I find finishing stained glass panels harder than starting them!

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This morning it was very cold in my studio, very cold indeed! It was one of those mornings when I really had to force myself to walk the 3 metres to my studio! Had I been working on new pieces this probably wouldn’t have been the case, I would have bounded out to start experimenting and getting on with what I do best: STARTING THINGS!

I LOVE starting things, cutting a new piece of glass, turning my ideas into physical objects.

I am not such a fan of finishing things, this reticence begins at a particular point of my artistic process, the cementing stage. Once I have cut the glass, done the fancy effects to the glass surface and leaded the piece up, (read more about cementing here) it essentially looks like a stained glass panel. BUT you still have lots of time consuming work to do; namely cementing. This involves filling all the gaps in the lead chanels that surround the glass (and hold it in place) with a liquidy mixture of ground up lead and linseed oil. Once the gaps are filled whiting (plaster of Paris essentially) is used to soak up the wetness of the cement and help dry out the panel. Then it all has to be cleaned off the glass and the lead work, its dusty and messy. On top of that it is toxic, I wear a mask and vacuum regularly as lead dust is poisonous and I get RSI from too much cementing in my right hand….generally its not my favourite thing!

HOWEVER it is totally essential to creating a watertight panel and it does something magical to the design, its hard to say exactly what, it makes it more solid, gets rid of all the gaps and spaces and the black of the cement gives it more physicality somehow.

So when I dragged myself out to the workshop and got on with the cementing the result was well worth doing a grotty task for; my finished pieces are starting to take shape and it reminds me, like it always does of the delicious little thrill of finishing a piece of work.  Now I just have to patina acid wash them and polish the lead with stove black……pfffff…….I’m sure I have some pressing new work to start on!

The gallery below is a peep at some of the work which will be finished soon, my first digital transfer work and some cool new Dartmoor pieces, all cemented today.

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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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