Posts Tagged 'seaside'



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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First finished photographic printed stained glass panel!

After much experimenting with a special printable transfer paper on which I print out photographic images I have finished this piece, Sunset, Teasels and sea. The transfers are carefully floated onto the cut glass pieces and heated to a high temperature in the kiln to bond with the glass and then I lead the panel together as usual. The glass is given a grainy, slightly mat side from contact with the kiln shelf at high temperatures and the sepia of the printed image combine to give a really nice retro, old photograph atmosphere. There will be more of this kind of thing soon, but for now its for sale in my Folksy shop

The photograph used here I took on Branscombe Beach, Devon at sunset looking out to sea and the panel is framed in a specially made recycled wooden frame.

 

Open Studios Day 4

Day 4, second blog post, wonky I know! Anyway yesterday I blogged about how I had cut all the glass for the mermaid window, today I have painted on the details and got it all in the kiln. I use kiln fired glass paints which come in a powder form, you mix them with gum arabic and water to make a paste and then get going. Its a devil to work as it dries to a powder very quickly and then can not be over painted or touched up, you need to make smooth fluid lines from the off and have a very clear design to work from and have beautifully prepared glass and design….needless to say I am just at the start of this adventure, but I am getting the hang of it slowly! The window details are heavily inspired by one of my children’s favourite books, Jinny Ghost (by Jane Ray and Berlie Doherty). A strange beautiful story about a ghost who transforms nightmares into exciting adventure dreams. The kids love the story, I love the illustration!

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We had a good day today with 5 visitors so far, we have an hour left, so who knows how many more (last year an entire evening class turned up at 7.30)

 

 

 

A Warm Open Studios Welcome!

Open Studios is in full swing! In the 3 days we have been open to the public we have had 20 visitors, which I am pretty pleased with! So, what is there to see?

Firstly and most importantly I am delighted to have my friend and ceramicist Ulrika-Igraine Munoz-Alarcon exhibiting and working in my garden gazebo. Not only is she heavily pregnant, but putting up with the less than ideal weather conditions (its a bit breezy in there!) with great grace! Ulrika makes wonderful vessels and jewellery from paper clay and creates delicate and striking pieces incorporating her own graphic design decals which she fires onto her work and is busy making new pieces whilst with us.

I have spruced up my workshop with a nice coat of white paint and have hung a lot of work in my studio! I have also put lots of my bigger pieces out in the garden and weather permitting (they dont like high winds) there is a shoal of  fused glass fish and a lot of glass raindrops hanging around. I have various projects on the go for the Open Studios period, making recycled fused glass tiles for my kitchen (limited success so far), a lovely little restoration for my friend Marion Andrews (who also participating in Open Studios with her fascinating seashell workshop) and 2 panels to make for my own home. The first of these panels is a long promised window for my little girl’s bedroom, they want mermaids, so that is what I am making them, giving me a chance to further develop my glass painting skills, which are still pretty limited! Anyway, day one, the glass is cut, tomorrow acid etching and painting the pieces. Please feel free to come and see how I get on with all these projects, or keep checking back here to see how I am doing!

We are open 11 am -6pm Until 18th September 2011. Open till 8pm Thursdays and closed to remind our children who we are on Mondays and Tuesdays

39 Regents Park, Exeter, EX1 2NY

Under the Weather

Spent a blustery afternoon on Teignmouth Sea Front today putting up my entry into the annual TRAIL sculpture exhibition. Open to anyone TRAIL has one main rule- your sculpture has to be at least 70% from recycled materials and have some kind of environmental message. Unfortunately we did not receive any funding this year, to the usual grand opening, winners prizes, posters and postcards are absent, but there are still over 30 sculptures to be enjoyed on a free TRAIL from Shaldon Botanical Gardens to Dawlish via Teignmouth sea front.

Every year I make use of my scrap waste glass (a by product of my stained glass business) and this year was no exception, I pieced hundreds of pieces of waste glass (too small to do anything else with) together into rain drop shapes and fused them in my kiln. I have made around 140 in total and these were all strung from a frame made of old office shelving brackets my dad found for me with an old chicken wire cloud filled with empty paint pots and flower pots from a local decorator. I hope my piece symbolises how the weather is affected by our actions on the ground and how much waste we produce. The weather is always awful on the day I put my sculpture up and at least today it wasn’t raining………but gale force winds forecast for tomorrow, so fingers crossed it will still be there!

More of my raindrops will be hung over the river at Dawlish in the week and after the exhibition finishes all of the raindrops will be sold off individually for The Helen Foundation, a local charity working to encourage and enable young people to participate in the arts. Lets just hope the weather, seagulls and passers by are kind to it! I will also have lots of work on exhibition in the TRAIL Inside indoor exhibition at the TAAG Gallery, Teignmouth from August to September 2011

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How much longer does it take to make a stained glass window?

Whoops, I totally forgot I had started blogging about this! So here is part 2, but I must confess, I finished this panel Sunday (I dropped it off on Monday waiting for installed photos!) so the details are a bit blurry now! It took about 3 hours to lead up (build up the glass and lead came neatly and snuggly together using nothing more than a lead knife and horse shoe nails; the nails are to hold the glass in place, like an extra set of hands. I spent another couple of hours soldering all the joins in the lead together with solder. It then took 3 hours to cement and another hour or so to clean up….then I had to wait a couple of days for the cement to harden up; my workshop gets sauna hot so that helps speed things up! 10 minutes or so to apply patina to darken the solder joins …….more waiting for that to bite into the solder and lead, wash the patina acid off……..wait for it to dry again and then spent around an hour polishing it. It then got picked at and polished every time I went past it for a couple of days. It’s new owners are very pleased with it and will send photos when it gets installed (they are doing up the house) and hopefully I will be working with them again in the future on an internal panel! I didn’t take any photos of the cementing stage as its very messy and I have lost cameras that way before!

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How long does it take to make a stained glass window?

I am always being asked how long my work takes to make, so I thought I would document the process on a straight forward piece, a front door panel for a house in Sidmouth, this is a straight forward panel with no etching or painting involved and is 63 x 63 cm. I worked from 9.15 to 3.15 yesterday with 30 minutes for lunch, and probably another 30 minutes of faffing! In that time I marked out my cutting pattern (full size cartoon of the finished design) and altered bits I thought did not balance properly/slight ajustments to fit the size of the glass etc. Then I took a little break from it to do another drawing/get the kiln going for other work. I always leave a little break between making the cutting pattern and cutting so I can take one last look at it…….then down to cutting the pieces for this large front door panel

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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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