Wednesday, 20 January 2021


I am working my way back into working with glass, and decided to start with "glass casting" - that is, creating big chunks of glass out of crushed glass and decorative elements.  The way it works is that I fill a mould with crushed glass, choosing my colours and decorative elements in order to create a sculptural piece, which has great depth once fired in the kiln.  I began with glass hearts, Valentine's day in mind.  The resulting pieces have gorgeous colours and clear depths, and are pleasing to hold, they are the size of the palm of my hand, and feel comforting and smooth to hold.  Surprisingly nice, in fact.  One of my happy customers said she loved staring into the one she bought, she said it was like "looking into new worlds in the depths".

Here are a few of them:

The bottom one is really quite deep, about 2cm and it is like looking into the depths of a flowing stream.   

 I decided to add words to some of them:

I now have a large stock of these hearts, ready to go to new homes.  They are inexpensive, because I am using them to celebrate my return to glass after a long absence!

Then, I decided to be bold and CUT some glass...something I have avoided because of shaky hands....but I was very careful.  And this is the result, a lovely screen-printed candle screen, which glows at night with a candle behind it.

It is now in my Etsy shop.  click here 

and here it is, at night, with a candle behind - how nice is this.

(Quite a few of the hearts are there too.  But I have more, so if you would like one, just ask for photos of the colour you like.)

I hope you will not mind too much that I have shown these new pieces, but it is a milestone for me in my recovery from stroke, to be back to creative pursuits.  So I am celebrating just a little!


Wednesday, 11 November 2020


Well, the answer is yes, snow is white, we all know that....but creating an image with snow, whether in paint, or enamels or glass, means catching the nuances of colour which are created by the prevailing weather conditions.  And boy, are there lots of nuances!  I will just say this, for the sake of brevity:   warm light = cool shadows.  This is an important little sentence to remember, always.  And the other side of the coin, is that cool light, such as an overcast day, can still provide subtle shadows, but the colour will be quite different.  You need to observe carefully, and try to use the information in your work.  I will provide here some examples, in various media, just to demonstrate, as we are visual artists, so I will work with visual images:


Here we have a bright, eye-hurting day, when the sky is a wonderful turquoise blue, the sunlight is warm(ish), the contrasts are strong.  The white snow is in fact a riot of colour:  warm cream where the sun hits, and cool blues in the shadows.

Here are two detail pictures, which may give you more information:

notice how the sunlight hits the trees on the right of their trunks, outlining just a little, and there it "warms" the trunk colour too.

In this next scene (also GLASS), the sky has a very pink hue, as in a sunset, and the distant snow is reflecting some of that pink.   There is no direct sunlight, so no long shadows and the foreground snow remains whiter, with touches of cream, pink and small areas of blue, for variety. 

Here is a detail picture, to show the variety in the colour in the snow.  I used layering, with frit and powders and some stringers for the thin trunks.

ENAMEL ON COPPER.  This little square is a bank of snow, against a dark tangly woodland background.  No direct sunlight, just the impression of turquoise depths in the snow with hints of a lavendar-grey, to link visually with the background. 

Here is one of my PASTEL PAINTINGS,  I still enjoy it, and in particular, the beautiful colours in the shadows.  See how the top edges of the snow clumps are creamy white, from the sun, but there are so many subtle blues and lavendars in the shadowy areas.

Although snow and ice may be white, try to find these beautiful colours to use. They will add so much atmosphere - black, white and grey can look very cold and sterile.  Blues, purples, pinks, apricots - they can all be found in snow scenes.  Particularly when the sun shines.  The sunshine will PAINT the snow with cream, gold  pink and orange - depending on the time of day.........and the shadows will be blues and lavendars and purples.   Your work will come to life if you don't just think " ah, it's snow, snow is white".

For my tutorials, some practical, some more informational to support your work, please visit, and go to the tutorials pages.

Saturday, 26 September 2020



My body has decided, over the last few months, to give me a hard time.  My balance is really poor, and I have been trekking to and from an oxygen chamber (supposed to help people who have had strokes), and I have been busy not doing enough vestibular therapy exercises, because I hate exercising and my brain rebels and I find myself inexorably drawn outside to the studio instead of indoors to exercise.

