Let me introduce myself. My name is Julia Kellaway, I am a glass artist living and working in Burghfield Common. This is my blog and it is for anyone who has ever wondered what artists do all day. Or at least this is my version of it in the run up to Newbury and North Hants Open Studios next May.
If you’ve heard my Paul Presents interview, you may recall that I have had several setbacks over the last few years which have seriously dented my output. So when my invitation to sign up for next year’s Open Studios arrived in my inbox, I thought ‘yes!’ and I duly registered. Then the panic set in.
Let me explain. I love stained glass, and find it an engrossing medium to work in, almost-all-consuming, and certainly time-consuming. Firstly, there is the question of what? When I work on a commission, I have some information to go on, but what about creating something from scratch? I can be inspired by almost anything, however small, from sun through raindrops to frosty spider webs, but will it be enough to create something worthwhile? Cue a cup of tea.
When I finally have my idea, I develop it through sketches, go down to my workshop and stare at bits of glass for a while, perhaps with another cuppa or two. Then I must turn my fledgling idea into a plan that works with glass. It isn’t as easy as it might at first seem, because the spaces in between the objects must be viable. As I mentioned to Paul, there is no way to cut an ”L’ shape in glass, or at least not one that I know of.
Plan made, details to be painted added, working-/drawing made, I am ready to begin. That is assuming that I have all the materials I need. In these lockdown/socially distanced times, I can still source glass online, but it really is no substitute for going into the shop or warehouse and behaving like a child in a sweetshop. I have an annoying tendency to pick up a piece of glass with no idea what to do with it and buy it anyway just because I like it. Then several years later it is still sat on the shelf, accusing me of ignoring it.
Anyway, then comes more tea, followed by glass cutting and grinding (not while drinking tea), possibly more tea, painting and firing, tea, leading or foiling, tea, soldering, and finally, applying patina and polishing, possibly interrupted by another cuppa. In fact, I’m considering changing my name to Tea-fuelled Glass Art! Seriously though, this doesn’t happen in one day. Even a small project can take the best part of a week to produce once the drawings have been completed.
Back to Open Studios. I have a page in a web directory to complete – it goes live in January, and so far, a month or so in, I haven’t given it a second thought. That is about to change. I will also be submitting a piece of work for the Insight 2021 exhibition which will be at The Base in Greenham during May next year.
I intend to write every few weeks, so please join me to find out how I’m getting on.