slower but leaves fewer chips out of the glass. "Coarse" grinds very fast but leaves larger chips. "Standard" is a central compromise.
Smooth any corrosion from the shaft with fine sandpaper and lubricate the shaft. Periodic removal of the bit and lubrication of the shaft should be part of the regular maintenance of the grinder.
The maintenance is not only on the shaft but also on the fixings. Putting a dab of Vaseline or bearing grease into the set screw socket will help keep it clear of the glass residue.
It may be that you are pressing the glass into the grinder head too hard. The grinder head should do the work. Firm rather than hard pressure should be applied. If the grinder slows, it is an indication that too much pressure is being applied.
If the grinder is not taking glass off fast enough for your purposes, you should put a coarser bit on the grinder, rather than press harder. The bits do come in a variety of grits. Try out some different grits to find the one that works best for the speed at which you want to remove the glass.
A maintenance routine for your grinder is a practice that will reward you with longer lives for your grinder heads and the machine itself.
*Empty water reservoir
*Clean out glass sludge
*Clean eye shield
*Inspect bit for wear. Adjust up or down or replace
*Inspect grub screw is free of glass grit. Clean and re-fill with Vaseline
*Check head moves freely up and down on shaft
A well cared for grinder can last over 10 years or more.
Any questions please email or call me
Keep art in your heART!
I am always asked is it difficult to work alone? Do I like to work with a friend?
I have had studios in building with other artist and I have worked alone over the years. Which do I prefer? that is harder to answer than I thought. I love working alone, no distractions and can listen to whatever music you want. I don't have to clean up after sessions either. But it is nice to have someone to talk to. So I guess I am torn.
When I am teaching in my studio, it feels more alive and I do love the students that have come through the doors. Some only stay a short time, while others hang out for months or years. I have been honored to meet some amazing people over the years.
So like I said I am torn whether to work solo or with people. Leaning towards alone a little.....
October 26 I taught a one day stained glass class at CCA Kinston. The students, Ruth Ann and Jolene, were wonderful. They came from New Bern just to take my class! We had a fun day, lots of laughs and stories. Of course, lots of hard work.
I love teaching at this venue. The building is huge and full of wonderful art. Their Gift Shop is loaded with great gift ideas for others or yourself! Well worth the trip to Kinston. The staff is top notch. They take such good care of their visitors.
I would love to take a PMC (Precious Metal Clay) class with Celie Fago at her studio. Dream... actually I would love to spend a week with her ad learn as much as humanly possible. I love her work, style and her easy going attitude.
Here is a link to her website so you can see her work.
I have taken PMC classes with other well known PMC artists: Jeanette Landenwitch (could not find her website), Catherine Davies Paetz and Gordon Uyehara . You might want to check out their work, it is amazing!
I am a certified PMC Instructor and have taught a few classes here in NC and quite a few when I was in Virginia at Star's Beads In Vienna, VA. I plan on adding PMC classes back into the schedule after the holidays.
Would you be interested in learning how to work with PMC?
The purpose of windows is to see outside, let light in and provide a means to exchange the air in a building. The purpose of stained glass windows is not to allow people to see outside, but to beautify the building, control light and to tell a story.
Churches can have very ornate windows or just colored glass panes in the window frame. It depends on how much the church was/is willing to pay for the windows.
It is beautiful at night when the lights are on inside the church and you can see them from the outside. I love to visit churches and walk through the Sanctuary and take in the beauty of the windows. Each church has its own windows that tell their story.
Next time you get a chance to really look at the windows in a church, imagine them being made, who them makers were and how long they have been hanging in that church.
Have a beautiful week.
Blogging with Glass!