Category Archives: Blog Posts

When I opened the kiln this morning


When I opened the kiln this morning here is what I saw:

Opening the kiln – Students work

Impressive isn’t it. This is work from 4 students who spent the weekend with me on a Fusing Extravaganza weekend. This is the second kiln load they produced over the weekend –

not a bad days work from one pure novice and three who had only ever done small amounts of copper-foil work before the weekend started.

Students hard at work

I am so impressed at the wide variety of artistic interpretation and the sheer volume of work they produced.

As for me I really enjoyed myself. I love passing on this knowledge – and I love seeing how engrossed these ladies get and how enamoured they are of glass.

‘Follow-on’ sessions are going well too. My students love the freedom to play with glass while I am on hand to sort out problems, help with technical issues and dispense tea, coffee, biscuits and the occassion sticking plaster.

Last week saw me give my first ‘one-on-one’ session with a stained glass artist who wanted to get into casting. She needed help in making simple models and refractory moulds. She then struck out and attempted some Pate-de-Verre. She made a pretty good effort with a vertical sided mould (bet she is cursing me though).

Student’s first ever Pate-De-Verre

Had I realised that we would get into Pate-de-Verre I would have made a slightly easier mould for her initiation. Still I am proud of what she turned out – I hope she is too.        Roll-on the next course – I just can’t wait. It is so exciting.

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Avoid bubbles when using decals

Here is a very helpful Tipsheet produced by Tanya Veil at AAE glass, detailing how to reduce the bubbles in your decal work:

Tip #3 Keeping bubbles out of your dichroic glass jewelry pendants and decals
One of the biggest enemies to any dichroic glass fused pendant jeweler is the dreaded bubble. No matter how hard we try, sometimes a bubble creeps into our pieces and is it unavoidable. It is frustrating when working with fusible glass water slide decals and a bubble appears just above the decal. Hopefully we can offer you a few tips on how to avoid the curse of the bubble. While there is no sure fire way to avoid a bubble, following these 4 steps should help.

1-Once the decal is applied, blot out any excess water with a paper towel.
2-When the excess water is removed, wrap the paper towel around your fore finger and GENTLY brush the entire decal design after the excess water is removed. Be sure to smooth out any wrinkles or folds in the decal.
3-You must let the decal dry for at least 12 hours before firing the glass.
4-***HOT TIP*** If you are in a hurry and can’t wait 12 hours to fire, use a blow dryer at close range for 20 minutes.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at We have had several emails over the past few weeks and hopefully we have offered some helpful info.


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The BBC want me

I cannot believe I have been chosen by the BBC to appear in a new program to talk about my glass.  The program, Paul Martin’s Hand-Made Revolution, will  be aired at the end of this year, and will look at a wide array of interesting hand-made objects made in the UK, often in people’s own homes. This was the glass I took along. Naturally they choose the first one, almost certainly because it is a bit risky in some people’s eyes. Ho Hum!

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Workshop Flyer 3rd – 4th November

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Inaugural classes in my new studio

I am excited to announce that to celebrate the opening of my new studio space – a centre for glass excellence – I will be running an impressive 2 day course in glass fusing for beginners. This course is being offered at a discounted price of £160 for two days (normal price £190). The course covers the basics of cutting and handling glass; an introduction to different types of glass, kilns, and firing schedules. Participants can expect to leave with detailed notes and a minimum of 4 personally designed pieces of glass which could include an unusual sun-catcher, eye catching coasters and/or tiles, or a stunning piece of jewellery.  Shaping suitable finished pieces into bowls will also be an option.

A separate one day class will also be run for younger would-be glass makers.

I will run the class in conjunction with Rachel Newham, a fellow Falmouth graduate. We have over 15 years combined experience in all forms of glass working, have exhibited both nationally and internationally, and have extensive teaching experience. We were both shortlisted for the coveted Bohle Student prize during our uni years.

Inaugural Course dates are 29th/30th October 2012 and 3rd/4th November 2012. The ‘Young Glass-makers’ course will be run on 31st October 2012. Bookings are being taken now for these spectacular courses on 01 326 574693.




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What a mistaka to maka

I am in this massive learning curve. Not only has every part of my new home been torn apart and re-built in the last 18 months, but I have also had to contend with the my office being constantly packed up and moved until I cannot find Work started on revitalising my home staircase todayanything; and my studio being moved from ‘pillar to post’ while the workmen squeeze me and my glass into a smaller and smaller corner of the garage.