Working with my enamels, which involves balancing a blazing red hot bowl on a metal trivet and carrying it gingerly to and from a workbench, while it wobbles precariously, is out of the question.  I would inevitably drop the darn thing, and set light to my clothes , myself AND the studio.  Working with heavy glass is a problem too..just bending to get the glass out of the storage unit and up onto the table to be cut is difficult and exhausts me. I suppose I could have stuck with tiny bits of jewellery but it still involves cutting glass and I have very unsteady hands and it makes me nervous.

One day, while surfing the internet.  I noticed a beautiful DANDELION HEAD ENCASED IN RESIN, as a paperweight.  I knew I had a couple of packs of resin left over from experimenting a few years back, so out it came, and I began a little new creative journey into the world of resin. My husband could not understand why I insisted he stop the car so that I could collect dandelions. He noticed me eyeing front gardens, looking sideways at flowers....and was bemused when I would come back from a lone walk with pockets or plastic bags full of flower heads, he was convinced I would get arrested (mostly they were wild flowers!   Mostly.  I do admit to stealing a big white daisy from someone's garden one day, it had a broken stem and had fallen over so I figured it was dying.....) 

Here are a few of the pieces I have made so far - I enjoy working with the resin, even tho it is horribly sticky... it is safe for me right now.  No kiln, no heat, no sharp knives or glass edges.  And actually, it is fun to make things that I cannot make easily with glass in a kiln, so it is not just a new challenge, it satisfies a creative muscle.  

When adversity strikes, instead of allowing it to spoil your life, or make you feel bereft and miserable, why not try to recreate your life in a different way?  It might even be fun!!!  Here are a few pieces just to show what I have been doing.

1.  Thinking of Lalique

2.  A little love - we all need love

3. Botanical paperweights - real flowers and petals

4. Finally .... A pendant full of wishes! One of my favourite pieces. It took me ages to get it out of its mould, but it was worth the effort...I shall wear it, and wish for better health to be able to pursue my creative loves.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Q: "I work with glass, so why do I need to know how to draw?"

As I have been trained as an artist, I do know a bit about drawing, and how to represent our 3 dimensional world in a two dimensional manner - ie on a flat surface.    So to me, the answer to this question is obvious.  But it is NOT at all obvious to some people, and I have found that when I raise the subject with certain glass artists, the responses are often very defensive......lots of them think they do not need to bother with drawing skills if they work in other media.   I get responses like these..... "There is no such thing as bad art, there is just MY art, my choice, and if I like it, that is good enough".     " I don't like being bound by rules, I prefer to just go with the flow".


The problems begin when one day, that person decides to reproduce a landscape, for instance, in glass,  or any other medium other than paint or pencil. They often/usually take out a photo, and copy it.  BUT they have little or no understanding about how to create an image in two dimensions on a flat surface .....they have none of the useful rules and tricks that painters use.  Sometimes they are happy with their results ...often, they are not but do not know why.

Well....Photos often "tell lies", because the camera is not as helpful as one might imagine, it causes distortions in perspective and space, it can flatten areas, it can alter colours and tones because it cannot read both the light areas of a scene and the dark areas, at the same time, with the accuracy of the human eye.

LOOK AT THESE TWO PICS.  SAME SCENE!  you cannot tell from the top picture that these are silver birch trees.  but hey ....they are!!!!!   You can see how lovely and slender the two semi-foreground trees actually are, while in the darker pic it is hard to see their shapes properly, and if you were to use that image, you might well produce thick and unattractive trunks on the left.   And look how much texture in the foreground is hidden in shadow...the human eye would see it, the camera could not.  Well, to be was there but had to be revealed by manipulating the photo.  Your eye does not need to be manipulated in this way.  Finally, notice how the distant shrubs appear to be just as dark as the tree trunks, which, if created just as dark as the photo, the sense of distance would be impacted adversely. 

So - does this matter, the fact that the camera is not so discerning as the human eye?

I believe so because

*An artist will adjust many of these problems by picking and choosing from a variety of tools and lessons he or she will have learned.

 * An artist will leave out unnecessary items in a landscape - an ugly telegraph pole, for instance, or a black area of shadow because a) he can and b) because the pole/shadow does not help him to achieve the best result - it is not just inessential, it actually detracts from the scene.

*An artist will adjust the composition to improve the piece, to make it stronger and to achieve a better result than that offered by the photo.  Or even, sometimes, in real life.

A non-artist will often, for example, create a scene with half sky, and half land..."because it balances".  Well, actually, this is not the balances badly!  The viewer does not know what is important, the land or the sky.  The viewer's eye jumps from one to the other.  Not ideal.

