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Fishink Stained Glass Project 3

June 5, 2013

Monday was a beautiful day… not only for the glorious sunshine. I awoke crazily early at 5.30am and the sun was already ‘cracking the flags’, as we say up north ! It was glass painting day !

I knew that the journey over to Jane Littlefields’ Studio in Derbyshire would take me over an hour, so I decided to set off early (7.15) and hopefully beat the traffic on their monday morning rally.

I stopped to take these pictures on the way, pure, sunlit, English countryside at it’s best.

Fishinkblog 5963 Stained Glass 1

Fortunately Jane was already walking her dog when I arrived at 8.30 so it wasn’t too unsociable an hour. She kindly made me a cup of tea and we sat down in her sunny garden amongst the buddas and green men to finally catch up. We ‘met’ through my blog but hadn’t actually had the chance to chat face-to-face until today. It was like meeting a long lost friend. Funnily we’d already discovered that we had both trained at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design at the same time, but on different courses and our paths hadn’t previously crossed until today.

Fishinkblog 5964 Stained Glass 2

Jane’s garden is soo lovely, calm, serene and full of birds and wildlife that I could have easily just sat in the sun all day and chattered, but I was also keen to start working on the stained glass panel too so we set off into the studio to start the days task.

Fishinkblog 5965 Stained Glass 3

Jane explained a variety of techniques that I could try in order to create different marks and patterns. She had a wonderful selection of brushes, sticks, sponges, rollers etc that I could use to experiment with, and discover which styles I preferred. I worked on a lightbox and after carefully mixing the glass powder with the tiniest amount of gum arabic and water I was ready to roll.

I took each piece of the glass panel and initially cleaned it to get rid of any film or grease that may prevent the paint from making contact with it. Then I started painting my design, using the paper copy of the design beneath the glass to give me a guide to the scale and positioning of each element. It was a long process and took me all day, from 9 til 5 to finish, with only a little break for some hand cooked lunch from Jane, yum, well a boy’s got to eat ! lol.

Fishinkblog 5966 Stained Glass 4

I found the process very relaxing even though I did have to really concentrate in order to not peal the paint away in the fine line and more delicate areas. On the bird above for example, I initially painted a wash over the glass piece. Then I used an old comb to create some of the cross hatching marks, by combing the paint on the glass this way and that way and eventually building up a pattern of marks to add texture to the bird’s feathers. I lastly used a sharpened stick to create the finer feather marks on the beak and eye and the loops and swirls on it’s chest. For the trees I used a sponge to build up the shape and then scratched back into the edges to add more texture and then finally dusted the  glass with a dry badger brush, which softened the edges and again added more definition and depth to the marks I’d already created. I really like this sunny picture of Jane we took in her garden.

Fishinkblog 5967 Stained Glass 5

The glass would now get fired in a kiln in order to melt the glass powder and seal it to the piece beneath. Next the pieces would be slotted into some lead ‘H’ shaped lead and soldered at each seam, front and back to give it stability and support. Finally the whole piece would have some black cement rubbed into the gaps between the lead and glass, to make it watertight and solid. It would then need to be thoroughly cleaned to get all excess cement from the glass areas and let the final design shine out. It will be a few weeks before I get to see the panel in it’s final stage but I will post some images of it when I do. I stopped here to eat my tea at 7.30 on the way home again. A creatively, inspiring day and all thanks to my generous and talented hostess Jane Litlefield. I would strongly recommend anyone to take one of Jane’s stained glass classes or you can book her to teach a group of you too and make your own. Find out more here.

I want to once again say a special thank you to Jane for her help and suggestion to make this project possible in the first place.

Fishinkblog 5968 Stained Glass 6

I didn’t actually make these designs in glass, but playing on the computer with the photos of the work I’d created during the day, made me wonder what they might look like as repeat patterns.

Fishinkblog 5969 Stained Glass 7


I got home to discover that Julie Gibbons over in Australia has written a lovely post about my work on her blog Tractor Girl. You can read it here. Thanks for such a chirpy post Julie.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2013 7:35 am

    Lovely stuff! Really like the textures and colours you used and your photos are nice too. Nice to have met you at Janes 🙂

    • June 5, 2013 7:44 am

      Hi Sara, Thanks for the comment. I see you’re another early bird lol Such a lovely day and I also enjoyed meeting you. Happy rowing and playing the sax.

  2. June 5, 2013 10:47 pm

    Looks great! Your birds have got real character 🙂 Looking forward to seeing the finished panel.

    • June 5, 2013 11:15 pm

      Coming from you Flora that’s a real compliment. You’re stained glass work is beautiful. Many thanks. Craig

  3. June 10, 2013 4:58 pm

    Wonderful glass design, love the texture on the birds.

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