Debbie does flowers.

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This project started way back in the Summer… ages ago. A collaboration with my stained glass friend Peter. A design and painting project that Peter thought I might quite like.

Foxgloves he said, and perhaps a wall.

Do they have wings? said I.

Haha…crack on he said, you can do it.

The client said yes to my initial doodle whilst I inwardly quaked at the sizes Peter had quoted me! (thinking, I’m going to need a considerably bigger bench!)

I sketched things bigger and we visited site and when the sheet was pinned to the walls of the clients kitchen, she said yes, yes, yes.

(Darn it – I’m going to have to see this through then).

The site visit and meet with the client was great. Now I had a feel for the location and orientation; the colour of the stone; the architecture of the building and a rough idea of likes and dislikes.

(Oh yeah, good to go now!!)

(How I overcome my fear of that huge sheet of paper?)

A friend was helpful. Take a look at Georgia O Keefe, he said, think about your lines and shapes and let the detail come later.

So. Fortunately, I was able to ponder and draw and redraw lines over a good length of time. I studied undergrowth. I looked closely at foxgloves. I stacked up wee chips of coloured glass in my window and so settled on a palette.

With lines refined and glass delivered I was ready to start cutting.

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p1070369-1This project was in fact three windows. A front door panel measuring 760W x 1065D and two sidelights measuring 400w x 1065d for an entrance in a new build house – the house being named Foxglove. The two neighboring houses, which the client had also built, were called Briar Rose and Thistledown – beautiful, said I, how about I use those blooms in the two side panels. And so that was agreed.

And I planned rambling brambles to scramble along the bottom of each.

So, when I started to cut I was happy to start on one of the smaller(!!) side panels (still the biggest thing I had ever done). So Briar Rose I chose to start on.

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I built up the detail using layers of paint. And so the start of many, many late nights on the light box with Gideon Coe on 6 for company – happy days. Matting, scraping, scrubbing, painting and splattering until I was satisfied.

Then fire in my kiln. There were a few mistakes (aren’t there always!). The red I had selected for blackberries was too harsh so I swapped in an easier on the eye purple. Re-fire and yes, I was happy.

Next the foxgloves. Initially I used the same pink as for the roses but somehow it was too tame. I returned to that gorgeous piece of handmade pink-gold from EAG that I have been hording and stroking for ages. Perhaps its moment had arrived!

I painted two sets of samples and surprise, surprise, went for the none tame option. Beautiful, beautiful shocking pink foxgloves – a bold centerpiece statement.

The prickly thistles was the panel I was really looking forward to though. How to make some bits look untouchable and other bits light as, well, thistledown. Careful matting, scrubbing, re-matting and line that how.

Have I said I loved, really loved, painting these panels. It was so all-absorbing. Challenging and experimental and the steepest learning curve I have been on a for a while, (and, well, I do like steep hills!).

So all-fired, (some re-fired) (some clumsy breaks – doh) but then ready for leading.

I was delighted when Peter said he was happy for me to do the build. I would have been reluctant to part with all my pieces at this stage. And so, the bench extension (or elevation, in actual fact). A visit to TP’s and I built a new staged top to sit atop my trestle. Hey, it is now the perfect height. Why did I not do this years ago!

I asked advice from my friend at Pendle Stained Glass with regards strengthening and he suggested steels in the border and 8mm lead throughout. (That took some stretching I can tell you!) But it was great. The 8mm lead added strength and strong line to panels of this size. Perfect.

Leadwork. So satisfying. Thinking about which lines to flow through and where to put the joints. The don the mask and do the soldering. Nerve racking flipping these panels to solder the underside, I tell you.

Finally, the last stage, grouting and polishing. I invested in a new bristle brush (far too big a job for using fingers!) and slopped it on. Pushed it into gaps, dusted on the whiting, flipped and repeated – for all three panels. I left to firm up before scraping off the excess and polishing and polishing, and just for good measure – more polishing. A physical part of the job – tired shoulders and embarrassing fingernails.

And now they have gone. Off to the double glazers with Peter to get encapsulated into double glazed units. But not before I braved propping them in my front window and snapping a few pics.

