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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!