I thought the end was near – on everything, not just my studio – but here I am still frantically trying to juggle everything, while making a million decisions and a trillion cups of tea and coffee per hour. No wonder I am making great big stupid mistakes.

Today was the day that Merlyn was to bring my combi-unit (glory hole with attitude) and my Dad’s lathe down from Stourbridge and install it all for me. Yesterday the decision was made to postpone his visit because I have to sort out the flooring before he arrives.

Yes, I have made a mistake with the flooring. I have known about my mistake for a couple of weeks now, but have not really owned it until Sunday, when Malcolm Sutcliffe dropped into see me and pointed out the obvious.  I am not convinced it was entirely my fault – but the person sharing the blame is not owning it either. Ho hum.

I allowed myself to be talked into a flooring that I now find to be unsuitable for working with hot glass. I have worked hard to try to solve the problem by finding a suitable floor covering – but there is not one. So it looks like part of my new floor will be taken up tomorrow and the resulting hole will be filled with concrete. So that was a nice expensive circular mistake, wasn’t it? I started with a concrete floor and I am ending up with a part of the floor in concrete.

Today the new plumber arrived to put the water supply into the studio.
He finished putting up the shower surround for the glass polishing area. He also started work plumbing in the sink and water heater. Whoopee. Hubby persuaded me to have hot water – which I had not planned to have. I am sure I will appreciate that in the winter months. Mind you, it felt like winter today it was so cold and windy.

The piggery is coming on a treat. The roof is almost finished now.

The really good news is that my new cutting machine has arrived from His Glass Works Inc, via Italy.  I can’t wait to get it up and running. And I feel so pleased with myself that I saved about £1,300 by buying from a US dealer rather than from a UK dealer. Just goes to show you have to watch the UK suppliers.

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Almost there

Do not hold your breath but we really are almost there

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Back from the wedding

Hi, I am back. Yes back blogging and back home. I have been away for my daughter’s wedding. Well, the Hen Party first on the 15th where my son the ‘chief Bridesmaid’ arranged a nice piece of ‘Life Drawing’; and then the wedding on the 20th.

 Followed swiftly by a week of grandchildren sitting etc.
Unfortunately, while we were away there was almost no work done on the studio or the piggery, which was very disappointing. In fact the material for the new roof only arrived very late during the second week. Sadly at that stage my two gorgeous grandchildren kindly decided to test my nursing skills by getting a gastric bug, while their parents honeymooned in blissful ignorance of our plight. Consequently, any thought of my new studio was banished from my mind.
But I have been back out there today in the pouring rain finding out what has been going on.
Mad digger Andy has been testing out his brand new tax-deductible digger by removing all the excess soil from the back of the new studio. This involved the removal of one scraggy hawthorn tree –  so now we will have to have another massive bonfire.
Well as soon as it stops raining, that is.

Andy has also been busy at the front of the building digging a trench for the electricity cable. I can tell you truthfully , I now have to take my life in my hands every time I take  those men a cuppa. They kindly put down a plank for me, so that I could cross the trench. When I stepped on one end the other end flew up and almost bopped me on the nose.

Still I ventured across and got got pictures of the new roof and the inside work on the studio.

Oh and the compressor room now has a new door – well not new so much as one of the old stable doors has been moved and the hole filled in ready for a window.

All exciting stuff, really.

Sadly, my use of the old bath as a ‘beginners vegetable garden’ has been a bit of a wash out.

I have to come up with a name for my new studio. Anyone got any ideas?

See you tomorrow.


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Day 4

Rebirthing day 4 has come and gone. Not a lot happened today.