Illumination. Wow. I’m really happy with these.

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Can’t wait to see them in situ!

 

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What’s on…

Have just updated my events….busy busy time approaching.

Just taken part in a group show with members from the Silverdale and Arnside Art and Craft Trail, Art Trail Autumn took place at the E.I. in Arnside.

Here are a few pics of my stall.

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And if you missed me you can catch me again at Brantwood in a couple of weeks. (I am so lucky  – I have winged it on to their flyer!!). 12th and 13th November 10:30 – 5:00pm.

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Following that is my favourite wee night time Craft Fair in the Gaskell Hall at Silverdale. (Saturday 26th November. I hope to get some angels made by then!!)(Concentrating on Robin’s at the mo’).

And then Saturday the 10th is my final fair at the Story Institute in Lancaster. This was great last year – a huge variety of stalls. Great to finish off your Christmas Shopping there.

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You can of course drop by Debbie’s Shed at any point – but best to check first that I am in. (I should be…it is head down with work work work at the mo’)

Mulled wine will be on offer on the last Friday of the month…that would be Friday the 25th November…stick the date in your diary!

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Reubow

A special commission for a very special charity in memory of a very special boy named Reuben.

Reuben’s Retreat provides respite care to relieve the distress of families and their close friends who have suffered the bereavement of a child or have a child suffering from a life limiting or life threatening illness.

Emma wanted a commemorative piece of artwork for her friend and founder of Reuben’s Retreat. So working with their existing logo and symbols, ‘Reubow’ was born.

Here is how it developed….drawings first….and fiddly diddly fun construction!

The springy-flower and buzzy bee were constructed using recycled pottery and glass in a copper foil technique. And the main pretty coloured panel utilised a mosaic applique technique with some decorative carefully chosen pottery bits too.

All mounted on a grand bit of driftwood!

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(I also heard that they had a bit of a thing about Robin’s too so I gifted one their way to help make their gardens look even nicer. x)

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A Poem. (Almost by Edward Lear…)

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea green boat…

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She took some flashed glass (which cost plenty of cash)

That would cut like butter, she hoped.

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She pictured a night sky and picked up her pencil,

Drew some curves and filled them with stars.

Then she took up her knife and cut out a stencil.

To prepare for the blast with Ed’. Ta.

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Big Ta! Big Ta!

A lovely sky blasted with stars.

 

Debbie then said to Ed’, you generous man.

Of your machine I would like a loan.

Go ahead Debbie, but keep the grit flow steady.

Remember, it’s used to cutting stone!

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So she blasted away. The results were “hey-hey”

And she took them back home to the shed.

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She then picked up her cutter. Produced shapes with no clutter

And gave them a quick coat of paint.

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Of paint. Of paint.

The layers she added with paint.

 

Then the kiln does its cooking. (Watch the time Deb, no schmucking!!)

Clean the bench and get ready for glue.

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Once the program is done, wash and clean, get the gun.

Position carefully. Step back and say “phew”.

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You then leave this to set. And some grout go and get.

The finishing touches she’ll be making soon.

Whatever she wishes, some wriggly wee fishes

And of course a shot blasted moon.

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A moon. A moon.

On a wire it dances. The moon.

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The End

A wonderful commission for an engagement come house-warming for Jenny and Joshua.

Constructed using glass and glue in an applique technique.

Hand-rolled and flashed glass used for the painting and shot-blasting.

Thanks to Ed’ Waller at Able Memorials for use of his blast cabinet.

Thanks to brother Dunc’ for help fettling the base.

Thanks to Gill and Nigel for the commission.

 

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Head for the Hills…

A commission for her brother from Emma and her beautiful kids, Joshy, Bel and Loki…

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…That was to be a wedding present for Michael and Kerry….who are lucky enough to be starting married life in the wonderful Howgills…and apparently have a thing about sheepdogs and pigs!

So this is the scene that I came up with…

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from sketch through cutting and cleaning….

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painting…..

glueing, grouting and

finishing off!

