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I just thought I would take a few minutes and give you all a little bit of an insight of my life as a stained glass artist.  When I finished typing this I re-realised quite how much work it takes to create the stained glass pieces I offer for sale.

First up I need glass! LOTS of glass!

Glass Stash

This is a photo of my glass stash last year.  It’s increased since then and remember this is just the glass!  In addition to all this I have all the rolls of wire, the copper foil, the beads, the trimmings and ribbons, all the tools and equipment I need, some which have taken over a part of my kitchen (oops!), to name just a few items…

Plus on top of all that I also have all my jewellery making supplies.. I have a beautiful bead collection now, sterling silver, silver plated, copper and coloured plated wire and findings, plus another full compliment of jewellery making tools, various bits of equipment..

Oh and my ever increasing book collection!

My work space is getting a little crowded now!

Most of my stained glass creations start out as a flat piece of coloured glass before I set to it with my trusty Sharpie marker pens, black for light coloured glass and the silver ones for the darker colour glass as it shows up so much better! I draw my designs on the glass and then move onto the next stage, cutting and breaking the glass.

amber gold stained glass

A sheet of my amber gold stained glass

A steady hand is essential for this part but if I have a bit of a ‘oops’ moment I have my glass grinder to hand to smooth any parts which aren’t quite right.  All of my stained glass stars make a trip to the glass grinder to be smoothed to perfection as I really can’t have stained glass stars with nasty edges as they wouldn’t look right.

The next stage is to apply the copper foil to the stained glass shapes and then this has to be ‘burnished’ which basically means it gets ‘squished’ onto the glass so it sticks properly and is nice and smooth.  Next up flux is applied to all the copper foiled edges as this makes the solder stick to the copper.

Then things get HOT HOT HOT!  Time to ‘tin’ the copper foiled edges.  Tinning is when I apply a thin layer of solder to the front, back and sides of the foiled glass piece. (NOTE TO SELF – if the soldering iron slips it is NOT a good idea to try and grab it!  Nasty burns can ensure as a result of this!).  Next up the pieces of tinned glass are put into their final positions and soldered together to create the design I have in mind.  I’m a bit picky about soldering and love to see a beautifully smooth piece of solder work.  My birthstone pieces have all their wire decorations added here so I can join the pieces with my beaded links later on.  Once this is done and the piece has cooled down we move onto the next stage.

Cleaning!

A trip to the kitchen is next (normally via the kettle!) and all the pieces of glass work are washed in warm water with a splash of Fairy Liquid to remove any traces of flux.  I also wipe all my solder lines over with some fine wire wool to remove any ‘spotting’ or marks caused when the flux and solder mix.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE my solderwork to look all shiny and polished when a piece is finished and so a few minutes with the wire wool sorts that out for me.  If I am applying a coloured patina to my glasswork, as you can see on some of my terrariums and Air Plant Holders, the piece is dried before I ‘paint’ on the patina and the piece is washed again carefully.

white rose suncatcher stained glass

A black patina applied to a white stained glass Rennie Mackintosh style rose suncatcher.

The next stage is polishing the piece and for that it is back into the living room and a damp foam sponge is used to apply a stained glass polish and cleaner.  This is then wiped off and the piece is polished with a soft cloth (read soft tea towels from Wilkisons purchased just for glass polishing!)

The next stage (yes there is more!) is for me to add any ‘extras’ to the piece.  As you can see by browsing my shop many of my pieces are hung from silver plated chains or ribbons, these are added at this stage.  Some of my other pieces, especially my birthstone pieces, are joined with beaded links.  I make all of these by hand and I will occasionally spend an evening in front of the TV with my beads, wire and tools making little beaded links and the little wire loops to add to my stained glasswork so I have a bit of a stash tucked away.

sapphire september birthday birthstone suncatcher

The beaded wire links on a Sapphire birthstone suncatcher. In this case the links are genuine sapphire and crystal beads.

Now do you think I’m finished?  Not yet!

The last stage is getting them from my work space to the ‘internet’.  I take a series of photographs of all my pieces, select the best ones, crop them and make them ‘pretty’ before creating a listing on my website for the world to see.

Then and only then can I relax.. Or in my case get on with the next idea I have in mind 🙂

 

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WOOHOO!! Christmas is just around the corner 🙂 and for me the preparations started back in JUNE!! Yes, you read that correctly!  The sun was shining on one of the rare sunny days we had this year and there I was cutting green glass into Holly leaves and red glass into Christmas Tree baubles!

Some of my 2012 collection have been seen before but I also have a lot of new goodies on offer too.  I’ve recreated my stained glass Holly Wreath with added improvements 🙂 plus I’ve created a brand new Holly Suncatcher to add to the collection.

