Diary of a Demented Store Owner

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Monthly Sale Page for May

A horrifying picture of Zenia is usually our way of announcing the posting of The FIG Monthly Sale. As birds are singing and children laughing, all revelling in anticipation of a wondrous summer, we soften our resolve and post only a mildly interesting pic of her this month.
Go here for the sale (might need a page refresh)
Oh yeah, Hollander Glass has gone bankrupt...

Monday, 29 April 2013

Wholesale Enquiries

Yes, rumours are true.
As well as being the largest retailer in Canada, we also sell wholesale to legitimate businesses (meaning not you Guido... Picholas).
If you are a retailer, fabricator, contractor, artist, eccentric or designer involved in the stained/leaded/fused/torch working glass field, and can prove it, you can apply for wholesale status. 

Open Letter April 2013
We have fielded many enquiries about wholesale purchasing at Fantasy In Glass since the bankruptcy of Hollander Glass.  We now must dwell on what to do next.
Let Mikey give you a few things to consider...
Fantasy In Glass is Canada's largest retail supplier of stained glass, fusible glass and all related sundries and has been so for over 30 years. We have developed relationships with many suppliers over the years and have been able to procure supplies at better than market rates and in ever increasing quantity. This has allowed us to offer very competitive retail pricing as well as discounts to the trade. Something we will continue to do.
However we are not Hollander Glass. While our selection is greater than theirs, the quantities are more in keeping with what to expect from a large retailer. We do not have a loading dock, or a banding machine and the assets necessary to crate, palletize and truck ship. 
In other words, we can service many of you at wholesale, but if you were the type of customer who received truck shipments then you might be best served by one of the American Wholesalers (for glass at least).

So if you qualify, consider the above, and wish to become a wholesale customer of ours, come on in- we’d love to service you as best as possible. As pricing is confidential to the trade, we will only share this information with you once you have registered and have been approved (applications accompanied by bottles of single malt scotch  get preferential treatment)
Our website is a virtual change purse of knowledge and is even occasionally entertaining. Mikey is particularly proud of the FIG Blog- Diary of a Demented Store Owner which foresaw the demise of Hollander Glass many years ago. But what we’re not so proud of is our catalogue which you should perhaps forego. Rest assured we do carry much more than it shows (see 
store tour here), and if you need price quotes and need specific quantities use this form for most and this for Sys96 fusible (and this for Bullseye Rodz on sale for torchwork) we’ll be glad to get back to you.

Sorry, but just filling out the application without valid
documentation support sadly doesn’t count)

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Staff Finally Pulling Their Weight

Here's the newest glass colour that's just come in from Spectrum- Sp230.71 Hydrangea (it is fusible but of course also suitable for stained glass work). Only problem is that the sheet size is 24" x 24". With the FIG Glass Stretcher currently on loan to some unscrupulous back alley stained glass studio sweatshop, Vanna Opal and Nicholas Picholas try to take matters into their own hands and try to enlargen the sheets of this soon to be popular new colour.

We Don't Mean To Brag But...

... actually, yes, on second thought, we do.
Hollander Glass has failed and gone into bankruptcy (yes, I do take a certain pleasure in repeatedly pointing that out given how horrible it has been for all of us while they were around under the last owner. 

Looking for something? In tools?
We've got groziers and lead dykes, running pliers, over 400 glass cutters, soldering irons from several manufacturers, iron stands, grinder heads in all sizes including the new and popular 3/8" heads (bigger than 1/4" and smaller than 3/4" for the size challenged), strip and circle cutters, lens cutters, l-squares, Morton Tools, mosaic cutters, lathekins, fids, and on and on...
Here's a picture of our Tool Wall...

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Copper Foil

We don't really feel comfortable bragging  so we won't.
Ah, the heck with it. Sure we're going to brag.
Just a bit...

Not only do we have every possible size and colour in stock, we even have it all from four manufacturers- from the best (Edco) to the worst (Dragon)...