The walls are up in my compressor room and a lot of earth has been dug out from behind the stables to get it down below floor level. Andy and I are thinking that this area must have been used as a general dumping area when the house was being saved from dereliction. There is so much top spoil, and building rubbish there.
If anyone wants any topsoil or hard core we currently have a Himalayan mountain range in our field – just begging to be taken away. I know our local friendly farmer (ex .dom magnate) is threatening to come and take some of it to fill in his mine shaft holes – but I bet even
he cannot use this lot.
The bright side is that the diggers have really churned up the patch of ground that I have been eyeing for a future vegetable plot. This is actualy good news, because this plot is a massive bracken area. Poor Molly (our daughter’s border terrior) got lost in there last summer chasing rabbits and we were worried we might not see her again. Anyway I have never has to deal with bracken before and I hear it is a nightmare to eradicate. I have had a go myself at that and the thousand foot long bramble branches, and had worked out that clearing this site by hand was probably going to take me a good two weeks of fairly solid back-breaking work. Ho Hum. Well at least it has been done for me now – even though it does not look too pretty.
The bad news is that there has been a delay on the delivery of the roofing material for the new studio. About a week they think.
Suddenly there I was facing Andy saying he could really do with starting on the piggery roof next week instead of standing idle. Sods law has been at work here of course . We had spent some time moving everything out of the stables and cramming it into the piggery. Now suddenly everything had to come out of the piggery and go where….Aaaaahhhhh help. Yes you guessed it straight into my nice neat garage (read temporary studio). So poor temporary studio is no more. If you turn sideways you might just squeeze in there – but you will be hard pressed to find any glass or kilns – or anything really.
I guess it took two builders, Roger and I about three hours to clear the piggery. Not too bad – ah yes, but what you do not yet know is that we had already allocated the day as a furniture moving day. Our bedroom has just been finished and decorated and we had to locate the furniture from the far reaches of our house and put it all back. But that was not the end of it. We had to then move furniture from two others rooms into our bedroom so that the builders and decorator can move in there next week. So we spent the morning moving furniture and the afternoon relocating stuff from the piggery either to the garage or the bon-fire.
Why all the urgency. Ah yes, well we are off tommorrow to London. I have my daughter’s Hen party to attend on Sunday and her wedding to attend on Friday. Then a week of babysitting. I must remember to tell her that people normally have children after they get married, not before. But then again it is really too late, isnt it?
Any way, I can hear you all groaning – what piggery?
The piggery is a quaint little white stone building that greets you as you enter our property. Could be mistaken for a garage. I did have my eye on it as a studio but it turned out to be rather expensive to do the work needed – hence the stables. But now we realise that the roof (asbestos – ugh) has to be replaced before it collapses through all those rotten roof timbers. We have asked Andy to get on and do this and take out one or two of the internal walls at the same time. I think I might grab this as a gallery space for all that beautiful glass art I am going to make in the not too distanct future. tee hee.
Ok, now I have to go and lie down as my back is hurting from all that furniture and stuff moving, and all this sitting at the computer.
Please leave me comments, so I know you are there.
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Day 3

Hi there,

Here I am now on day 3 of the magical transformation of stable to glass artists studio.
Things have moved along a bit with that very heavy lintel now firmly fixed in place and cemented in. I guess those poles holding up the roof have to stay there until the cement is dry.
Nothing much of excitement happened inside today. The walls were washed with some sort of chemical to get rid of the fungi, growths and whatever else has been living in there. Then they were scrubbed for good measure. After that they were doused in the much acclaimed ‘thoroughseal’ to act as a damp membrane (I may not have this name correct – so do not go rushing off to buy this stuff). Nasty smelly stuff – gets down in your throat which is not good for a girl just getting over a chest and throat infection.
Ok, an aside here – does anyone know how I get the text to scroll around my writing as I seem to have a lot of annoying white space here?
Since I am asiding – here is another. I managed to swim this morning for the first time in a week. Almost the first time I have missed a swim since we moved here. I only managed 20 lenghts though as my chest is still not that healthy. Ho hum, perhaps I can do 50 lengths tommorrow.
Back to the magical world of studio building. Today Andy (my friendly glass-loving builder) started the new lean-to build. I have to keep my eye on him as he keeps wandering into my garage (read garage as temporary studio), picking up pieces of glass and telling me how much he likes that particular piece. I actually gave him a piece today for free – I must be going soft. Or perhaps the Benylin has addled my brain!
This structure is not so much a lean-to, more a little brick hut to house my monsterous compressor and sand-blaster.
At least I hope it will act as a sand-blaster. I actually bought a shot-blaster without realising the difference. Anyway, if any one knows about these things please throw me a few hints on how to change a shot blaster into a sand-blaster. I suspect it is merely a case of using grit rather than glass balls and using a different nozzle/gun. Help would be appreciated.
As you can see Andy is a happy chappy – thats because I ply him with cups of tea every hour or so + loads of sugar.
Thanks to those who have left comments so far. Please feel free to leave comments for me so that I know I am not just communicating with fresh-air. Also please do participate if you know the answer to any of my questions – or know someone who does.
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