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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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I’ve just finished adding a couple of new stained glass Air Plant terrariums to my website.  One has a pale lilac base and the other a pale pink.  Personally I prefer the pale lilac one but I’ve had a lot of compliments about the pale pink one 🙂

Here is the pale pink one

My pale pink hanging Air Plant terrarium.

My pale pink hanging Air Plant terrarium.

My pale pink hanging Air Plant terrarium.

My pale pink hanging Air Plant terrarium.

And here is the pale lilac one 🙂

A close up of my new lilac stained glass Air Plant terrarium

A close up of my new lilac stained glass Air Plant terrarium

My new lilac stained glass Air Plant holder

My new lilac stained glass Air Plant holder

These little Air Plant terrariums stand about six inches tall and come complete with the little terrarium, the gravel, the Air Plant and an aftercare sheet.  The are designed to hang from the chain supplied with them but if you wish you can remove this and have the terrarium standing on a desk or surface in your home.

I’d love some feedback on these so please feel free to add a comment 🙂

 

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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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I jest ok!  I didn’t really dance naked in the garden last night to try and persuade the sun to come out for a bit today.  Honest!! I wouldn’t want to frighten the neighbours for a start and no doubt if I started doing things like that ‘him indoors’ would have me committed 😦

But as luck would have it the sun was shining when I came out of work, the only thing is work is about 20 miles from home and there were a lots of clouds in the sky.  So one ‘brisk’ ride up the motorway on my motorbike later I’m at home and the sun is still shining!  WOOHOO!! So it’s a case of get in, take off my bike gear, kiss his nibs hello, a 5 second chat with the kids and I’m out in the garden with my suncatchers and camera in hand, giving the dog a quick hello pat on the head on the way past 🙂

The results speak for themselves 🙂

First up is the piece I tried unsuccessfully to photograph last night, the Wedding Anniversary piece.  It looks soooo much better today with the sun shining.   The colours of burgundy and cream were chosen as they were the colours used at the couples wedding 11 years ago.

My Stars & Swirls Suncatcher in burgundy and cream

The wedding anniversary suncatcher

 

Next up is my Stars & Swirls Suncatcher in pink.  I realised last night that I’ve made this piece in all colours of glass but for some reason I’ve never made a pink one!  So, as I had some pink stars in my star ‘stash’, this omission was soon rectified and I think it looks lovely.  Hopefully someone else will love it too and want to buy it to display it in a window in their home. Not only is this perfect as a treat for yourself but it would make a perfect gift for someone who was born in October as the pink glass is very similar to the birthstone Rose Zircon.

Stars & Swirls Suncatcher in pink

Pink Stars & Swirls Stained Glass Suncatcher

 

Lastly is another of my summer ZINGY pieces.  I decided to create the same Stars & Swirls suncatcher with the new lime green glass I got a few weeks ago.  I think this looks stunning and I really love this shade of glass.  Hopefully someone reading this will love it and if you fancy buying it you can click on the photo to be taken to my website for more information.

Lime Green Stars & Swirls suncatcher

Stars & Swirls suncatcher in lime green

 

Lets hope the sun shows up a bit more now that July is here, after all it is supposed to be summer time at the moment and the dreary winter will be on us before we can blink……..

Mind you, that means Christmas is on the way and I’m already going into ‘Christmas Mode’ with my stained glass!  I know the ‘C’ word is a swear word to some at the moment, what with it being July, but there’s nothing wrong with getting into the Christmas mood this early in the year.  Or maybe there is as the echos of ‘Bah Humbug’ ring in my ears from my partner 😉

 

 

 

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And no I don’t mean I’ve been running round like a mad thing, full to bursting with energy 🙂

I mean this 😉

lime green stained glass star suncatcher

Lime Green Stained Glass Star Cascade Suncatcher

I’ve had a sedate weekend sat at my desk creating new stained glass suncatchers for customer orders, plus I wanted to try out the new Lime Green stained glass I bought a few weeks ago and so decided to make one of my Star Cascade suncatchers with it to see how it looks.  Personally I LOVE it 🙂  It’s so bright and cheery and would be perfect to brighten up a window during the dismal summer we seem to be having.

I also accidentally made this piece using the lime green, yellow and orange!  I was having a rummage through my little box of pre-cut stars for something and laid a few of the glass stars on my desk and as I went to put them away again noticed how wicked the orange and green looked together.  Yellow was soon added and this zesty citrus piece was on the way to being created.

stained glass, citrus, orange, lemon, lime, yellow, suncatcher

Citrus Stained Glass Star Cascade Suncatcher

I do love it when a happy accident creates something lovely like this orange, lemon and lime suncatcher  🙂

For more information on these pieces please click on the photos.

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Ok, so the Apple coasters came out ok, the Rainbow ones were better (in my opinion lol) and now I had to decide what to do next!  As some of you may know I have a bit of a ‘thing’ about Dragonflies as you can see from this, which is available on my website.

One of my 3D Dragonfly pieces

So the next piece of mosaic work had to feature Dragonflies in my mind.  So I set to work.

Dragonfly wings – Check

Dragonfly body – Check

Background – Now this did involve a little bit of thought as I had a vision of a Dragonfly hovering over a pool of water in my mind.  So I dug out all my blue stained glass scrap pieces and spend a couple of hours colour sorting it all in to light, pale, medium and dark blue.  Then I had to cut a lot of very small pieces of each shade as I decided I wanted the glass to be lighter round the Dragonfly and getting darker towards the edge of the coaster.

Once all the glass was stuck in place they looked like this, not particularly good I’ll readily admit but the grouting work still needed to be done.

Part way through the process of creating a Dragonfly mosaic candle stand.

Once the grout had been applied they looked so much better.  I decided that a white grout would look so much better on these mug stands than black as I thought the black would overpower the design.

My Dragonfly coaster with the grout applied.

I’m seriously pleased with these and hope that other people will like them as well.

If you would like more information, say if you would like to buy one, you can click on any of the photos above and you will be taken to my website.

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That is the question I really started asking myself a few weeks ago as I was starting to accumulate so much it was taking over one of my cupboards.  Being a bit of a magpie it was definately too pretty to just chuck in the bin so I had to think of other options.  Mosaics was the simple answer of course, except I’d never tried mosaic work before.

Time to learn another skill 🙂

I decided that I would start out with some fairly easy things and make some little mug and cup stands plus a few candle stands as well.  As luck would have it our old windows were being replaced with new double glazing and the window fitters were more than happy to let me have some of the old glass to use as the backing. Out came the glass cutter, the dining room table became a temporary work surface and pretty soon I had a small supply of  coaster blanks.

Now I’m not the kind of person who can just do something which is simple and easy to make… I always have to do something a ‘tad’ more complicated than that and my first mosaic was no exception 🙂 and here is is!

One Apple Coaster which is perfect for standing your mugs or cups on or you could use it as a candle stand.

Considering it was my first ever attempt I was quite pleased with it…  And promptly went on to make another 3!

 

 

 

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