Friday, 26 April 2013

Happy Dancing All Around

So Hollander Glass Glass is no more (Mikey seems to get an unnaturally gleeful charge out of saying that...Vanna Opal).
We continue to move forward unabated.
Picholas empties enough glass crates to make himself a nice little dance floor and proceeds to do his rendition of the Happy dance...

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Another Delivery Arrives

 Hollander Glass is bankrupt. 
I know, I shouldn't gloat.
Mom always said that we shouldn't dwell on another person's misfortune...
Ah, the heck with it. Let's revell in it, eh?! 
Happy Dances for everyone in the glass business today!

The last owner (there were really only two, with the founders- The Dick Family being the one's that built this industry from nothing) was incredibly damaging (lawyer says add 'in my opinion'... Vanna Opal reminds Mikey), raising prices, taking advantage of currency fluctuations, reducing selection, I could go on and on. 
Suffice it to say- we are definitely better off today now that they are gone.

Now, we were never beholden to this one now failed, bankrupt supplier (he just loves to dwell on that doesn't he?... Vanna Opal) having always brought in truck shipments from the U.S.
And today is one of those days-

Now in- Spectrum, Kokomo, Uroboros, Youghiogheny glass, even GNA, fusible glass and sundries including all the newest colours, chemicals (triolyse glue- larger size and some without the optional fixative), bottle cutters, Yogi ends, and the absolute WORLD'S BEST GLASS CUTTER!!!

Deep Thought From Gary Amber

If I lived back in the wild west days, instead of carrying a six-shooter in my holster, I'd carry a soldering iron. That way, if some smart-alec cowboy said something like "Hey, look. He's carrying a soldering iron!" and started laughing, and everybody else started laughing, I could say, "That's right, it's a soldering iron. The soldering iron of justice." Then everybody would get real quiet and ashamed, because they had made fun of the soldering iron of justice.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Our new square Coneart kilns have been a hit! Much more efficient in their square format as you can see in these pics. 
The large kiln measures 24" square and runs on 240 volt. The small one is 15" square and runs on 120volt (but requires a 20 amp circuit).


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Rolling Along Part 2

Mikey continues his Happy Dance as we fill you in on the effect (little) of the failure of Hollander Glass. A company that had used us all up and has now left the building.
We have five shipments pending from several American suppliers with a medium sized shipment pending in the next two weeks containing;
- over 1600 sale squares 
- over 1200 square feet of Sys96 fusible glass (Spectrum and Uroboros) including their new SP533.2 Blue Topaz and SP230.71 Hydrangea Opal! (no Bullseye Glass as you can buy it direct)
- Youghiogheny Ends to complement our Uroboros Ends (and Vanna Opals End... Lecherous Mike)
- GNA Clear Drawn Antique (stunning)
- over 1000 square feet of Spectrum Clears, opals, and cathedrals 
- Gluchip, Kokomo, Youghiogheny Stipples and Uroboros glass
- glass cutters from Toyo, Morton Tools, black jack chain, copper foil (all sizes and colours)
- Zinc came, lead came
- triolyse glue, CJ's Cleaner,  grinder coolant, various patinas, cement for lead came and all manner of other chemicals
- vase caps in all sizes

Just in last week-  glass cutters, grinders, bandsaws and diamond blades, all manner of hand tools (groziers, fids, dykes, running pliers, mosaic pliers, fids and lathekins), frit makers and sorters, irons and iron stands, medium silver bails, grinder heads and drill bits...

Friday, 19 April 2013

Last Night's Beginner Class

Look, most of them passed too!
Party food not an indication of the hard work that goes on in these classes...

Once Again, The Missus Dispels the Myth About Size...

The standard grinder head size is 3/4" (diameter). 
The most popular accessory head is the 1/4".
The soon-to-be most popular accessory head will be the  new 3/8" head.
While the 1/4" head is fine, it's almost too small, and because of the narrower diameter it has less surface and will not grind as quickly as a larger head.

