Books by Glenda Young

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Making glass coasters by the coast

To the National Glass Centre on the banks of the Wear in Sunderland for a glass coaster making class.  Now then, I'm a writer, I'm a blogger. I get creative with words, it's what I do; it's who I am.  What I'm not is an artist so bear with me when you see some of the pictures below. If some of my artwork looks a bit rough and ready, that's because it is  While I can weave words with ease, I haven't got the slightest bit of artist within.  I don't do design, I can't create in that way, I ain't arty. And so that's why I was like a kid with a new toy taking part in this glass class because it was way out of my comfort zone.

The photos below are all mine, taken on the day with permission from the tutor.   Here we go with the tools of the trade needed to get started - cutting, tracing, preparing, slicing.

We started by designing stencils to work with. To help prepare in advance, I'd already found some stencils online that I liked and printed out to take along.  I loved this Mackintosh-esque tile but didn't know how easy it would be for a complete beginner like me to transfer to glass. 


We started off by outlining the bits of the stencil to cut out with knives...


... which sounds easy unless you're not used to cutting shapes with knives - the pressure from the cutting knife made my finger bleed - but fortunately we had plasters! 

Spurred on by cutting out one stencil, I thought I'd give another one a go and went for a more intricate butterfly stencil. The idea was that we would make four coasters.  We could create four different designs, four the same or two of each.

Here's a butterfly stencil I'd found online and had printed off to take along to the class.  I'm pleased I found the stencils in advance because it meant I could start cutting and preparing straight away and had an idea of what I was aiming to achieve.


And here's my work area with my two stencils cut out ready for the next step.


And now the fun begins.  These jars contain the coloured powder we used to add colour to the stencil.   Wearing face-maks and using tiny sieves, we put a layer of white powder all over the base of a glass square, which had already been cut into the right size for us by the tutor.

Putting the coloured powder on was tricky, it took a lot of patience and a very steady hand - neither of which I have!  What I did have was another plaster on my finger after catchng my skin on a corner of the glass. Oh dear.

Anyway, we sieved coloured powder onto the glass through holes in the stencil we'd cut out.   Then we put another little bit of glass on top of our work 'sandwiching' the coloured powder between two small plates of glass.
 
Here are the four coasters I made, all lined up in the kiln.  I used the Mackintosh-esque stencil three times with different colours around the red rose in the centre, and used the butterfly stencil just once.



The coasters were left at the National Glass Centre to be fired in the kiln and we collected them a couple of days later - and here are my coasters in all their glory. 

I'm very tempted to return for another glass coaster making class as I now know some of the techniques, I'll be better prepared and use the skills I learned in that first session to make something that looks even better. 

Ok, so my first attempt at glass coasters... well, they aren't perfect but they're mine! And for a first attempt at doing anything like this, I'm over the moon with my work. 
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I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

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