Archive for January, 2011

A very English Mermaid

I have just finished a front door transom light for a lovely family in Exmouth. They have been renovating their Victorian terrace and my design is one of the finishing touches. The brief was to create a mermaid panel with some turquoise and to blend with the decor of the house. The mermaid was to reflect the British coast, with cool colours and also still let light into the hall way.

I used a range of Spectrum and cathedral glass for the window, using the textures and patterns of the glass to add a sense of movement to the piece and I acid etched tiny sea life into the mermaids hair and the rocks at the bottom of the sea. The mermaids limbs were cut from opalescent glass with an iridescent sheen, which gives her an extra magical glow.

The main challenge with the panel was fitting the detail into a very long, thin panel and I kept the lines as simple as possible.

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Rip it up and start again

This poor old window landed in my workshop just after Christmas, it is over a meter long, but not that wide and is the dinning room door to a house in Chagford. I dont think the panel is as old as the Art Noveau design suggests, as the glass is quite thick modern machine rolled glass. However, it has badly buckled and as a result some of the glass has cracked and fallen out!  The damage to the window is partly because it is in a high traffic area of the house, but mostly because it has been made without internal reinforcement, this is where thin steel rods are hidden inside the lead work and help keep windows straight and strong. These are used because large windows are heavy and lead is very soft and bendy, so over time if not properly reinforced the panel will bow and sag……needless to say I will be adding them when I put the window back together!

Taking a window apart is a dangerous activity, old windows used all sorts of  nasty compounds and chemicals in the cement and lead starts degrading after 93 years, so it is important that you damp down the lead to stop dust and wear a protective mask to prevent breathing it in.

Before I dismantled the window I took a rubbing of it to use as a template and I managed to take this window apart without breaking any of the intact glass and as you can see I have numbered each piece so I know where they all go. Now I am just trying to match the blue glass in the border of the window, so I am waiting for a delivery of glass. All the old lead gets recycled, the larger pieces of broken glass get reused in my recycled suncatchers and the small bits of glass I use for mosaics and appliqué glass sculptures, nothing is wasted!

Whilst I wait for the right shade of blue I have a mermaid window to start and the drawings for a very large seascape to scale up, so I wont be bored!

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Making, making, making!

Christmas totally desimated my stocks, which was brilliant, and now I am trying to get my stock levels back to normal with a little making frenzy….its easier said than done though! I work around my children, who are on a rolling cycle of illness  and I have a wonderfully full schedule of commission work to do.

But I have managed to make a new shoal of acid etched fish, they few off my craft stall in the run up to Christmas and I am listing some in my folksy shop and sending the rest to Spinnakers Gallery, Credition and Atelier, Barnstable.

I have also made another batch of my ever popular bottle top rock pools and these too will find their way to the various galleries I sell to!

I have started working on some etched valentine hearts and some new small leaded panels with etched vintage fabric design patterns on them, which have come out very nicely……….watch this space!

A big feature in a lovely glossy magazine!

I am enjoying a small moment in the lime light today as I have 4 pages of feature in the gorgeous Making Magazine (Guild of Mastercraftsmen). I have writen them a brief history of the development of stained glass, a walk through of how to make a stained glass panel and a copper foil project for readers to make themselves. The February edition of Making is available in newsagents currently and there are lots of interesting articles and projects to do in there (as well as mine). The general theme of this edition is light.

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A Moorland Scene for a Peak District Home

I was contacted recently by a customer on Folksy who wished me to adapt a previous Dartmoor design she liked to fit an internal window in her Peak District home. Having had a bit of time off over Christmas it has been great to get back into the studio and get on with a new project. As this is adapted from an existing design it has been a straight forward process. I have used Spectrum wispy amethyst and a range of cathedral glass, 10 mm lead came for the border and 5 and 6 mm for the internal lead work.

First of all I cut the glass using a glass cutter and ensure all the pieces fit within the lines of the cutting pattern.

I then build up the window by cutting the lead came to size and building up the panel, using horse shoe nails to hold it all tightly in place.

Once I have soldered all the lead joins together with solder I cement the panel by pushing lead cement into all the gaps in the lead came, this is quite messy work and my least favourate part of the process. The white powder is plaster of  Paris, used to soak up the liquid in the cement and act as an abrasive to remove the cement from the lead came.

Once the cement has dried and all the excess cement has been removed I wash an acid patina over the panel to darken the solder joints and once this has been washed off I give the panel a good polish with grate polish.

Then the finished panel is ready to pack up and send off to its new home.


I am a stained glass artist working in Exeter and a busy mum of 2; trying to carve a path through the tide of washing and children's toys that stands between me and making beautiful things.

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Folksy

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Bottle Top Rock Pools

small recycled stained glass heart

Large recycled stained glass hearts

Mixed Media Mosaics using waste glass and old costume jewelery

boats in the harbor

Moroccan Panel

Brays Torr from the River lydd

art deco fish

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