So, if you tell Vanna Opal that size does matter, we'll knock $10/off a set until May 15!

Go Ahead, Have a Look Around...

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Bit of a Contest

Zenia and Mikey did a series of fused platters and plates (hence the pic here to the left- she's so happy when she gets to play with power tools... Vanna Opal), based on Dr. Seuss. It's now Mikey's turn to pick the topic and he chose The Beatles' Yellow Submarine. 
Below are two colour copies of projects on the go.  Guess the colours we chose that match these pictures, by May 3rd, and the first person on each one will get $25 store credit just because...

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Rolling Along

After all that editorializing about the failure of Hollander Glass the other day, I felt that while we feel we did an adequate job outlining the effect this will have on all of us, we also need to perhaps better alleviate any anxiety people may have about getting supplies from here on. (Wow, some run-on sentence that was, but really, it didn't seem to be really sounding like... oh, there he goes again... Vanna Opal).
The closing of Hollander Glass has had virtually no effect on us glad to say. Yes, we did buy some glass and supplies from them, but at a lessening rate once the founder Bill Dick and Family sold to the present and now failed owner. The only downside is that if we fall out of stock on an item now we might have to wait a month or two. Hey, wait a minute, never mind, that was happening anyway when Hollander was still in business! 
Oh well. But of course there's always the price saving from buying locally from Hollander, right?  Nope. We bring in glass at an average saving of about 20% over what we would pay at Hollander.
Ok. Well then for sure it's got to be the selection, right? Uh, maybe not. Hollander dropped all Bullseye (fusible and not- try Bullseye Direct now), Oceana, most gluchips, French MNA, German GNA (no problem, the very popular Clear we have in stock... Vanna), Edco Copper Foil,  and had virtually no inventory of Kokomo and Youghiogheny, Glastar grinders and tools, Inland grinders and not one single piece of Swiss Cheesed Glass (oops, they never had the rights to carry that line anyway as it has always been exclusive to Fantasy In Glass... Hellful Vanna).
So, Hollander Glass Canada is no more. It might rise from the ashes like a phoenix, under new ownership one day, but the current regime has used us all up and has left the building.
Mikey and Figimodo continue to do the Happy Dance...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

It’s Not Us,Really. It’s Them

... oops.
... guess our regular Wednesday delivery won’t be coming...

Just received the following email today from our one and only Canadian Stained Glass Supplier-

Dear Valued Client,
The Great Recession has finally caught up to us, and we are going to have to close our doors indefinitely before we re-open under new ownership.  Your business is very important to us, and we will be in touch with you again upon re-opening.
Yours sincerely,
The Team at Hollander Glass Canada

Huge news! For anyone even casually involved in stained and fused glass. 
We’ve been very alone and very outspoken about the new owners (10 years on) of our one and only Canadian stained glass supplier (hereon referred to as OOCSGS) and their effect on our industry, one that Mikey (and his peers) saw as extremely negative. So, let’s take a look at this a little closer and see what this means to our chosen artform...

The questions that immediately come to mind are;

1) Is this a bad thing?
2) How will this affect resellers of supplies? 
3) How about those in the business making finished goods?
4) How will this affect you, our customer in getting supplies?

So, let’s take them one by one;
1) A bad thing?
Absolutely not. 

Actually to the contrary. 
Mikey continues to do the Happy Dance in celebration! 
Well, for the past decade most of us have been largely dependent upon this one wholesaler, who alone ran roughshod over the industry. OOCSGS was able to do as they pleased after having bought the competition (he actually said "This is particularly exciting because of the benefits it brings to the industry").
And then with this monopoly, he proceeded to do what he felt was good for business. His or ours I can't say as litigious lawyers restrict me from saying, but read the inference. Where we once had two suppliers run by businessmen who started out as artisans, we now had one who had no awareness of, or inclination to learn about glass. Selection steadily decreased as prices substantially increased (it got so bad that we could buy supplies at retail from the U.S. cheaper than from OOCSGS at wholesale). Stock outages were consistently large in quantity and long on time. Ownership seemed totally detached and disinterested in those who provided him with his livelihood. No effort was made to meet with and learn to understand his customers (oops- he did meet me once in ten years). 

