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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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With July literally just around the corner I thought I would quickly pop up a post to show you some of the stained glass suncatchers I have created using red stained glass to represent the gorgeous Ruby.  Each one of my ruby inspired stained glass is handcrafted in my studio and would make a lovely gift for a friend or loved one if they were a July baby.

So with a TADAAAAAAA… here they are 🙂

I hope you like them as much as I enjoyed creating them.  If you would like more information about the pieces please click on the photos to be taken to my website.

Ruby Birthstone Suncatcher

 

 

 

 

Ruby red stained glass circles with silver coloured wire spirals

 

 

 

 

 

 

July Birthday Ruby Birthstone Suncatcher

 

 

 

 

Little squares of red stained glass joined with red beaded links.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruby Star Cascade Stained Glass Suncatcher

 

 

 

 

 

Red stained glass stars in a beautiful cascade design.

 

 

 

 

 

Ruby Birthstone Suncatcher

 

 

 

 

 

A pretty suncatcher made using ruby red squares and hanging from a silver plated chain.

 

 

 

 

Ruby Red Stained Glass Star Circle Suncatcher

 

 

 

 

 

A gorgeous circle of ruby red stars hanging from a 15cm silver plated chain.

 

 

 

 

A Ruby Red Stained Glass Star For July Birthdays

 

 

 

A single ruby red star hanging from a 10cm silver plated chain.

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What a lovely surprise! I got a message on Facebook this morning from the lovely ZenXStitch telling me she had featured some of my work on her blog today so I had to pop over for a look. I must admit she picked one of my favourite pieces to feature, namely my Chakra Stars & Swirls Suncatcher. I love this piece and it looks beautiful sparkling in a window on a sunny day 🙂

20130604-183002.jpg

You can find the blog post here 🙂
Zenxstitch Blog

Thank you ZenXStitch 🙂

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I’ve recently opened up a stained glass shop on Etsy for the extra exposure and my viewing figures  have been pretty good and steady considering I’m a small fish in a MASSIVE pond.  I’ve regularly had my pieces ‘favourited’ and featured in treasuries and have sold some as well which has been brilliant.

So you can imagine my surprise yesterday and today when all of a sudden my listing views of this piece went bonkers!

Stained Glass Chakra Suncatcher

So after I’d sorted out all the ‘home stuff’ after getting in from work, I decided to investigate and I found that my Chakra Suncatcher had been featured on a website called Design Sponge in a style icon feature dedicated to Stevie Nicks.   I was over the moon as I had no idea until I checked out my viewing figures this evening.

And so I would like to thank Design Sponge for choosing one of my stained glass pieces and featuring it on their website.  Their feature has helped my glasswork reach a wider audience and hopefully has gained me some lovely new customers 🙂

 

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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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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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I’ve finished making a custom order tonight for a lovely couple for their Wedding Anniversary and obviously wanted to show them a photo or two prior to me putting it in the post to them.

This was the result!

My signature Stars & Swirls Suncatcher in a burgundy and cream stained glass

A Close Up Of The Suncatcher

In my room light the photos look absolutely dire 😦 and I really need some sunlight to be able to show how lovely it is in real life.  I’m sure I heard on the TV a few weeks back that the Gulf Stream or Jet Stream (I wasn’t really paying much attention) is out of kilter and is running south of where is should be and that’s why the UK is having a really soggy summer this year.  Ok, so we often have soggy summers but this one is particularly dreadful with so many people being flooded out of their homes and business affected by the rain 😦

I’m going to have to find a way of taking decent photos of glass indoors, especially as we are now on the wrong side of the longest day and on the slide back into winter. I’ll have to do some research and see what I can come up with 🙂 although sorting out the Atlantic currents may be a little beyond me.

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