Creative Mind 

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. When I landed on my career as a stained glass artist in 1986, I quickly learned that I had found my niche, my raison d’être as we say in English.
It all fell into place. The tools that feel clumsy and unyielding in one hand, felt and still feel at home in mine. I use them all, every day and have my favourites just like any craftswoman.
The process of designing a stained glass window hasn’t changed. I was taught by a master, John Lawson http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2009/dec/08/john-lawson-obituary
who had followed in the footsteps of another, Mr Arthur Buss
 I was taught how to draw a line for stained glass painting, how to shade, see colour and form.
Then I was instructed in the choosing of the glass and the construction of the final window.
These process went on for many years until it was time for me to strike out on my own. There are days when I hear the voices of the masters guiding me and others when I throw caution to the wind.
Most of the time I am chugging away in my workshop creating windows and thinking of the next windows I’m going to design and make. Its a creative process.
The design of a stained glass window is a piece of art work. It should be beautiful in its own right. My designs are hand drawn and painted thoughtfully with good water colour paints. These represent the glass like nothing else. I have designs I made 15 years ago that look as fresh as the day I made them, thats good water colour paint for you.
The thinking is done in the making of the design, the choice of glass is half made, the thickness of line and the style and overall impact of the window are all thought out.
The process cannot be replaced by a mouse and a computer programme. That is taking the artistry from our craft. If we loose that we loose the soul from our stained glass.
Yes, lets embrace the computer and design packages but leave them for other applications. Maybe a very simple leaded light?
I trained as an artist and I will stay as one. Creating beautiful bespoke stained glass designs by hand. Some of my customers request to keep the design and they frame them.

Horray!!

As you may or may not know I have been designing and making bespoke stained glass and fused glass for over a quarter of a century! I love it now as much as ever if not more and throughly enjoy both the commissioning process and taking my courses. This is giving me a wonderful ‘family’ of students and customers all of whom are also in love with glass and realise that it has the potential to change your life! I mean it! The quality of light passing through coloured glass can be beautiful and uplifting. Unlike the sometimes sombre thought provoking stained glass made for places of worship and contemplation. I make windows for people, for individuals with individual likes, dislikes and tastes. This is what makes my job so satisfying and (if I dare say it) fun. Some of my students fall so in love with the process and finished results that they have found a new hobby and its my greatest pleasure to help them develop and grow. One of my students is having her first exhibition this week!

I work mainly on my own and have done so for 12 years since leaving the workshop in London where I trained. Working on my own can have its downside. I rarely get out as I am very busy! Networking is not my thing, work is. But then in April 2009 I joined a social media site called Twitter. Since then I have ‘met’ loads of lovely like minded souls. Crafters, artists, architects, social enterprises,  interior designers, garden designers, stained glass artists, foodies, bloggers, stone masons, willow workers… hey you name it I am meeting them and love to hear about the work they do and their thought on the world. I’ve even met a few in person, you know who you are you lovely people!

Twitter has opened the world up to me, a stained glass artist working in my ‘shed’ on my own and I love it. 

On March 18th 2012 my Tweeting paid dividends as I entered a Twitter competition held on Sunday nights by  Theo Paphitis, one of the BBC Dragons and entrepreneur. The competition was to Tweet your small business to @TheoPaphitis and give it the hashtag #sbs, which stands for Small Business Sunday.
A couple of thousand small businesses Tweet Mr Paphitis every sunday night and he personally choses 6 to Re-Tweet to all his 233000 followers which potentially opens up ones business up to a wider audience.

Well this was my winning Tweet! 😉

@TheoPaphitis #sbs I have a passion for decorative glass and traditional skills.I make beautiful windows to enhance living spaces and teach!
I have been given a badge made by Dylan More @aquadesign and am looking forward to meeting him and other winners this Friday at a meeting  in Birmingham! 

Christmas Fairs and Birthdays

I had a year off last year! Not the whole year you understand, just from ‘doing’ Christmas Fairs. I use them as a way of advertising my work and I need to have stuff to sell so it’s a great opportunity for me to break out of the architectural stained glass mould and burst into making kiln load after kiln load of little pocket sized glassy gifts. Yesterday was day one of Petworth House Christmas Fair, Sussex. I’m off in an hour for day 2. I’m glad I made loads of £3 stars ‘cos it means that most of you can afford a little bit of glassy sparkle in your houses this Christmas. It’s a tough economy out there, no mistake, but through everyones generosity and gift buying fun I took the same yesterday as I did 2 years ago.
It was FANTASTIC to see so many of my students visit me yesterday and Im really looking forward to today. And of course my glass wreaths sold very well!

Oh yes this is not just any cake! This is a 50’th Birthday cake carefully crafted by my lovely sister, Helen, and it’s being carefully consumed by me!
See you at Petworth today!

1 Guinea Pig Left

What a sad week, we are now down to 1 little piggy. Wilbur was the first to go followed by his hutch mate Kevin who we think died of a broken heart. Gone to join Skye the first Collie Dog and Indie the first cat in the garden! Bingo, bulging eyes and all is still going. Ahh the joys of Guinea pig ownership……

On a happier note, Christmas is coming, remember this weather? 

Lets cosy up,light the fires and celebrate all things winter. Chocolate, roasted root veggies, scarves, mittens, mulled wine and spices. My children remarked that my workshop smelled of Christmas today ‘cos the kiln was on full blast and stuff is happening a plenty! I’m allowing myself to get just a bit excited, despite the sad demise of Guinea pigs.

Stained Glass Courses, Fused Glass courses and more

It’s not easy running your own business as anyone who does so will tell you. Add in 2 children, a dog, 2 cats and 3 guinea pigs and a husband who often works nights and it all gets a bit hectic around here. Meals are a bonus!
However I like to think have achieved a lot in the last couple of weeks. Christmas stock making is in full swing so the kiln is on every night (yes I said the C word) and I have been working hard on getting commissions made and installed and have 16 on the job board to finish this year. I’ll be working nights then.
But that’s not the end of it….. 
I love teaching and my courses are not only great fun but are providing me with an ever growing family of fellow glass enthusiasts with whom I can share my passion and skills. I am delighted that so many come back again and again to create beautiful things in glass and so pleased that their skills so obviously improve with each visit. Below is just a small selction of some of my students work, some have been before, some complete beginners and all are great at creating lovely original work in glass! 

Roll on the rest of 2011 courses and 2012 is just around the corner!

Been away

This Blogging lark has got me mystified. Could this be the reason I am so terrible at keeping up with it? This is my first Blog in a year! Who is really interested? Unless I can write something of real merit with meaty long, high falootin words (not sure if High Falootin is spelt this way at all and my spell check thinks it should be High Fallopian, that may be better!) You may be able to put me right, however I digress.
Blogging, who cares?? Well, I suppose if I had more time I might like to use my Blog as a way of passing on my skills and tips about stained glass. Goodness only knows, I have a million pictures and notes and jotted things that might be of interest to someone. But I think I may try a different tack this year and use it as a sketch book for me! Not care if anyone else is watching, add notes, pictures and links I think might be of interest to me in the future. They will be dated and numbered and it may turn out to be a diary of a stained glass artist. So forthwith as of tomorrow I am writing a Diary of a Stained Glass Artist in the 21st Century

If I remember………

oh and by the way…. I love it when Autumn is just popping up …