OOSCS ownership blames ‘The Great Recession’ as the cause of their failure? 

I disagree. 
Anyone that looks to the long term, offers good value, is sincere in their wish to offer support and provides selection and pricing that allows a reasonable return will always succeed.
OOCSGS only took from the industry and did nothing to grow it. We ordered from a catalogue that came from the previous owner, meaning their primary selling tool was one that was over a decade old. It was sheer guesswork trying to figure out what was still available and what might be new. We had no current and accurate pricelists, often having to wait until our invoices arrived to see what things actually cost. Even visiting the warehouse, the labels on the racks were from 15 years ago. Ah but we could always go to their website perhaps (another great selling tool)? Well, I guess, if you want to take a class that might have happened over a year ago, or find out what new products just came out in 2009. Sales flyers came late, were out-of-date, had no pretty pictures 'cuzz Mikey likes pictures...

We have a whole new generation of customers coming in that have no idea what Full Antiques are, or Ring Mottles, or what oleic acid is used for, or what’s a Worden Lamp kit all about, or even how wonderful Swiss Cheesed Glass is (still exclusive to FIG Inc)...

2) What about the retailer? While all this is significant and hurtful to the entire stained glass market, it is more so for the small retailer. This is very evident from the number of those that have closed in the past few years. The largest expense we face is carrying costs on inventory. For some of us that can be quite sizable, but necessary, allowing us to still operate successfully. Smaller stores who are unable to carry sufficient inventory suffer greatly when OOCSGS is out of stock. What’s a retailer to do if they have no glass cutters when a new class begins?

3) What about those who make their livelihood from glass?  The artisan too will suffer. While they were never a large consumer of goods, they were the lifeblood of our industry, keeping our artform in the public eye, continually educating and generating new found interest in those exposed to it, bringing more traffic to retailers to take classes, who then become customers, and heaven forbid, actually might have become customers of OOCSGS. 

4) What does this mean for you? We have always maintained a substantial inventory in size and selection, and will continue to do so. We have always bought supplies from other sources as we understood the danger of being beholden to one supplier (good or bad) and will continue to do so. Stock outages of course might be more problematic and there could be delays, but we will manage. It is the smaller retailers that will have difficulty surviving. They are less able to make sizable purchases that make bringing in truckloads of goods from the U.S. feasible.

So to conclude, in my opinion, it is a good thing that OOCSGS has closed (perhaps reopening another day under different ownership) as the present ownership’s only success was to decimate this industry over the past decade. I feel for those who now are out of a job- many like S, S, G, J, M and M, some who have close to a quarter century invested in OOCSGS. I also fear for the fallout across Canada to all those retailers, artists and craftspeople who will have a greater difficulty in securing inventory, building beautiful pieces and inspiring another generation to pick up this artform we have found so rewarding.

We miss you Bill Dick.

More to come- I have much more to share. 

And, oh yeah, in case you were wondering, sure as hell, we aren’t going anywhere!


A very common question we get is 'What happens to a textured glass when you fuse it?'.
Of course if you take the glass to a temperature high enough to melt, then whatever texture was on the surface would just melt out as well. Picture a chocolate bar with its embossed surface out on the sidewalk in the mid-day summer sun. It ends up as a rather obscene looking thing (sorry for that image that will now haunt you the rest of the day... Zenia). 
So why even have textures you wonder?
Well, as in this plate below, we filled the crevices in the Spectrum Cord texture with powders to create those interesting lines when fused flat-

Another thing you might consider is fusing a textured glass with the texture down. This way the glass will still fuse flat removing any surface texture, but the texture 'memory' will remain. 

