Avoiding Mistakes by Taking Pictures

One of my most helpful tools in the glass shop is my camera.  It probably seems like the last tool to choose for working in stained glass but it is true!  I have always taken pictures of my work.  I do a lot of custom work and often enjoy keeping a client updated by letting them see their work come to life.  A picture here and there keeps the excitement alive and lets them know that you haven’t run off with their deposit.

I also take pictures to keep my blog up to date, spark interest in potential clients and keep family and friends up to date on what’s going on in my life.  In a time when everyone is social networking having a camera around is pretty normal.  Whether it is a SLR, point and shoot or a camera phone, most people have a camera around or on them nearly all the time.

But the real reason I take pictures is to catch my mistakes before it is too late.

I create my pattern, get out my crayons and color code each piece of the pattern along with indicating which direction I would like glass oriented.  But every once in a while something happens in the shop and I put the wrong color in where it should not go.

danielTake for instance the lion piece I have been working on:

It wasn’t until after I posted my update that I realized I put sky where there should have been hair.  I often grab all the pattern pieces I am about to cut for one color and go to work on them.  Evidently I grabbed a wrong piece and was not paying attention to the color coding when I began cutting the glass. Luckily after reviewing my post I saw the problem and went straight to the shop to fix it.

It can be really easy to make mistakes on a large piece (the picture is small but the window is actually quite large).  Just like many forms of art, sometimes you need to take a step back and review.  Your field of vision needs time to take the whole thing in and your nose needs to be away from the few pieces you are focusing on at the time.

I use my camera for this.  It is easier for me to review my whole pattern and work in progress in the palms of my hands or shrunken down on a computer screen side-by-side than it is to look at a huge pattern and huge window.

However you choose to review your work — make sure to review regularly and often!

By Daniel Szwalkiewicz, www.glasstrailer.com

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