Stained Glass Intensive

This past weekend, I took a stained glass intensive at The Vinery in Madison where they take a 4-5 week class and smoosh it into a two day seminar. It was fantastic. It was so great to spend seven hours working on something. This is definitely the way I prefer to craft. We did take a lunch break in the middle but I really loved coming right back to work on my piece. The Vinery is a fantastic studio and everyone I met who taught or worked in the store were so nice.  I definitely recommend that studio and I signed up for a lamp class pretty much right away!

Now, the issue I have when I work on a piece is that I’m so happy with the way things are fitting all the way up until I foil it.  And even though I can’t really tell how things are going to look on the board (since no light can shine through), based on how quilts come together, I’m pretty confident that the colors will work together.

IMG_20160430_160126Actually, even after I foil it, although I can see all these HUGE gaps, I’m still pretty happy with it.IMG_20160430_161434But then I solder it and then for some reason, it seems like all my hard work was for naught because it just doesn’t look that great. Mostly it has to do with my soldering and my being new to it which I hope to make better as I make more pieces.  There’s definitely an adjustment period after I solder where I have to get used to how it looks. But once I clean it up, polish it, and hold it up to the light, I’ve usually changed my mind.IMG_20160501_112744I ended up taking it to work where I have a giant window I can decorate. I kinda love it now. 🙂IMG_20160502_113036

30 days of crafting recap

2016 was a great year for my crafting challenge. I managed to craft a little bit each night almost 85%  of the time in March.  Last year, I crafted about 47% before abandoning the challenge. One thing that helped greatly was having a class scheduled during the month. It helped with not having to come up with something to do each night which can be an issue despite having a slew of kits I could have worked on. And stained glass being a relatively new skill, it was nice to learn something new versus just working on the same old crafts.

Finished stained glass panel + mini cat tax!


day 7

Through a couple of old coworkers, I discovered that there is a stained glass shop in Janesville, a town only 30 minutes from my house. This made things infinitely easier to take classes as I thought I’d have to travel to Madison or Milwaukee to take a class.  The Glass Garden is a fantastic store run by the lovely Judy. On day 7 of my craft month, I attended a glass cutting class to learn how to cut straight lines, curves, inner curves, and circles.  I was able to try out several different types of glass cutters and had a great time learning the different cuts and about carbide wheels, surface tension on glass and safety.  I’m really glad I attended because I learned so much but also because I found out that a couple of people in her sold-out beginning class were a no-show so I was able to get into her class!

Part of why I’m really excited is that I’ve been looking for a new craft to really dive into. The last craft I really did this with was sewing and I delved into it so hard that I actually became a full-time sewing teacher for awhile.  Since then, and while I still really love sewing, I’ve been looking for something new to get into and I’m hoping stained glass is it based on my level of interest and the somewhat easy startup cost.

stained glass star

I’ve done some copper foiling and soldering before but not technically a stained glass piece. Having a chance to take a one day class, I headed to Madison College to make a simple star.  IMG_20160206_101815Here’s the glass all cut out and edge ground. The square bevels were store-bought to keep the class easy and short. I was surprised that no rulers were involved. The first exposure I had to stained glass five years ago made it seem a cork-backed ruler was absolutely necessary.IMG_20160206_111136

After copper foiling the edges, the numbered order had to change due to a bit of a shape change by all the pieces. The larger-than-normal push pins kept all the pieces in place while I tack soldered all the pieces together. I soldered the back first, then the front, and ended up with something like this:IMG_20160206_115539

After smoothing out the solder, adding some hooks and washing it of my marks and flux, the finished product against a snowy background. I ended up giving it to my mom for Lunar New Year.