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Working with the ENO Baylis Youth Programme

Over the past couple of months I have been working alongside the ENO Baylis Youth Company to share my design process during this glass commission. They’ve also shared with me what the ENO means to them and they’ve given me a lot of valuable, first hand information that has helped in the development of the final design for this commission.

More information about the Youth Programme here.

During one of our creative zoom sessions we had a ‘mark making to music’ activity. We played some short snippets of music from Opera’s significant to the ENO and drew any shapes, patterns, symbols and marks that we thought interpreted the music into a visual design. We overplayed colours to represent different instruments or voices that we could hear.

Below are some examples of everyone’s work from the session.

I found the variety of marks, patterns and drawing styles so inspiring and will be using these initial mark making drawings over the next couple of weeks to develop a final design for the final glass piece.

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Painting with Glass Enamels – glass embroidery project

My glass circles have been cut, etched and polished so far. The next stage of my process is to paint them. I start with a layer of glass paint to add shadow and depth which is fired before starting with the enamels.

The enamels I use are Degussa. I bought a sample set from Pearson’s Glass and used them for test firings before selecting the colours I liked best and ordering full sized versions.

I like to apply the enamels the same way I paint my watercolours. I make a very wet mix and let them flow across the glass. I can them pull certain sections back or start to control them by matting or stippling with a badger brush. It takes a lot of painting and then wiping everything off and trying again before I have everything where I want it and things blended properly.

Below are some of the circles after they’ve been fired and cleaned. Necpxt I want to make my own glass embellishments and bind them into the circles to add texture.

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ENO Site Visit

In August I visited to London, along with Valerie Seager, Dan Goode and Anne Boddington from the Richard Seager awards team. We visited the London Coliseum, home of the English National Opera for a site visit and for me to see the location that my commission was going to be in.

The building was amazing, built in 1904 and designed by architect Frank Matcham. I was able to go backstage and see how everything worked and also had a tour of the building. Everything was stunning, the intricate mosaic tiled floors, the ornate statues, stained glass windows in the all of the doors!

A spot for my commission has been selected and I’ve been able to see the space for myself and how best to design for it. I want to take into consideration the light that it gets during the day as well as potentially lighting it artificially for the evenings. I also need to take into consideration access and safety, I want people to be able to see the artwork but I don’t want it to get in the way of corridors or stairways. There’s a lot of things to think about but I’m so excited to get stuck into some research and designs!

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English National Opera Commission

I’m so excited to say that I’ve been awarded the opportunity to create a commission for the English National Opera based in the London Coliseum! The commission is through the Richard Seager Annual Arts and Crafts award that I won back in May. The awards team have been deciding on an organisation deserving of a new piece of art and thought that the ENO would be perfect.

More information on the ENO press release here.

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Sandblasting – glass embroidery project

As we are still in lockdown I’ve had a sandblasting cabinet installed in the garage so that I can carry on with my glass embroidery circles.

I’ve been busy adding resists to my glass. I’ve used a combination of fablon which I’ve cut to block out sections of the glass as well as a wood glue and water mix.

The glass I’ve used is flash. This means that the body of the glass is one colour and there is a thin layer of a different colour on the top. Mine are both clear bodied with a thin layer of pink and blue.

When I sandblast them the top layer of coloured glass will be etched off leaving the clear glass beneath showing but where the resist has been applied the coloured top layer of glass will remain.

Below are images of what the glass looks like once the glass has been cleaned and the resists washed off.

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Glass Cutting – glass embroidery project

My glass sheets have finally arrived!

I’ve got a sheet of blue and a sheet of gold pink, both lamberts flash. I’ve cut them into different sized circles, the most nerve wracking glass cutting I’ve don’t so far. The blue sheet was really varied in thickness so trying to get a clean break was quite difficult. With a lot of emergency phone calls to a few glass friends I managed to cut 19 circles altogether with only one break…success!

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Richard Seager Arts and Crafts Award

I’ve won an award!!!

Before lockdown I submitted a design to a brief set by the Richard Seager Annual Arts and Crafts award. I managed to get through to the final stages of the process where I had to prepare a presentation and talk to a panel of judges about my design.

I created a presentation to present through zoom as well as glass samples and a scale model. It all went really well and the judges asked a lot of interesting questions about the design and technicalities of making the piece.

Luckily a few days later I found out that I’d won the award as well as a commission!

Unfortunately, the commission venue was forced to pull out as a result of funding due to Coronavirus but the awards team have been amazing and are currently looking at other potential locations that I could create a different commission for.

Here is more information from the awards website – https://www.artscraftanddesignaward.co.uk/2020-comission/

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Glass Embroidery- painting

I’ve been working a lot on my embroidery pieces for my glass project and thought it would help to have another stage of design before trying to translate them into glass.

I’ve been doing some paintings based on my initial textured embroidery pieces, mainly picking out blocks of colour or sections of texture.

I plan to use both of these initial design stages to create final glass pieces. I want them to be layered with etching, painting and embellishment to create heavily textured, colourful final pieces.

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Lockdown Project – Glass Embroidery

As the country has gone into lockdown because of the Corona virus, I thought now would be a great time to start on a project I’ve been wanting to explore for a while.

I wanted to go back to the work I created for my third year of university and see how else I could combine textiles and glass into a project. As I don’t have access to a workshop for the foreseeable future I’ve had plenty of time to work on some embroidery designs from home.

I’ve taken inspiration from textures in nature, mainly looking at algae, lichen and any kind of colourful natural patterns I could find on wood, sand, rocks or even corroded metal.

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Work experience

In August I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go and work in Holywell Glass, a stained glass and conservation studio in Somerset. I worked there for two months after graduating and absolutely loved it!

I worked on restoring stained glass windows, repainting broken panels and removing and refitting some windows too. I was able to work on Medieval glass inside some stunning churches, cathedrals and theatres.