Wednesday, April 8

Reproduction Victorian Hand-Painted Stained Glass Heron Roundels


I fell in love with this original Victorian roundel that I pinned to my bird roundels board on Pinterest a few weeks back: that magnificent heron, the poor deflated frog and his melodramatic friends and the detailed background foliage (kingcups, arum lily leaves, water reeds and yellow flag iris) make for a very unusual and charming centrepiece.

So it was a lovely coincidence to find in my email inbox a commission to paint a pair of them for some stained glass panels going in to a new door being made by bespoke London door company Voysey and Jones.



The client wanted the left hand roundel to be a copy of the original, but the right hand one was to have a happier outcome, with the frogs having escaped their grisly fate.


A couple of close ups to show detail of feathers and frogs...




Wednesday, March 11

Studio/Workshop Move





For the past 10 years, I have been working out of a small, cramped, oddly shaped workshop that was hastily set up after we moved to this house, when I was about 8.5 months pregnant with our first daughter.

It was fine, did the job, had all the essentials: a workbench, a kiln, a nice big window, shelves, a sink, a radio... an although it is quite long, it lacked a little in the width department (exactly 5ft wide, if you're wondering). It was a bit like working in a canal boat, but less romantic. When clients came to visit, a mild look of panic would cross my face if there were more than two of them. One year I took part in the Bridport Open Studios, and at several points during the weekend there were queues of people to come in - not because I was so incredibly popular and a must-see destination, but because a family of four had come.




Although we are fortunate enough to have a couple of outbuildings here, the larger one got filled up with building materials, bikes, abandoned kids' craft projects and other general crap. Somehow I was always too busy with either work or the kids to empty it out and move into it. 

But I have finally been able to clear it out, get a new workbench built and start decorating it.

There is a lot to do.

I am replacing all the window glass because it is horrible (Flemish, which sounds lovely but really isn't), filling all the holes in the walls, covering up damp patches, painting the walls, windows, door and floor as well as sorting out the slightly rotten sills on the exterior. And when I say "I", I do genuinely mean "ME". My budget does not allow for someone who actually knows what they are doing to come along and fix it up.

I'll save the hideous "before" pictures of my new space for when I have some "afters" to show you.



details of all images can be found here
I want it to be ready soon, but I'm still only about halfway there. In the meantime I have become quite addicted to pinning pictures of other artist's studios on Pinterest as a way of making me feel like I'm getting somewhere, and keeping me motivated.

Above are a few of my favourites... most of these are pie-in-the-sky, with their high ceilings, wooden floorboards and huge arched windows, but I'm hoping to steal a few ideas from them for the general aesthetic and how to arrange the space in the new workshop.

It's not a massive space, but at least I won't have to walk sideways up and down it.

Wednesday, March 4

Etsy Shop Re-Stock - Friday 6th March 11am (GMT)


Spring is nearly here, and finally I'm ready to get my Etsy shop update live.  It's taken me a while as I've been juggling commissions, workshop renovations, big birthdays (not mine) and flaming torches (ok, that last bit is not strictly true).

From Friday 6th March at 11am (GMT) I will be listing lots of your favourite friends (including Egg Men, Singing Birds, Russian Dolls) and some larger panels that are now available for sale following last year's One Square Foot group exhibition.

It will also be your last chance to get hold of some of my designs as I am phasing-out a few and planning on introducing some new work later on in the year.

So catch them while you can....


Tuesday, March 3

Purple Iris Stained Glass Window Commission



I recently finished this large purple iris window for a lovely couple who travelled all the way from Hertfordshire to commission.  They were so nice they even bought me a beautiful bouquet of irises when they came to collect it.  

The design was quite challenging, especially in a window of this size (approximately 10 square feet) to make it stable and strong.  Although the panel was to be fitted on the inside of an existing window, which would provide support and stop the panel from bowing over time, it was still important that the design allowed me to handle and manoeuvre it during the making, without being too unwieldy.

The glass used for the iris petals is a machine-made streaky, but it was perfect to recreate the delicate, tissue-paper quality of them.  I also added a little bit of silver stain to suggest the yellow area at the centre.  The background glass is an ultra-pale blue tinted Polish mouth blown glass, which has beautiful meandering striations, tiny air-bubbles and superb clarity, allowing the sunlight to sparkle as it comes through.  You can see on the top picture the reflection cast on the adjacent wall.

Here are some work-in-progress images...

Design:
The panel was so large I had to design it on the floor over 3 days.  In order to make it, I had to get a new workbench built (I needed one anyway, but it was good to have the impetus).  Pictured is the old, scruffy one I've been working on the for the last 10 years.  Working on the new one is like driving around in a Rolls Royce.



Leading:
Often my favourite stage of making a window... seeing it take form in front of your eyes is quite magical.



Ready to solder:
Because of the sword-shaped leaves, a lot of the lead joints were at quite an acute angle, and have to be cut well so that they can be soldered neatly.  I can get quite OCD about my leading...



Cementing:
Never the nicest job, but I had just cleaned out and reorganised my cementing shed, so it was nicer than it had been for a long time in there.




Monday, February 2

January






A few images from the longest and most tedious month of the year.

We went on some good walks, I started the process of getting my new (bigger!) workshop ready to move into and I cut a lot of glass for a large panel I'm working on.

