Glass Cutting

Firstly, I wish you a belated Happy New Year.

I have emerged from my workshop at the end of the garden blinking into the light. My hair standing on end like some mad scientist, my working apron caked in glass dust, I have finally finished cutting glass for no less than five pieces. I normally concentrate on one thing at a time, but having drawn and planned an exhibition piece for Open Studios, I was inspired to make some smaller pieces on the same theme. And as I was cutting for one, I thought I might as well do the lot.

For anyone new to glass cutting, it can be frustrating. The idea is to score the glass with a cutter and encourage it to break cleanly. Sounds easy, doesn’t it!  However, glass can be a fickle thing, and to break successfully requires applying the right amount of pressure and getting the right tone of scratchy sound as the cutter runs along. Each glass has its own characteristics, some colours make for a ‘softer’ glass which is easier to cut than others, transparent is softer than opaque and plain easier than textured. More complex shapes need multiple cuts and annoyingly breaks can include jagged edges that need grinding or ‘grozing’, nibbling off with pliers, hence the mad scientist hairdo.

After so much glass cutting, the workshop resembles a bombsite, with glass fragments sparkling on the floor and workbench, and tools everywhere. Piles of glass adorn the shelves, waiting to be tidied away, and my poor grinder is caked in a mush of glass dust and water and needs some serious attention. The less creative aspect of my art beckons – the tidying up. I have never been a tidy sort of person, and I confess to finding housekeeping of any sort irksome. For many years a paperweight has sat on my desk bearing the motto ‘a creative mess is better than idle tidiness’. I rest my case.

So, I made my way back to the house, to find my faithful hound, muzzle on paw, looking most neglected, and my mobile phone battery flat as a pancake. I tuned into the news on the telly, but not for long because no news is good news, and looked out of the window at the dull, dreary winter’s day and the drab greens that dominate a winter garden.

Cuppa in hand, I paused and took a really good look around to find that first appearances can be deceptive; winter can actually be quite stunning. Take in the last of the golden leaves clinging on tenaciously, branches tinged with purple, and the lush green of mosses. There are still plenty of signs of life, birds flitting from tree to tree or rooting around on the ground, the occasional insect on a mild day and hopeful snowdrops pushing upwards full of the promise of things to come. Look up too, for stunning sunsets and enjoy icy stars sparkling in the deep, dark night sky.

This brings me on to painting the moon. Using traditional black glass paint, I am currently facing the dilemma of how to not make it look like a scary pearly white Halloween lantern or something out of a Tim Burton film. This will require some thought.

Oh yes, the Open Studios website is now live, and I made the deadline by a day! If you would like to take a look the address is www.open-studios.org.uk.

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