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Demonstrating leading and soldering a stained glass panel
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 Posted: Tue Sep 27th, 2011 04:34 pm
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Don Burt
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This would be a good course if taught by someone who is really good at it. I can fabricate a panel. I could probably write a book about leading and soldering from material stolen from sources on my book shelf. But I know I don't do it very well. Fabricating with lead seems to me something about which you can only read so much, then you really have to do it yourself to learn it. And then watch somebody else do it well, to learn to do it well. Maybe to some people, being able to lead-up a panel is a good-enough-is-good-enough skill, but I suspect that there are levels of craftmanship above my own that I'd enjoy working toward. I'm curious about the rest of the Guild's opinions: Is leading/soldering a skill that you've acquired and now take for granted, or are there people out there who can really do it well and from whom you could learn by watching? Thanks in advance for your feedback.



 Posted: Thu Sep 29th, 2011 01:15 pm
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Roberto
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Don,
Good question. I take my leading and especially my solder joints very seriously. I find that the temperature of the iron is key. Too cold, and the joints don't come out looking good, and are not doing what they are supposed to either. Too hot, and we all know what happens. I like it hot enough that all I do is place the solder under the iron onto the joint to be soldered, and briefly leave the iron until I get a nice, clean edged soldering joint. I have seen people quickly move the hot iron with melted solder over the joints. In my opinion, that just covers the surface joint.  If I see rough or jagged edges, that tells me that the iron is not hot enough.

As far as how or where to learn, I learned by doing it over and over. I knew what I wanted, what the final result I was looking for, and just practiced ad nauseam, until I was satisfied.
Yes, I do think one can learn by watching someone else, but he or she who wants to learn, really has to want to learn and have an open mind.  I find that teaching an apprentice, with no or little experience who wants to learn, is easier than trying to teach someone with some experience, who has to undo bad habits.  

Keep up with your most amazing work.  You always blow my mind.
Roberto



 Posted: Thu Oct 6th, 2011 06:47 pm
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Mary Clerkin Higgins
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Hi Don,

One important issue is: what was the intention of the artist when developing the lead lines?  Some artists like whipping lead lines that provide energy to the design and whoever puts them together must be sensitive to that.  I've seen what should have been whipping leadlines just gallumping along because of insensitive (which to me is incompetent) glazing.   If the line drawn is a beautiful curve, there's no reason the leadline should not be a beautiful curve.  Or if it's supposed to be a straight line, it should be a straight line, not a wobbly one.  To me that's the fun of glazing, making it beautiful. 

Best, Mary




 Posted: Mon Oct 10th, 2011 01:00 am
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Tod
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I think many folks either haven't seen really good leading or simply don't know how/where to set their own high standards. Without high standards, "good enough" will be good enough, I fear. - Tod



 Posted: Tue Oct 11th, 2011 02:08 pm
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David Crane
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Hi Don,

It's taken me awhile to wrap my brain around your premise.

I agree with your notion about books and magazine pieces. Reading books and technical articles are one thing but I have found that ten minutes of watching somebody who knows what they are doing trumps ten years of reading and trial and error, in many disciplines.

Lets all wail about the demise of apprenticeship programs. The AGG is hopefully filling some of the void.

I view glazing as a meditation. Some of the finest and most fulfilling times I have had as a stained glass practitioner have been during the process of glazing. Providing that the cartoonist (usually me) is also an accomplished glazier, a certain leading logic emerges. This logic mostly entails keeping any given length of lead (lead line) continuous without having to cut it to make a joint, no matter the design (sometimes). The meditation comes in when plotting the next steps utilizing this maxim. Sort of like chess.

One easily understood aspect of this idea is keeping all vertical leads continuous as possible, including border leads to avoid hinge joints.

Of course there are always the "exceptions".

One of which is when doing diamond lights one wants to "weave" the leads to avoid hinge joints working on the diagonal.

Another is when the design necessitates some "sculptural" lead work, smooth joints, overlays, etc. As Mary mentioned, being sensitive to the artist's intentions.

This is why it is an "art'.
It's all about discernment and judgement regarding existing conditions.

How do you teach that?



 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2011 10:05 pm
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Judy K
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Thank you DON!!!!!!!!!!!! I have suggested such a class several times. It is the area I still feel weakest in. Practice is helping, asking lots of questions is helping, but I will still be working along and all of a sudden nothing is going right again. And I don't know why. So I feel almost like I am reinventing the wheel half the time.

Truly the apprentice approach to learning is best. but not an option here. I am a visual learner and can learn things from the teacher he/she does not even know they are teaching.

What if we had a medium sized window laid out and during the conference. 6 people, with years of experience, took an hour whack at it. We could watch different people solve similar situations in their way all weekend long. 2 a day, one right after lunch, and one right after dinner.

I would not mind a conference talk on leading either. Solder temp, I think, is one of my biggest issues. .. but maybe it is not the temp,..... maybe it is the way I hold the iron....... or maybe it is the moon phase.........



 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 01:11 am
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Don Burt
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Judy K wrote: clipWhat if we had a medium sized window laid out and during the conference. 6 people, with years of experience, took an hour whack at it. We could watch different people solve similar situations in their way all weekend long. 2 a day, one right after lunch, and one right after dinner.

clip

 

I definitely would pay a course fee to watch what you describe Judy. I want to see how they handle the lead strips.  What knife they use. How they mark an angle for cutting. How they trim the center for a tuck or don't tuck. How they flux, cuss, fling solder on the floor, everything. All the while talking or in dialog with the class and other instructors, arguing about whats important and whats not, and discussing the design aspects of leading that the other folks above have discussed.

 

 

Last edited on Mon Oct 17th, 2011 01:14 am by Don Burt



 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 01:53 am
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Judy K
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High Five, Don! I owe you a beer if you can make this happen!



 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 12:42 pm
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Tod
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I think I'd like such a demo/presentation, also. I'm sure many folks would learn a lot and reinventing the wheel is such a waste most of the time! - T



 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 03:56 pm
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Rona
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Mebbe somebody should suggest it to a conference Program Chair.

Rona
Pittsburgh Conference Program Chair.



 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 05:09 pm
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Judy K
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Some one tried to yesterday but she put in your old address and it bounced back. Grrrrrr. Had not had the time to try again. So here it is.....

I suggest what has been discussed above. :) Pretty Please.



 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 05:28 pm
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artfem
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Rona:

I would make every reasonable effort to include Jack Cushen in the demonstration. He is one of the best I have ever worked with. He doesn't say much, but like pictures, his hands are worth a thousand words.



 Posted: Wed Oct 19th, 2011 02:50 am
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Tod
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Since the 80's, I have wanted to see Jack work. Maybe I'll finally get the chance! Even if I have to pay, it would probably be worth it.  - Tod



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