Posts Tagged 'Norfolk'

New experiments: stained glass and kiln fired photo transfers

There are many things I should have been doing today, making hearts  (I have sent most of them off to various galleries), writing my first article for UKHandmade  (very excited about this new project) and photographing and listing my work on my website  (always a chore). Instead, I have been turning some of my photos into new glass pieces; I have had these photos mind for ages and I am glad to finally get round to putting idea to glass.

  This is not just reckless experimentation, I have a piece to make for OrganicARTS Open Studios Art Trail in September and I am hoping to do some collaborative photographic/glass designs with local photographer Martin Sharpe. In short, I want to be really on top of the technique before the summer.

My first respectable panel using photo transfer paper sold on its first trip to a craft fair, but if I am honest there have been more failed pieces than successes so far. The first problem being the paper fires to a sepia colour which clashes badly with most greens (learned this the hard way, but it also gives a lovely vintage feel with the right colours) and it needs to be fired at fuse cycle temperature not a painting firing, as I learned to the last panel’s cost (wrong programme on the kiln, Doh!)

Cost is the key word in all glass art experimentation, all the materials I use are expensive, some have quadrupled in price since I started working with glass and this makes the explorations and experiments vital to developing new ideas costly, which can be quite a frustration!  Fabulous glass artist Peter Gilles  talks about cost v.s experimenting very well on his excellent blog and I took heart from his musings.

Anyway nuff moaning; how does this fire-able photo transfer business work? Firstly, I choose my photo and manipulate it to have a very high black/white contrast (you can also do any kind of photoshop magic at this stage too), then print the image onto the special transfer paper using a black and white only photocopier, then cut you glass to size and float the image off the backing paper in warm water (it makes a satisfying hissing noise when it hits the water). Next float the transfer over the glass, make sure its on straight and get rid of all the air bubbles by smoothing with a damp cloth.  Allow 24 hours to set and then fire in the kiln to the temperature on the instructions.  These ones are setting and look great… but now we need to see how they turn out after they have been fired. Creases and air bubbles are always a danger and there is always the possibility of the glass failing or the transfer not taking properly….we shall see!

The images are from my recent travels and include a ruined wind pump, (from a trip back to my home of Norfolk), an image of people on the beach and a view across the Teign estuary (a view I keep coming back to in my work at the minute).

Results after firing to follow soon………..

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Home improvements, home coming and a new project for Open Studios

My family and I escaped the long over due building work on our house last week and travelled to Norfolk to meet my new niece for the first time and we had a lovely week in the sunshine with my family. I have not been back to my home county for over a year and I forget how much I love the dramatic wide sky’s of the flat countryside.

We have returned to a house of dust with no gas or hot water (in fact not even a kitchen sink!) but it will come together fast in the next couple of days. The finishing of the kitchen is down to me and over the Open Studios fortnight (3-18 September 2011) I will be making fused glass tiles to go on the walls and a stained glass panel especially for the specially made opening in the wall. Visitors to my studio can watch my progress with both projects and you can follow my daily progress here, as I will be posting daily during the event with photos of the process.

 

Going down Memory Lane

When my old school friend Wendy asked me to commission a special piece for her Mum’s birthday I was only to happy to oblige, especially having discussed the subject, Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast. This fast disappearing village was where I spent many a happy childhood day on the beach and as a teenager camping on the cliffs (I believe the campsite has all but disappeared now, reclaimed by the sea). The lighthouse thankfully still very much on dry land, keeping ships safe from the cliffs and sand banks and it is this landmark that I turned into a panel.

They were very pleased with it and said, “….it looks fabulous! Hopefully mum will be over the moon…Thanks everso much for doing this, its really special.”

 

Craft fairs, commissions, drawing and making

My first week back from holiday has been so busy, we knew it would be and my husband Mark had the week off work to look after the children, so I could get on with stuff and he could spend a week chilling out with the girls (if such a thing is possible with our kids!)

I have spent much of the week making bunting, hearts and beach hut panels to restock what has been sold at fairs and online and to fulfill my wholesale order for Atelier Gallery in Barnstable (due this Friday).  The photos show a little of this activity; the bunting laid out ready to be soldered and then piled up, post soldering ready to be washed and hung on ribbon and the glass cut for 3 beach hut panels, (heading to Otterton Mill) with their sticky back plastic fish and waves stuck on waiting to be acid etched, then leaded and cemented.

The Exeter Craft Hub event on Saturday was a great success and they gave me a stall right in front of a massive window, which gave my stall a lot of light and I could actually hang things in the window to give people an idea of how they look at home.

My most popular designs have sold so well in the last few weeks that I have unexpectedly run out of certain materials, which is bad for the schedule, but good for some of my customers; as it means whilst I wait for supplies I have had an unexpected window of opportunity this afternoon to work on a new commission.

Jane , otherwise known as  Kind Dog (a fellow Folksy seller and talented illustrator, click on her name to go to her shop)  has kindly asked me to make a special panel for her niece’s wedding present.  I love doing special items, but this one is especially close to my heart; as she wants it to depict the North Norfolk coast which her niece loves and is the county where I was born and brought up! I hardly get to go back to Norfolk these days, the 7 hour drive is too long for my young children, so the opportunity to think about the beaches  I played on as a child has been a treat! I have prepared 3 drawings based on the North Norfolk coast around Heacham and I have gone from Holkham to Cromer in the drawings, I wonder which she will choose?

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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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