Monday, 20 August 2012

Got the decorating bug

Painted Stairs
I don't know why I have the decorating bug at the moment - might be something to do with browsing on Pinterest - but I have a few ideas and projects on the go. 

I have finally finished painting the stairs (we can't afford a carpet at the moment) which was a bit of a labour of love as getting that masking tape straight was a pain. Then everyone kept wanting to come up or down the stairs when the paint was drying and as for my battle with dog hair....

Hall table
I found this old table in a junk shop and paid a whopping £2 for it - bargain. It had a hideous green "leather" top and was badly scratched so I asked my carpenter neighbour to cut the back off it so that it could be fixed to the wall. Several coats of blue paint and a map of Paris has changed this tatty table into the perfect place for flowers. Also, now it is attached to the wall with mirror plates, the dog can't knock it over. 


I'm ordering the lampshade from Lush Designs next week and then that's the hall finished. Meanwhile, I have plans for the living room....
Map of Paris

Monday, 13 August 2012

Count Down to Art in the Pen

Skipton Auction Mart
Only five days to go before Art in the Pen and I am in a panic. Will I have enough glass? Will my table display look OK? What will I forget to bring? (I always forget something).
So I have an empty animal pen to fill at Skipton Auction Mart and that is all it is - an animal pen. See above. It measures 2.7 X 3.3 metres and has a concrete base. I will also get a power point because the lighting there isn't so great. I am bringing a large trestle table that I have painted antique white because I am not going to bring a table cloth. I think my glass may look better on a hard surface rather than a soft one. This means all the "stuff" that I don't need will have to go back in the car because I can't hide it under a cloth. But I also need a small table to wrap glass so I am currently spray painting my daughter's dressing table antique white to match the big table. But what if I need more display? So I found this old table in a junk shop.....

Ugly old table
...and painted it antique white with a blue/grey stripe. 

Refurbished Table

Then there's my signage. I don't want/have a vinyl sign so I have framed two chalk boards and bought a white liquid chalk pen. Just summoning up the courage to write on them now. 

Framed chalk boards

And what about my labels? I hated my display when I was at Saltaire Arts Trail and was irritated by all the bits of card cluttering up my table as price tags. So I have painted some wooden hearts with chalk board paint and will place them next to the glass. 

Chalk board price labels
Now I need to sort out something to sit on, finish painting my display boxes, find the missing magnets (where did I put them)? and a million other things.....
To find out more about Art in the Pen please visit their website HERE

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Glass fusing workshop - make dishes

Fused glass dish
Glass Fused Dishes - Glass Fusing Workshop at 
South Square Centre

Aimed at beginners and intermediate glass fusers, this workshop will take you through the processes and skills to create your own glass dishes.

Date:  Saturday 22nd September 2012
Costs: £50 (all materials and equipment provided)
Times: 10:00 to 15:00
Where: South Square Centre, Thornton Road,  Thornton Bradford BD13 3DL
Contact: or call 07837471040

 What will the workshop cover?
Introduction to glass fusing including: cutting skills, technical know-how, working with coloured glass, designing and glass assembly.   You will be using best quality Bullseye glass from the USA and working in opal and transparent coloured glass.  Hand outs will be given on fusing schedules for future use. All glass will be fused off-site and returned to you.

Lunch: is by your own arrangement. There is an excellent vegetarian cafe at South Square and food is available at The New Inn, next door. There are also several sandwich shops in Thornton.  

Costs: Workshop fees are inclusive of VAT and your payment will secure your place. No deposits will be taken. Your glass will be fused off-site and you may collect it by arrangement from South Square Centre. Alternatively your glass will be returned by post. 

Refunds and cancellations: If you have made a payment but wish to cancel your full payment will be returned to you two weeks before the start of the workshop. However, we will not return payments after 10th September unless we can find a student to replace you.

How to pay: We accept payment by Paypal, BACS or cheque.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

So you want to start glass fusing....