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Preening, posturing and prepping…

So I have had this idea in my head to capture birds in flight and with the Trail fast approaching I figured it a good plan to make a drop dead gorgeous panel for then. I pictured them, (the birds), silhouetted against the sky in the upper part of my window. So, I drafted something up and gazed at it for a few days….I coloured it in….i selected my colours and finally bit the bullet and invested ‘dosh’ in some new sheets of glass.

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On arrival of glass I worried that the blue sheet would not be quite big enough for my needs…oh dear, cold feet.(Nervous I am. This would be the largest panel I have tackled so far…and it would require a whole new board to be fitted on my bench..yikes)

I looked at the drawing a bit longer and instead decided upon making two smaller panels. One capturing the birds in flight and the other catching them preening. (Back to the drawing board)

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Yip-yippee…next it was down to cutting glass  Oh, how I love to cut glass…. And, I got to try out the nifty new trick that I had learnt from Deb’s at Pendle Stained Glass. Check me out using a sheet of plain glass as an easel and sticking the bits of cut glass to it using plasticine. Great way to check colours and composition.. (just need to remember not to leave it propped in the sun though as everything travels south in the heat!)

 

Next the painting. I decided I was going to paint every piece of glass to achieve a level of obscurity in each section. The blue sky was just given a light even matt but I had a bit of fun on the other panel…

Splattering it with water for nice effect! (’twas subtle, but nice)

After firing I realised I had made a couple of wrong colour decisions as the darkest amber darkened just a bit too much in the kiln so I ended up re-firing a couple of pieces. But happy that I did.

Then, lead work followed by that filthy job of grouting! (I used a brush, David, at Pendle Stained Glass..although did still manage to get quite grubby..no hope).

Then after much polishing, the reveal….. what do you think?

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So glad i decided to make the two. i just love this preening couple.

Why not come and see them at the Trail this weekend…

(Just also like to say thanks to all the staff at Pendle Stained Glass who were most patient and generous on my day out there…hopefully be back again at some point)

 

 

 

 

 

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Bring me sunshine….

Just a few short weeks ago an offer dropped in to my ‘inbox’.

 

Would I like to submit artwork for an exhibition to celebrate what would have been Eric Morecambe’s 90th year? This came from The Morecambe Artist Colony (MAC), a dynamic wee group of artists and makers from, yes you’ve guessed it – Morecambe!

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Well it lit a spark in me – the Eric Morecambe statue never fails to illicit a response whenever I pass it….a smile…a salute…or the full on one-legged dance – yee-hah!

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(I spent a very happy lunch-time once with my Mam and Dad at ‘Eric’s Cafe’ which is just across the road from Eric’ statue. The laugh we had watching passing folks strike a pose…Eric definitely “brings me sunshine!”)

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So here is what I came up with for my submission…even the birds getting in on the act!

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You can see that Eric also brought me sunshine whilst i was photographing my artwork. …He also brought a high tide though and me, out on the sands at Silverdale, trying to capture Eric and co’ against a bright wide horizon and big sky; I almost got caught by the ‘bore’ (and I am not referring to a particularly un-interesting local character!!)

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The ‘bore’ is the first wave of each tide and in the estuary at Silverdale you can spot it twice daily if you’re watching. It is quite a sight. Most usually it is a gentle shallow little wave. First filling up all the riverlets but quickly following up with gobbling up all the sand. On particularly high tides it comes in especially quickly and will have a white wake behind it. (I have spotted the bore from the top of the Knott before – a line of water creeping up the Bay).

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So yesterday was one of those high tides. It was also very sunny so I was out on the sand-bar photographing Eric. Happy days…. Till I heard a toot-toot from Tony on the shore. Lucky for me I heeded his warning and headed back; just managing to skip across the ever widening stream and onto the land. Phew! What a numpty.

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Lucky for me Tony was there…another couple of minutes and I wouldn’t have fancied my chances surfing in…..Silly me. And me a local too. (Lesson to self – always always check the tides)

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If you would like to take a look at the exhibition then pop across to Morecambe Library. The exhibition is on until the middle of July.

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(Can you spot the real statue!!??)

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