Monday, 9 November 2015

ticking stained glass off my bucket list

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

Last week was my birthday and my present from my lovely husband was a two day stained glass/leadlighting course. I have wanted to try my hand at this for years but never had the time or the opportunity. Both of these came together unexpectedly and off I went in trepidation to see if my complete lack of crafting ability extended to this too.

I had no idea what a complex process it was, I thought you cut our some glass shapes and glued them together with some lead strips.......boy was I in for a surprise! It is a long and involved and fiddly art form and I was worried that I wouldn't have the skills necessary to turn out a decent product. But life has a funny way of preparing us for things - I used to be a dental therapist/hygienist in a previous life and I have really good dexterity and attention to detail. This turned out to be the perfect skill set for the meticulous cutting and piecing together that you need to do.

The guy that taught me has been teaching for a very long time and has been working with stained glass since he was 16, so he certainly knew what he was doing. He let me choose my glass colours (which made me a very happy camper) and then we were off and running with the cutting and snapping and "nibbling" of glass to fit the shapes to the template. After a couple of hours or so I had achieved the result below (plus several nicks and cuts from all the glass edges that catch you unawares.)

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

The next couple of hours (after a bit of lunch and conversation) progressed me to the next stage - which was joining it all together with the lead (and making sure I washed my hands REALLY well afterwards so I didn't end up with lead poisoning!) There was a lot of nailing to hold it all together while the lead got cut to size and slotted into place and then it was time to go home and get ready for the home run the next day.

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

It's funny how being complimented on your work and being told that you are doing really well can make all the difference to how you view something. I went from trepidation on the first day to really looking forward to getting stuck into it and finishing the panel. I learned to solder on day 2 because all the lead joints are soldered together to hold it all in place (I am now an expert on tallow flux and tin + lead solder). After all the soldering there is a cement mix to squish into all the margins to hold it all firmly and then it gets a good buffing and the finished product is ready to take home.

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

I think it will make a nice alternative to a Christmas wreath on our glass paned front door this year. I'm so inspired by my efforts that next year I'm going to tackle a really big project and do some glass panels for our staircase - stay tuned for that midway through next year - I can't wait!


26 comments:

  1. What a lovely idea. I too have a bucket list, but it mostly involves travel, you've actually given me the idea to add things like this, to the list. My brother in law has done a good bit of stained glass work, and it's always been something I've thought would be a good idea, so now you've inspired me to add it to my list!

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    1. I'm glad Claudia - I have travel on my list too (leadlighting was a little more affordable than a trip to the Greek Isles at this stage of my life!) It was nice to do something completely new and to find out I enjoyed it so much.

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  2. I LOVE leaded glass! don't know if I have the courage to try it - my background is with horses and tossing bales of hay - not much dexterity required! If you're looking for balance, though . . .

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    1. I was surprised at how well I did Diane - I think because it's like doing jigsaws - having an eye for how things fit together and not minding it being a bit fiddly. If you ever get the chance you should have a go (it's probably similar to writing a novel!)

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  3. WOW! Look at you Leanne! That's some amazing art what you've created. Congratulations! And see Leanne, all we have to do is dare:) And marvellous things will happen.
    xx Abby

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    1. I'm really looking forward to tackling something bigger and my own design next - hopefully it will be a success too - thanks for the pat on the back Abby :) x

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  4. I love this idea Leanne! What a lovely gift idea. I had a friend whose husband did this so I've always been fascinated by stained glass windows and such. It would be so fun to watch it created. I've always wanted to learn how to blow glass. I think it's fascinating. I can't wait to see your next project!

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    1. I love anything with glass - my mum says she has a friend that does stuff with glass in a kiln - melting it into bowls and platters etc - that sounds really interesting too (and I love blown glass!)

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  5. I love stained glass. We have a local craft centre where we can buy stained glass items, but nowhere that teaches it, so I am rather jealous of you. Your piece is beautiful and I hope you share any fur5er pieces you make xx #anythinggoes

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    1. thanks so much Tracey - I have been the same - never finding anywhere nearby where I could learn and now that I have the chance I want to do another project before he disappears into the distant horizon!

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  6. That is an really awesome project, it turned out great!

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    1. thanks Kim - I was really happy with it :)

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  7. It's beautiful! My father used to make stained glass, and I was always amazed by the process. You did an amazing job - how fun!

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    1. does your dad still have all his gear to do it Lana? It might be something to distract you next year when those boys of yours are off during college term :)

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  8. Wow, how wonderful! Stained glass is something I've always wanted to try as well, but like you would never have realized how much work would be involved in the process. Thank you for the enlightenment, LOL! This is truly a lovely piece.

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    1. thanks Laurel - being arty like you are would take it to a whole new level. I hope you find somewhere to do it one day because I'd love to see what you produce :)

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    1. thanks Bonnie - it was a good start!

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  10. Good job! So glad you did this. That's something I wanted to do...and may yet do. I love your list. Best wishes.

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    1. it's just getting the time right to do it and find out if it's your "thing" or not - I was really pleased that it was mine!

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  11. Love it! I've wanted to try that too! #abitofeverything

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    1. have a go if you get the chance - I loved that you don't have to be "arty" because it's more about dexterity and attention to detail.

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  12. I loved watching people make stained glass when I was a kid, but I've never done it. This sounds like loads of fun. #abitofeverything

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    1. it's challenging but fun at the same time and you see results fairly quickly which is nice :)

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  13. Wow, it's beautiful! There must be a lot of steady hands and attention to detail! It will definitely make a nice alternative...it's absolutely stunning...Very jealous as I have very clumsy hands and poor fine motor skills. So I rather watch people like you make such beautiful things. Hope to see you again at #abitofeverything

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    1. you do need to be a fiddly person to do it - looks like that is a strength I can lay claim too :)

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