Channeling my dad

I (obviously) haven’t had much to say here, but I’ve been kinda busy. Well, busy for me, anyway. The driving job comes in waves; I’ll go for two weeks with no assignments, then I’ll get 5 in 3 days. Looks like I’ll be spending most of this week with one client. The job really is perfect for me. I drive, I spend time reading or doing errands, I get to help people out. Everyone who uses this service is on workman’s comp, and every person I’ve met has said the same thing: I wanna go back to work.

After thinking about it a little, I realize that I’m channeling Daddy. He was a salesman with a territory, so he drove a lot. No, I’m not selling anything, but I am definitely driving a lot, and learning things about where I live, like how to get from my house to High Point without using the highway, or the exact location of Archdale and Trinity. But the REAL channeling started a couple of weeks ago when I decided to take up a new hobby….working with stained glass. Daddy started with a lampshade kit and a community continuing education class. There must be a hundred sheets of glass in my basement. Daddy had big plans, I suppose. Seemed kind of silly to have all that glass, and the equipment to work with it, and not use it. So a couple of weekends ago, Hubby and I pulled out all the equipment and found enough supplies, like copper foil and flux and soldering irons, etc. to last quite a while. I went online and found a beginning stained glass book, watched a few videos on Youtube, and ordered what I thought would be an easy kit. Well, turns out I probably chose the most difficult type of work to solder. It’s a sculpture sort of thing, a twisted wire about 18 inches long, with butterflies and flowers soldered together then attached to the wire.

What that means is that, instead of doing a panel with relatively large pieces of glass, I’m foiling small pre-cut pieces of glass, then tinning each individual piece. They only way it would have been more difficult would have been if I cut the pieces myself. I guess the thought process was a) learn to foil and solder, THEN b) learn to cut the glass. At least I know my way around a soldering iron, thanks to my first “real” job….working for AT&T, soldering relay switches. Tiny relay switches. The foiling wasn’t too bad. Daddy had a pretty neat foiler. And the utensil you use to smooth the foil, a lathekin, well, is very well worn from Daddy’s years of smoothing and shaping the foil to the glass. But I wish I had started out with a panel. Here’s a leaf from the project, the very first thing I “tinned”:

It doesn’t look too bad, but a closer inspection shows that there is WAY too much solder on there. Turns out tinning is supposed to be a very light covering of solder. I watched a few more videos yesterday and tried again and got a much better result. Live and learn and embrace my suck-i-ness. Here’s my workspace, for now:

It has issues. I moved a desk lamp in, so I can see much better. But it won’t do once I start actually cutting glass because there’s carpet under that desk. No glass dust in the carpet. Yesterday I finished tinning all the pieces and realized that there’s probably no way I’ll ever get this project finished. At least not any time soon. I was supposed to use U-channel lead, not foil and solder. Lead would have been much easire to work with, since the only thing that would need soldering on each piece was the joint where the lead came together. And I need lead to give the poor butterflies some bodies. AND lead would be easier to solder to the twisted wire that holds the sculpture together. Note to self: when the instructions say “use U-channel lead”, do what it says. This could have been relatively easy, but in my zeal to get busy with glass I made it REALLY hard.

Once I realized the error of my learning ways, I got back online and found a beginning beveled glass panel. Everything is cut except for the corners of 4 squares that need to be cut away. Four straight cuts. I can manage that. So the sad butterflies and flowers will most likely get chalked up to live-and-learn. I’m a silly perfectionist, so it’s hard to put that aside and let the first piece go unfinished. The more I think about it, though, the easier it gets to leave it and move on to something else. I would like for the first piece I finish to be something I could actually SHOW to someone else, and that certainly would not be the case with the sculpture thing.

So, I’m going to the beach, and when I get back I’ll have something new to start with that will have a better chance at seeing completion. Who knows? Maybe I won’t be able to cut it, being a glass crafter. Ha! Cut it….funny. On the other hand, I may be able to put all that glass to good use. Maybe there’s just enough of daddy in me to get past the fear of failure and do something new. I won’t really know until I give it a real try.

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