Part 1 – Getting to know you
Hi, I’m Linda, a stained glass artist at LindaS Art Glass. I created my stained glass pieces from my home workshop in Birch Vale in the lovely Peak District and I am going to take you on a journey with me as I create a colourful piece of stained glass art for Banks Lane Infants and Junior School’s special Calm garden.
I was contacted by the school after they had seen my stained glass and wood sculptures on my website. Each one of these has been a commission piece where the client has chosen elements of the landscape, objects, animals or even hobbies that have special meaning to them and from that I have create my colourful designs using locally sourced redwood and stained glass.
So, I went along and visited the school for a tour around the garden and an opportunity to listen to the wonderful story of how the garden reflects the school values that have been written down and illustrated by Mrs Burrows. What a fabulous way to bring these values to life. Everywhere you go is furnished by reminders of Iris and friends in the artwork of the children and staff.
I spend some time today reading the stories that Mrs Burrow has written on the school website to get a sense of the characters so I can bring them to life in my work.
Look out for the next instalment when the design will be agreed and I can get cracking on the project in my workshop.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already, take a look at what the school has produced on their website. If you have children yourself, they make great reading👍
Part 2 – Making a Frame
Now I have the dimensions so we know that the frame will fit in the gap it will be fixed into and it will be high enough for the children to be able to see without bumping into it, work can begin.
I start off by measuring out and cutting a nice piece of wood from the plank. The hole has to be big enough for the intricate design and to show off the colours of the glass leaving a chunky frame on the outside following the grain to maintain the character and colours of the wood which will not be truly visible until the wood is varnished.
Although your head teacher has a basic idea of the layout of the design, I am not going to show you just yet as I want you to watch as it evolves😉
Part 3 – The First Cut, Ethel and Friends!
Today’s the day that the characters will start to take shape. The first character was the character you might have expected if you didn’t know Ethel well. Everyone thinks snails are slow but oh no, not our Ethel, she has a special brain. So I’m following Ethel’s lead and putting lots of effort in today so that I can create her in colourful green and a shimmering iridescent glass shell, topped off with a happy smile.
After choosing Ethel’s glass, I used my glass cutter to score the lines from the pattern I had drawn using your wonderful Tales from the Burrows illustration on your school website then I used my grozing pliers to snap the glass along the score line. After that I used my grinder to smooth the edges because glass can be very sharp and I don’t want to cut my fingers and also to make sure all the pieces fit snug as a bug in a rug!
The next step is to cover each piece in sticky backed copper foil tape. This is also known as the ‘Tiffany’ method which is a technique used to make those wonderful Tiffany lamps you can find in the shops and in posh houses!
This is Sasha, my little dog who likes to pinch my seat while I use my grinding machine!
Once each piece is placed together like a jigsaw, it is soldered together using a solder iron and a special solder to make the seams raised and shiny. Just like washing your hands, it is important to clean off any left over flux which is the liquid used to make the solder flow. If you don’t clean it off properly, it will spoil the solder seam.
One last look at Ethel and you can see the light shining through her green body and when the light hits her shell you can see how shimmery her shell is. All that effort was definitely worth it, don’t you think?
Just so Ethel won’t be lonely tonight I followed the same steps and made Cornelius the Ant because he is good at working with others in a collaborative way and Eberhardt who will soon be weaving an excellent web in your garden.
Part 4 – Taking Shape
And here they are, the full Tales from the Burrows characters minus legs but don’t worry they will catch up!
Time build them a home and create the background. Cutting hexagons to make a honeycomb for Radmilla’s home. Then Ebhardt is spinning a beautiful irridescent glass web shimmering away in the corner. Once these are built Iris moves in with her colourful rainbow.
Ethel slithers onto her favourite branch and finally, Cornelius is ready to join them.
And with that, the panel is complete.
There is just one very important step to take and that’s to show Sasha my Cocker Spaniel friend how colourful the shadows are in the sunshine. I think she is impressed!
It’s time for the wooden frame to be prepared to take the glass. And with everything fitting nicely, it can not have 3 coats of varnish to keep it looking good.
Well, I’m enjoying working on this project and will miss the company of all the Tales from the Burrows characters but it’s nearly time for them to go to their forever home. Just a little base to make so that they can come indoors when it’s icy outside.
Part 5 – Completed
All finished and delivered safely to its forever home for the children of Banks Lane Infants & Nursery School to enjoy. I will miss those little characters though!😁