This picture shows the politically incorrect and ugly mold that Slumpy inadvertently shipped to us and then were nice enough to not charge us for it. The glass is a Spectrum Opalart with a Clear Cord for a cap-

After fusing we see that the texture is smooth but the memory of the Cord remains. We also see that as the Opalart also has some surface texture we get some interesting bubble patterns-

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Man Doing Stained Glass Has No Time Time To Read Comics

HIGH PARK, ON—Despite his great love of literature, stained glass hobbyist, Jimmy Scrouball laments he doesn’t have time to read. The 50-year-old High Park resident was interviewed Monday in his basement and reported “Sure,” said Scrouball, “ I’d love to curl up with a good Green Lantern adventure a lot more often,” as he copper foiled another piece of Kokomo #123 copper blue opal and soldered it into place in his 967th nite lite this month. “but, unfortunately, between work and washing my hands incessantly there just isn’t much time.” Scrouball then flipped over his 968th nitelite (a lovely, colourful, yet subdued teddy bear nitelite) and proceeded to solder the other side...

Thursday, 4 April 2013

New Stuff and Other Things

With the industry abuzz with rumours of the sale of one of our major Canadian suppliers, Picholas catches Mikey dancing the Happy Dance with hopes that finally now things can only get better (they couldn't be any worse I tell ya'- walking through their warehouse the other day makes me fearful if there is no change). 
In any case, while the cupboard is literally bare, there was a brief flurry of activity with a recently arrived Uroboros order being unpacked. So here's what's newest from one of our favourite manufacturers-

Three New System 96 Sheet Glass Colours (good for fusing and stained glass)
You've asked for them, and here they are: Two new blue-gray opals and Apple-Jade Opal in 3mm! These classic colours add depth and complexity to the System 96 opal palette. 

60-078-96 Payne's Gray Opal
60-079-96 Chambray Opal
60-726-96 Apple Jade Opal

New System 96 "Metallic" Frits
For the first time anywhere, this new product provides the precious metal shimmer of Uroboros' popular Sheet Glass Gold and Silver Irids in a Frit form. It's quite a different look from their Rainbow Irid Frit. Metallic Frit looks best layered over dark colors or Black. Shown here is Medium Metallic Clear frit over black.

F3-00-96 MIR Medium Clear Metallic
F5-00-96 MIR Coarse Clear Metallic
F7-00-96 MIR Mosaic Clear Metallic

Monday, 1 April 2013

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If you're looking for great cutting glass, we suggest you look on the back side of your glass. 
For holes the size of a dime. 
Or a 15mm jewel. 
Lots of them. 
Because glass that has these holes is a full three decibels louder when being cut. 
Which may not sound like much. 
But an increase of three decibels will double the cutability of your glass cutter at its tuning frequency (30 hertz). And reduce what's known as 'cutter wheel excursion'. With this added tractibility your glass cutter requires less pressure to generate force to the glass. 
Of course, with this remarkable glass, there's one thing you'll miss- frustration. Simply, Swiss Cheesed GlassWerks' cathedral glass is unmatched in ease of cutability when compared to glass without holes. It cuts with less pressure and therefore poses less stress on your cutter wheel and therefore your hand. 

Now remember, this is a science, so there's more here than just drilling holes. Swiss Cheesed GlassWerks' engineers fine tune each sheet of glass for optimum performance and efficient cutability. All of which means that if your glass doesn't have holes you might want to talk to a Swiss Cheesed GlassWerks dealer. 
And get the hole truth!
Available exclusively at Fantasy In Glass Glassworks, Canada's first and still only officially sanctioned stained glass emporium!

(SwissCheesed GlassWerks is the official defacto holder of the naming rights to the Fantasy In Glass building)