Monday, January 12

T-shirt Design for Soulshine Café

I was recently asked to design a t-shirt for my friend Lisa's side-project to her bustling café Soulshine. As well as getting some printed with the Soulshine Café logo which I designed, she also asked illustrator Suzanna Hubbard to add a couple of her charmingly exuberant designs.

Although I was curious to see how one of my stained glass designs would look as a t-shirt, I thought it would be a good opportunity to brush up my Photoshop skills and work on a completely new design.



Inspired the dazzling array of gap-toothed kiddos exiting from Class Three every afternoon (one of them being my own) and the endless comparison of gaps, stumps, wobblability etc, I created a little gang of peg-toothed weirdos.

If you're curious about the latin motto at the bottom, Google Translate will sort you out.

The t-shirts are a limited edition and available to buy directly from Soulshine (☏ 01308 422821) and are available in a range of children's sizes.

Thursday, January 1

Bear & Rabbit Woodland Stained Glass Panel - Wedding Gift Commission




I loved making this panel, which shipped off to New York just before Christmas.

The client commissioned the panel as a belated wedding gift to friends, whose summer wedding was in a beautiful woodland setting.

I wanted the panel to look like it had perhaps come from a children's picture book, but at the same time capture the romantic nature of the wedding.

For the foliage in the foreground, I looked to William Morris for inspiration, which is always a good place to look.

Friday, December 19

Some really cool things have come out of making stuff and posting it online in the past 5(ish) years.  Like this, or this and this.

But the most recent is really one of the very nicest. My longtime internet-and-real friend Francesca Iannaccone sent me these great pictures from the primary school art class that she helps out in. The teacher had brought in some images to use as source material for the kids to work from, and some of them were mine.

Look at these! Frankly I think they are far superior to the originals.




Tuesday, November 25

Christmas Exhibitions, New Cards and an Apology...


If you subscribe to my newsletter, you can skip this blogpost, because it's essentially a copy and paste I worked really hard to ensure that my blog and newsletter are both on-message.

Firstly I'm taking part in two Christmas Exhibitions, at two of my favourite galleries: Fox and Worthington (in my hometown of Bridport) and Rostra Gallery in Bath as part of the Bath Christmas Market - my work will be available in their wooden chalet (now doesn't that sound cosy?). Available to buy will be all the usual suspects - Singing Birds, Egg Men, Cheeky Sprouts etc... And by popular request, I have made some more Russian Dolls, although I have tweaked the design a little.


I've also had two new card designs printed - you know, for Christmas. They will be available to buy at Fox and Worthington and I've also listed them in my Folksy and Etsy shop. Two Brussel Sprouts giving each other the side eye and my alt. Santa creation - Caspar. 

Lastly, an apology.  My Etsy shop.  Is virtually bare.  Which is good for me because it means that I've sold lots of things lately, bad for you because it is unlikely I'll get time to make many more things before Christmas as I have a couple of nice commissions that I need to finish asap.  But if that situation changes I'll let my newsletter subscribers hear first - you can sign up to receive a (non-spammy, infrequent) copy over there in the sidebar.  

Thursday, November 13

Victorian Stained Glass Roundel - White Lilies




I've been very remiss at posting completed projects on here lately, mainly because work is coming in back-to-back at the moment and I barely have time to photograph it, let alone edit it and get it online! Luckily I suffered a bout of insomnia the other night (which coincided with the clocks going back - probably the most annoying of all nights to be suffering), so this roundel that I painted to replace the damaged original is one of the few that I have managed to do.

Currently I'm working on stock for a couple of Christmas exhibitions (more on that soon), a large panel with lots of irises, a bear and a rabbit in the woods and some freelance work for a couple of other stained glass studios. It's a little hectic on the workbench right now...

Saturday, October 18

Hedgerow Jelly (Autumn in a Jar)


If you have kids and, like mine, they love to collect everything and anything they spot while out walking (shells, stones, feathers, broken blue and white pottery, coins, bottle tops etc. etc. etc.) then you might enjoy making this with them.

On our last walk we collected all sorts of edible Autumnal treasure - crab apples, sloes, rose hips, rowan berries, black berries, haws... but what to do with it all? Hedgerow Jelly, that's what.




We found this recipe, which worked brilliantly, and really you can be fairly flexible with what you put in, depending on what you find.  Always be careful to check that what you have picked is actually edible though, and not deadly nightshade berries for example. Make sure you wash everything thoroughly before starting.

As long as the sugar to juice ratio is 1 pound : 1 pint, you should be ok. And we totally cheated and squeezed the muslin straining bag (which looked like something out of a terrible slasher movie as the thick, red, viscous liquid oozed over our hands). Yes our jelly is a little cloudy, but we got twice as much, which is more important than perfection in my jam making school.


Then when it was done and poured into jars, we made labels (Isla's was so nice I copied hers).

It tastes very nice on porridge, crumpets and pancakes and would probably be very nice with game too, as it is quite sharp and sweet.


Wednesday, October 1

Play



These roundels are about 100 years old.  They have been set free from some old panels which I am dismantling and re-using to make some new door panels.  But first I had to have a bit of play with them.  They are such gorgeous textures and colours.  The black lines are snippets of lead from my workbench.

It's interesting to make yourself stop work and play for a bit.  There is much value in "unnecessary creativity" (I'm stealing the term from this podcast).