The Times They Are A Changing


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I’ve been listening to a bit of the legendary Bob Dylan recently.  Mostly from the album ‘Slow Train Coming’ and if you listen carefully, you can hear snippets of the influences taken away by some of today’s music artists… ok, I digress already.  The title of this blog is one of Bob’s songs – and apposite to me because I am mixing things up and changing things round in the studio 🙂

You all know how passionate I am about glass.  Lampwork/flamework in particular but I also love glass in general, so have decided to introduce stained glass into my studio!  I managed to get a complete kit from a lovely lady who was giving up.  My favourite tool is the glass grinder – it’s so very satisfying to smooth away the glass to make lovely shapes after the brutal act of scoring and cutting!

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We have installed a new workbench and we take health and safety very seriously!  Maybe a bit too seriously 😉  Cutting glass to a pattern is one thing and grinding the edges another but getting it all to fit back together is another matter entirely!  Allegedly, all it takes is practise – I can see us producing very small stained glass pieces if we keep having to grind bits away to make it fit!

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Soldering.  Soldering is a whole new skill set!  I love melting glass and have discovered I love melting metal too!  There is a real knack to it, which completely escaped me, until I realised that the tip to the iron I was using was filthy!  Oh, and it’s really not a good idea to forget the flux, which makes the solder stick to the cooper.  Being a bit of a nerd, I have loved using all the new terms.  Tacking, tinning, brazing rods, grozing pliers…it all appeals to my sense of the ridiculous 😀

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Much to my chagrin, there is the equivalent of washing up  involved.  Not terribly amused by this aspect – I am an artist don’t ya know!  But the first go at a wavy panel more than made up for the tea towel disappointment 🙂

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So, designs!  Oooh, what choices – how big is my imagination?!  I have so far avoided available patterns and have started to bring my lampwork ideas into this.  I have a gazillion sketches that I want to turn into stained glass already but it’s very time consuming technique!  Firstly, once you have decided on a design, you need to transfer it into a form that is amenable to the methods, taking into account the ease/difficulty of cutting the pieces.  Then each piece needs to be ground and it can be quite tricky, after cutting and grinding, to get the bits to fit together again!  Then the copper foil is added, after which is the task of neatly soldering…. mmm 😉 So best to begin with simple designs until one gets a ‘handle’ on getting loads of little bits to fit together!  There always has to be a mermaid.  Always.  You know it makes sense 🙂  Bit of a mess but I know what I’m doing. No, really!  Did a drawing, converted it to ‘bits’, made templates for the bits, cut the bits, ground the bits and finally coppered and soldered the bits…she is not finished yet but I’m too impatient to wait to show you when she is!  Voila!

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One unfinished mermaid – she needs her soldering touching up and loops to hang her, a bit of a wash and polish and she will be ready to face her public 🙂

Two other pieces I love are the heart, made by Beth (her first proper piece!), who has taken up stained glass for her hobby and the beach huts, which popped into my head in the middle of one night and wouldn’t go away until they were a reality!

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Of course, I have still been making flame-worked glass goodies 🙂 Dragon Eye’s, Owls, Seascapes and the most beautiful (well her owner and myself think so) glass, silver and gold Goddess 🙂

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You might also have noticed some planets at the top – also a commission.

Well that was the big reveal!  I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what we here at Turner Rowe Glass Art  have been up to!  Watch this space for pieces about a new Pop-Up shop in Canterbury, full of hand-crafted goodies and the very talented polymer clay artist over at Creatures Of The Fey

Don’t forget, live, love, be true to yourself be authentic – people love that 😉  Mwah, until next time xxx

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