Time seems to move so fast and I cannot believe that we are weeks away from the Grand Designs Live at the Excel centre and I am still catching up. Meeting people all day every day for ten days is quite amazing for someone who spends 50% of their working life alone in a studio. The time you are at the exhibition is fast and hectic and great fun, but it is also very different. While you are there the normal life of the studio is on hold, waiting, pausing and then you return and the river of studio life is flowing again but there are new interests and enquiries from the show as well. This weekend is a good time to review and catch up and sort out the next few weeks but also to reflect on a great show and some great new clients.
I have been looking at the rain and have been inspired by the way colour runs as you look at colour through the window. Colour seems to smudge and mix as the rain comes down between the glass and the colour. When designing glass windows, especially when using lead, the design has a strong defining line or edge. This can sometimes mean the subtle flow of colour does not happen. The use of a very thin line of lead or the shading or painting of glass can also have an effect. However some of the beauty of a glass window can be the way small pieces of glass catch the light. This image is like a watercolour with the delicate use colour and moving colour and sometimes this can be found within a sheet of coloured glass. Colour can added to flow through molten glass and this flow is then frozen in the cold glass to be used by the artist for its variation. I supposed you could think of it as pre-smudged glass.
Today I will return covered in the dust and decay of ages as I will be removing a church window. The window will be set in a stone surround and can have been in place for many, many years. Image that the window has been in place since before you were born! It is often true that church windows are not regularly cleaned so there can be dust and cobwebs inside as well as traffic dirt and other residue on the outside of the window. Removing a window is called a ‘hack out’. This suggests a violent attack on the window. It is more like the desperate attack of the stained glass artist attacking the surrounding stone working to remove the window without breaking the glass. It is a delicate job for such a term as ‘hack out’. As you get up close to the glass you can see how the window was made and it is here you make the connection with the original artist. The techniques of cutting, painting and creating the window using lead calms have changed little over the centuries. I will take the window back to the studio to clean and remake as the original artist would have done. Once repaired and restored the window will return and perhaps stay in place for another 100 or so years until the next artist returns to care for the window again.
There are many skills you need and some you develop but the skills for exhibitions are not high on my list. Working with stained glass suggests you have some good art and design skills. Moving this skill into a business means that you have then added a set of commercial skills to you art skills to develop you business. In a large business each of these areas have specialists departments to navigate the difficulties and skills needed. However, in a small business all workers need to have more than one specialism and the owner often needs to have many skills that they didn’t know we’re necessary. So now Stained Glass Studio have done a series of exhibitions and displays we have to be able to put up an exhibition in minutes. Our theories are; don’t rely on what they say they provide, make sure your display or stand can be put up by you alone, make sure you have power cables and extension leads and finally depend on yourself. Make it simple, and make sure you can cope is a small or large space as you don’t know what you will be given. After all this you will be expected, within seconds, to turn around and be happy and cheerful to meet the public. This is a role that learning your art skills and then your business skills did not prepare you for. Sometimes you must think about how comfortable it might be to be a specialist in a larger business. Alternatively, you are the modern explorer, inventor and creator, perhaps even a modern Isambard Kingdom Brunel!
GreenerHOMEevent Belsize/Hampstead. Inspiration and advice. 16 talks,
20+ exhibitors. Thurs 21 Mch, drop in 3pm-9pm, tinyurl.com/auokrcx
Stained glass studios will be taking part in the Greener Home Event in Belsize Park and Hampstead area of London this week. Lots of help and advice about a greener home and ways to make changes and improvements. Always a great event with talks and discussions and lots of helpful advice to think about. We can all make changes that if added together will make a big difference to our world. It can also save you money on bills in your own home. I hope you can visit the event, and if you do come for a chat. Matthew Lloyd-Winder, director of Stained Glass Studios, will be at the event. See you there.
Glass is such a beautiful medium and at Stained Glass Studio we are working to push the boundaries of stained glass as far as they will glow. With our new designs we are working with modern convention, double glazing, to extend the design possibilities. We have worked for the last ten years sealing leaded stained glass within double glazed units. This allows for beautiful design and artwork to be used in a modern energy efficient building. We can also add security with the type of glass used for the sealed unit. This makes an ancient art form slip perfectly into twenty-first century engineering. Now we have moved this beautiful art form a step forward by using the idea of a double glazed unit, two pieces of glass in a spaced sealed unit, this gives us the opportunity to use two canvases, two pieces of glass. Working with two different complementary images sealed together, exciting three dimensional ideas are being created. The designs can be free flowing, moving and everyday new ideas are bing developed and tried. See some of the new designs below.
So we are off to the Surface DesignShow in London, at the Islington Business Design Centre, from 5th to 7th February. Lots of preparations in hand, new windows for display being completed. It is surprising but when you think of an exhibition you suddenly realise you don’t have lots of spare windows sitting around. Most windows are made to measure for clients. As a studio we don’t do lots of exhibitions but Matthew has a new technique that he is excited about and so it was decided to launch it at the Surface Design Show. There will be lots to see and if you register for the show beforehand you can get great reductions, its free! It would be great to see people at the exhibition so come in and have a chat. Take a look around and go home inspired.
I have decided that today is just one of those days. One of those days when my computer has decided that every task will take twice as long. I have been editing our Google places this morning and it took ages to submit. I keep editing Google places as we keep moving! Well we don’t move, the studio stays in the same place, its a building and as yet I have not seen it pick up its skirt and take a country walk. However, this morning the studio had wandered over the M25 and off down the road for a quick wander. Eventually I have managed to bring it back only to find we are now a cattery! I have placed us back where we belong and the cattery now seems to be in the old compost heap at the back of the building. Is it just us or do other people find they have moved? Do many buildings creep around at night changing places and confusing visitors by taking them to a field of sheep instead of a stained glass studio. From now on I am keeping watch and any movement will be addressed with firm words and the movement of those mad little red markers.
Stained glass windows come in many shapes and sizes colours and forms. Each can be made for you to celebrate where you want to put a window. Sealed into a double glazed unit, stained glass can now be as warm and safe as any other window in your house. This is all before you have the pleasure of a beautiful piece of stained glass in your house. At this time of year, when it cold outside, stained glass can bring some warm glowing colours into your house or office. It is definitly time for a new window!