I’ve recreated my dinky little stained glass Angel Christmas Tree decorations this year too and I’m offering these for sale in a much wider range of colours.  At the moment there are 10 colours in the range, including a beautiful new white Angel, and I’m sure the colour choice will increase over the next month or so.  Please remember that if you would like the Angels in a colour not currently on offer I can also make to order in the colour of your choice.

I’ve introduced a brand new range of white Star Christmas Tree decorations which are enhanced with glittering beads and charms.  These I am particularly fond of as they are simple but very effective and look beautiful (just my opinion of course!)

At the moment I’m cutting a lot of glass for yet another range of Christmas Tree decorations but you will have to wait until next week to see them.  It’s all kind of hush hush at the moment but I’m on holiday from my day job and plan to spend the week working with my glass creating what I hope to be a beautiful range of decorations.

I think it’s going to be a very busy week 🙂

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Well, it has to be doesn’t it?  I’m now cutting Holly leaves for Christmas decorations so that means it’s Christmas right?

So I’m going t be making LOTS and LOTS of Holly leaves as I have a few of each of these to make.

stained glass, holly, wreath, christmas decoration, xmas decoration

Stained Glass Holly Wreath

3D Stained Glass Holly Candle Holder

xmas decoration

Stained glass Holly Decoration

stained glass, holly, christmas tree, decoration, xmas decoration

Holly Christmas tree decoration

Now by my reckoning I’m going to need over 500 Holly leaves this Christmas.  That’s going to be a lot of cutting, grinding, foiling and soldering on my part….

Best I get on with it, LOL 😀

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Ok, so I’m on holiday from my day job for the week :-), my children are off to their dad’s for this week which leaves just me and my OH (and the pets!) here for some R&R.  My OH is planning on doing some work on a bike and I have a few plans of my own.  Here is my to-do-list for the week 🙂

  1. Cut a whole load of glass for some Star designs I have in mind.  I’ve already drawn out the templates for a load of it but have a lot more to do.
  2. Make some more of my Mini Christmas Trees as they are proving popular and I’m almost out of them.
  3. Design and make quite a few more additions for my jewellery range.  Again I’ve got a load of glass cut already and another 4 pieces ready to be put together on my desk.
  4. Make more of the Christmas decorations I already have listed.
  5. Finish my brand new website ready for its launch on the 1st November.
  6. Make the other Christmas designs I’ve come up with.
  7. Make the Birthstone Suncatchers for the months I’m missing at present so I have gift ideas for each month of the year.
  8. Carry on promoting on Facebook, Twitter and all the other promotional tools I use.
  9. List all the new items in my Folksy shop as I make them, as well as on my new website.
  10. Take new photos of some of my items when my new light box arrives 🙂
  11. Find time to relax and chill somewhere along the line 🙂

This is just the things I can think of off the top of my head right now, no doubt I’ve forgotten a few and I’ll add them as the week goes by.  I’ll also update through the week as to how I get on 🙂

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I’ve been working on some new Christmas decoration designs for the last few evenings, designs which started out to be quite a simple idea in my head but developed (as they do :-S ) into something a little more complex!  The idea was to have some hanging squares with a little bit of wire work on them to embellish them, and a ribbon to finish them off. Fairly simple but beautifully effective.

So there I was cutting and foiling the squares and I started thinking “Maybe a few beads would look good on them too” and then I remembered that I had some tiny silvery beads I’d bought for another project knocking around somewhere.  So I hunted them out and got out all my other beads (I have a few!), and my findings and started fiddling.. As you do.. Within about 10 minutes I needed my glasses as I couldn’t see a flippin thing and I was already starting to go cross-eyed.  So glasses on I went back to work and as I worked I thought about those who do beadwork for a business or hobby.

Red Beaded Christmas Decoration

I take my hat off to you all!

These beads are tiny and I’m damn sure they have a life of their own!  They will ping off somewhere of their own accord, without my glasses I couldn’t see properly, and they are so flipping fiddly to work with.  How do you not lose the plot working with them all the time?  I’ve made 10 decorations so far, red and green, and still have blue and gold to go!  You must have the patience of a saint to work with them all the time!

I’ve used beads on some of my birthstone suncatchers but I’ve not tried using them in this way before and having done just this little bit of bead work in the last few days it’s really made me appreciate how much time and effort must go into your work.

Green Beaded Christmas Decoration

As a result I’ll now look at bead work with a fresh perspective, having realised what actually goes into it 🙂

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I’ve been quite excited about making Christmas decorations for months now (I think I need to get out more!!) and have made up quite a few of my ideas already.  I’ve got quite a few more ideas as well yet so expect more over the next month or so, but in the meantime here is a little show of the ones I’ve made so far 🙂

If you click on the photos you will be taken to my little Folksy Shop where you will find more information 🙂

I hope you like the ones I’ve shown so far and will post about the new ones I’ll be making as soon as they are ready for sale.

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