Whenever I teach a Beginners' Glass Fusing Workshop there is at least one person who decides that glass fusing is the craft for them and they want to do it NOW.
Then they start to consider the costs of setting up a glass fusing studio and the doubt sets in....

OK, so Glass Fusing isn't a hobby you can do at the kitchen table and then clear away for tea. Also, some of the kit is rather expensive (such as a kiln and grinder) and then there's the long process of learning how to operate the kiln, understanding the way glass behaves in high temperatures and being able to put up with more failures than successes at first. But, if you are committed to a love of all things glass, then most problems can be overcome and the final results of creating something both tactile and beautiful make it all worthwhile. 

I learned to fuse glass in a second hand enamelling kiln and all my guidance came from glass fusing websites in the USA. I learned a lot more by joining a glass team on Etsy and I have gained both lots of knowledge and good friends through the Creative Glass Guild of Etsy. But it has been a long, but enjoyable, journey. 

So, what do you need? 

Tools and Equipment
·   Glass cutter – choose an oil filled one such as a Toyo
·   Grozers – ideal for breaking and nibbling glass
·   Cut Running Pliers – for  breaking large pieces of glass
·   Glass Grinder – electric or hand sanding block or     carborundum stone to smooth edges
·   Permanent marker pen – to draw onto glass

Glass Types
·  Float glass – picture or window glass. Molten glass floated on a bed of molten tin to make a smooth, transparent glass. Quite brittle, fuses at 82COE, has a green tinge after firing

·  Bullseye – softer glass with slightly textured surface and, as it is hand rolled, has imperfections in the surface that disappear when fused. Transparent is easier to cut than opal. Fuses at 90COE, is compatible with Uroboros glass

·   Spectrum 96 – cheaper than Bullseye, smaller range of colours and opals are very bright. 96COE

Glass Fusing Basics
 Glass can be cut on thick mdf or a self healing mat
Always handle large sheets with cotton gloves and store upright. Sheet glass held horizontally will increase pressure on centre of the glass and will fracture
When cutting glass take care not to damage the tungsten carbide wheel of the cutter, practice cutting on scrap pieces of float glass
Keep brushing up glass shards as you work   
Check the water level and temperature of the glass grinder before using
Grind all glass from right to left, taking care not to apply pressure to the diamond head
·  Remember to wear goggles when grinding glass
·  Wash all glass component pieces in hot, soapy water, removing all traces of grease and permanent marker pen. Rinse in hot water and dry well

Jo Whitehead

Friday, 3 August 2012

Dichroic Glass Workshop

Student work - dichroic coated Bullseye glass
I recently travelled over to York to teach a one day workshop on dichroic coated glass fusing. I loaded up my car and set off to spend a happy Sunday cutting glass in Helen Drye's kitchen. 
Helen is a silver clay jeweller who was looking to expand her designs by including fused dichroic cabochons placed into silver clay settings. Along with her friend Lynne, who is interested in making dichroic glass jewellery, we went through the processes of designing, cutting, grinding and fusing dichroic coated glass. 

Glass heart
Dichroic coated glass is fabulous to work with because, once fused, the most amazing colours come to life and the glass has a colour shift as it catches the light. This means that it gives a touch of luxury to the wearer, enhancing clothing with flashes of colour. As it is a coating of metal oxides onto a glass surface it is also quite expensive to buy. I buy all mine from Warm Glass as they stock CBS (Coatings by Sandberg) dichroic which has the best colours and patterns.

At the workshop both students made three pieces of glass jewellery each, the first using small pieces fused between black and clear Bullseye glass, the second using dichroic coated glass stringers and the third, a design of their own.  I hope the tuition they received has helped them to think about their own designs and come up with their own style. The possibilities are endless. 

I had a lovely day as Helen plied us with tea and lunch in her lovely garden and I hope they enjoyed it too. If you live in North or West Yorkshire and would like to join a glass fusing workshop please email me HERE for details. Follow Glassprimitif on Facebook to see more Students' Work.