Printing on Glass

Today’s glass workshop has been all about printing onto glass.

18 months ago I took part in a workshop at Creative Glass all about screen printing on glass. It was something I’d wanted to learn how to do for a while. I absolutely loved the workshop there but didn’t have all the equipment to do it at home without some serious investment so with my art teachers hat on I thought I’d have a go at other forms of print making using the glass enamels.

I experimented, had good and bad outcomes and settled on Lino as a good material for printing with, which has lead towards my Printing on Glass workshops.

Today we were focusing on creating a printed image that can ultimately be hung on a wall. Lorraine’s pattern piece will be over printed in other colours after the 1st firing and Drea’s is just perfect on its own.


Woven glass bowl workshop

Weaving with glass looks seemingly impossible but with a few little lessons and tricks of the trade it’s not too difficult to achieve.
This morning I had a workshop teaching how to make a woven glass bowl like these.



Ann chose the most gorgeous, locate colour way with her design and I can’t wait to see how this fuses. We discussed the effect she wanted so its going to have a tack fuse to retain as much texture as possible and to make it look as close to the blue bowl I use as my sample piece.

This kiln is on every day at the moment as I’ve had so many workshops going on….tomorrow is Printing on Glass and Monday is all about Powders and Frits.

Seasonal Glass

It feels a little bit odd to be doing this at the height of summer, in the middle of a heat wave, but needs must…..I’ve been making Christmas decorations! Yep you read right!

This year I have signed up to do a 4 day Christmas market and with opening hours of 10am -8pm I will need to take a lot of stock with me. I am therefore starting early and getting ahead on making some fused glass decorations. If I can make a few each week between now and the end of November there shouldn’t be a last minute rush in making enough stock. I have a glass order coming tomorrow full of red, green and white glass and then I’ll be onto making my 3D decorations too.



Maasai Giraffe Necklace




Now that the giraffe was painted I could move onto making the glass for the beaded necklace, which was going to be a key feature of the giraffe design. I had no idea how many pieces of glass I was going to need to make and couldn’t attach them as I went along as I was also painting 3 coats of varnish onto the giraffe at the same time.Image

I therefore spent hours and hours cutting up small pieces of glass in the hope that I’d make enough. I even tried laying them out on a template in the kitchen to see how far they would go. Despite this I seriously underestimated just how much I needed!


On my 2nd weekend with the giraffe I began attaching the pieces I’d made. Gradually the design began to take shape but I could tell that if I didn’t go slightly overboard with the glass I’d be in danger of it looking a bit half hearted so I was back to making more pieces. This time I made a LOT of pieces. There was no way I was going to run out this time… fact if I did I’d be running very short on time to finish the giraffe so it was all or nothing time.


After several days of battling with the glue that was too sticky …..I say too sticky, it was what I needed so the glass couldn’t be pulled off, or fall off in the rain! but it was still a pain as it stuck to everything and was so thick it didn’t want to come out of the tube!!!……this is what I created….


…..and then it hit me….the glass was all finished and that mean the giraffe was finished. 

I’d expected to be all excited and over the moon that it was all done but I think I was too tired for that. It was a very strange feeling to have. Maybe the other giraffe artist felt the same, who knows but the anti-climax feeling didn’t last for long and just a couple of days later I was all bubbly and excited again as I delivered a completed giraffe to Colchester Zoo.


Finishing the Painting Stage

Sunday morning started with finishing the draping fabric. 2nd layers of red were needed, as were stripes for definition and creases to help it look more realistic. By the time Di arrived I had pretty much managed to achieve this 🙂 so we were ready for the next step.


After a quick cuppa Di also had a paintbrush in her hand and was put to work adding layer 2 of the cream body colour. Di is a few inches taller than me but even she couldn’t see the top of the giraffe from the ladder so out came the digital camera. Photos helped us to see the bits we had missed around the ears/horns. Very handy.



The only bit left to do now was the mask and thankfully due to the scorching weather the paint dried really quickly so I could add the 2nd layers pretty much as soon as the 1st was done, which definitely helped to speed things up.


And so the giraffe was all painted …..



…..and we could go out for tea and cake to celebrate…well it was Di’s birthday so it’d be rude not to 😉 (fab friend for helping me out too)


Stand Tall Giraffes

Stand Tall

Elephants on the streets of London, Swans in Wells and Gromit dogs coming soon to Bristol. These are all examples of similar projects to Stand Tall, the amazing Colchester giraffe trail that I have been lucky enough to be a part of this summer.

giraffe design

Back in December I submitted my design for a Massai Warrior giraffe to Colchester Zoo and then kept my fingers crossed it would be picked. Unfortunately, I had a call from the zoo saying it hadn’t been chosen but…..there was still hope. They wanted to hang onto my design as they liked it and were looking for more sponsors, so again I kept my fingers crossed and at the start of May I was in luck. Imaginative Traveller, a tour company based in Suffolk, had chosen my design and as there was just 1 more giraffe left would I be able to make the final giraffe? Yes yes yes of course I could 🙂 by the end of May? “Yes I’ll do it”….and then I got an email asking me to aim for 24th May “eeekkkk!!!” That was just 15 days away.



I was a woman on a mission from then on……



1st Weekend with the Giraffe

girafffe painting in progress

girafffe painting in progress

It’s Thursday lunchtime and a plain white giraffe arrives at my house, from Brighton, on the back of a small trailer…the driver mentioned he’d had a few strange looks on the motorway!!! Well you couldn’t miss it could you? 🙂

By the time I get back from school the wind is creating havoc with the electricity and I keep having power cuts which doesn’t make it very easy to find out what primer/sealers I need from the email the zoo have sent that day. That calls for a little creative thinking and a phone call to my brother-in-law to access my email and read it to me on my mobile. Nothing like a challenge to get this done eh!

Thursday evening is my 1st trip out to B&Q for the primer en route to my choir rehearsal….we are learning new music so there’s no way I can miss going….but it does mean I needed to prime the giraffe when I got home at 10.30pm!!!! Ok, not a problem, I can do that….or so I thought until I was up a ladder with a paintbrush when we get yet another power cut. So what do I do? …get out the torch and finish painting the base coat by torchlight? yes, why not.

Friday morning involves base coat number 2, a trip to B&Q for coloured paints, Hobbycraft for acrylic and brushes, back home to draw out the design and paint the cream body, out to the glass shop to buy the glass for the necklace and back home again to paint the brown patches…..just a little bit hectic but it saved me sitting around waiting for paint to dry.


It didn’t take long to realise that the paint was going to need 2 coats to cover the base the way I wanted. You can see in the photo above just how different the brown patches look when they have 2 coats as opposed to 1. The colour is much more intense and doesn’t look patchy. I was determined to get 2 coats of brown done before going to bed but by 11pm I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and gave in to sleep.

Saturday morning I was determined to get the brown patches finished before a trip out to the dentist and thankfully managed just that. The afternoon was then my chance to move onto the red fabric. I knew that I had to get the creases correct or it just wouldn’t look realistic so I laid a stripey cloth over the giraffe, photographed it and then drew onto the giraffe from the photo. It worked a treat.


I set myself a target to get the stripes all done before bed on Saturday but again I had to give in ….after working on it for 5hrs straight I suddenly realised just how long I’d worked without a break, sat down for dinner and that was it. When I tried to pick up my brush I knew I was in danger of ruining it so cleared away and went to sleep, thankful that I was getting a little help from my friend Di the following day.