I am a stained glass artist living in Silverdale on the edge of Morecambe Bay, Lancashire. From my studio named ‘Debbie’s Shed’ I design stained glass bird and animal sculptures and undertake commissions for leaded windows, panels and other bespoke items. Take a look in my gallery for ideas, or even better come and take a look in my shed!…I do ‘Open Studio’ on the last Friday of each month. See ‘Events’ for details.
And in full……….
My name is Debbie Copley. I am a self employed craftsperson who works predominantly with stained and leaded glass. I live in Silverdale on the edge of Morecambe Bay with my partner and two sons.
My recent passion for making things using stained glass brings together a lifetime of accumulated skills and aspirations.
I use stained glass as a material to produce a desired finish product. I love three dimensional things. I like colour, movement, sometimes drama and sometimes humour, pretty things and originality. I use glass and the associated traditional leading techniques, crafts and skills as the basis for all my work.
Birds and animals feature in my sculptures that reflect my love of the natural form, nature and my surroundings. My copper-foiled work is usually quirkier, more colourful and personal. My glass applique work satisfies my desire for detail and I like that it can be very pictorial.
How did I start using stained glass? A friend suggested ‘stained glass’. We had been doing pottery for a couple of years and were looking for something different. I had produced a burgeoning collection of ‘browny’ coloured ash trays using the infamous ‘cappuccino’ glaze. Now, not only do I dislike superheated frothy cappuccinos but I don’t even smoke. It was time for a change.
And so began our ‘stained and leaded glass’ education. I loved it. The tools, the skills, the sparkly materials – and the danger! Cutting glass in those early days gave you quite an adrenaline rush. All around the room were splintering noises followed by audible sighs of relief, and occasionally the odd expletive. We had loads of cut fingers but progress was made. With the first year under our belt, two friends and I launched ourselves on the public under the banner of ‘The Glass Girls’. We had some very happy events and our local audiences were very appreciative and kept us in beer money. We had great success at the ‘Silverdale and Arnside Art and Craft Trail’ and my support grew to the extent that I am now self-employed and I get to spend as much time in my shed as I like.
So what has influenced me along the way? I’ve always been a bit of a maker. One of five, I was surrounded by a dad that could make ‘anything’ (He really could) And a mam who couldn’t draw, (sorry mam), but could bake and sew and knit and race and help with maths homework. I began making Christmas prezzies for my brother and sisters at about aged 14. (They were relieved when I started earning money at aged 17)
My first ‘making’ passion was sewing. What I couldn’t knock up using a quids worth of fabric off the market and a photo from ‘Honey’ magazine! My love of colour, form and texture stems from this. The skills, the handling of the tools and the technical side of my work are probably helped by my background in engineering. My love of 3D will come from my dabbling in many sculptural techniques over the years such as dress- making, textiles, basket-making, green willow working and ceramics. My love of colour and detail comes from being stimulated by my surroundings. I am lucky. I live in a beautiful part of the world. I have the sea and the mountains at my disposal. What more inspiration could you ask for?
What’s all the fuss about sheds? Not sure where that has come from but I do like the great outdoors. And being from the north with the climate and all, I guess a having a shed is the next best thing to being outside. I like that they have a purpose but don’t have to be tidy. I like that they are quiet. My latest shed is fab. My brother built it and it has a grass roof, lots of light, a workbench and a stool and its waaaaay at the end of my house.
Where do I go from here? Well, I am self employed now so I guess I should have a ‘plan’. I am already content. I have a beautiful family, I love my work, I live in a fantastic place and I have a shed of my own! I just want to carry on making beautiful things that hopefully people will want to buy. And my ‘business plan’?….….Well, I have started this blog…… read on!