This last comment is just one example of many.  So the answer to "why do I need to know how to draw" is because it gives you the chance not just to be creative, but to be creative in the most effective way.  It gives you opportunities to CHOOSE strategies for how you want your image to look and how you want others to feel when they look at it. And it strengthens the end result  Win win.

For the glass artist, who wants to reproduce landscapes in glass, I believe it is really important to learn something about drawing, and the "rules" of composition which have served painters so well for aeons.   It is why I wrote "Creating Depth and Dynamic Design in a glass landscape", and sell this e-tutorial for just a few dollars.  Have a look at my website tutorials pages:  WEBSITE TUTORIALS    (if link does not work, visit and go to the tutorials page.  Keep scrolling down to find all the various tutorials!)

Monday, 4 May 2020


I wonder how many of you have seen the beautiful work of Dale Chihuly, and in particular his amazing installations last year at Kew Gardens?  I was particularly taken by his waterlily flowers, which were not really waterlillies at all...waterlillies have LOADS of petals, but he had blown the glass into simple abstract shapes, and fixed them to stalks and put lots of them into the pond hovering over the waterlily pads,  They were stunningly gorgeous to me.

I do not blow glass, and could never hope to produce anything so breathtaking, but I decided just to try a few pieces to go in or around my pond which has a big waterlily in it.  These are some of the results of my experiments, which are on-going.  It is really lovely to find inspiration from other great artists, without producing copies - copying demonstrates very little in the way of creativity.  There is always an ongoing debate on the Facebook glass forums, with some glass artists often becoming very upset when they feel someone has directly copied them, and others producing tutorials which actively encourage direct copying.  I often draw INSPIRATION from other artists, as artists have done always, but I do try to create pieces that show my own "voice" in the making.

Here are my "flowers", which are not really flowers at all, there are no petals....but they do brighten up the garden! I aimed for delicate, semi-transparent, and organic.     I may try next with petals.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020


When I have time (and am well enough - my health is a struggle right now) I read glassy posts on FB and even respond occasionally.

I saw someone say this, to a glass/landscape painter, and it prompted an idea.  She said, while admiring a lake scene on glass "I wish I could see inside your brain as you work".

Well, the artist in question APPEARS to work very intuitively....she sees a lovely floaty background, and hey presto,a little while later it is a lake scene with fir trees, clouds, lake, etc.

It would be easy to think that this artist just simply "knows" how to paint this kind of image, was born that way and it just "comes" to her in a burst of inspiration.

Often, tho, what looks so quick and easy is nothing of the kind.

It is the result of EXPERIENCE, of that artist having looked hard, and having practiced and practiced.  Tried and tried again.  Having collected reams of information in a variety of ways....collecting photos, doing sketches, from life and from photos.  Filling himself or herself with knowledge and information........ and experience.

When I was a student, I was encouraged (and I am encouraging you) to keep SCRAPBOOKS of inspirational imagery.  Images cut out of magazines;  sketches and scribbles, little painted, or charcoal, or coloured pencil pieces I had done and liked;  photos I had taken.  

I recommend, if you want to create landscape images, that you start a SELECTION OF SCRAPBOOKS of this kind.  Sea images;  sky images;  tree images;  distant hills images;  foreground images.......each scrapbook will become a hugely important resource that you can use whenever you want to produce a landscape scene.  

Alternatively,  GO BUY A LOAD OF BOX FILES.  Then, keep your collected images in those box box file for each genre.   You will be starting a "library" of your own, resources you can use whenever you need them.  THEY will fill you with information and inspiration. IT DOES NOT DROP FROM THE SKY INTO YOUR HEAD.............................

Come and find me on Facebook!  just type in my name..............

website for images, tutorials and more:

Thursday, 5 September 2019


Some years ago I visited Alaska, and during a walk on a glacier, I marvelled at the particular the "caves" in the ice, with deep, dark turquoise centres, shading out to beautiful icy greens where the light was able to penetrate the ice.  It was quite magical, and has stayed in my memory vividly.

Then, some years ago also, I discovered a glass artist working with a technique called Verre Eglomise...gilding on the surface of the glass.  I had done a little gilding, on picture frames, but working on glass was something new to me.  I would have liked to attend one of her workshops, but she was in the USA, too far for me to travel .  So I had to teach myself how to gild onto glass.  I made a number of mistakes along the way, but gradually learned what to do, and what not to do.  

Then, I found a glass blog showing how to smash and then fuse TEMPERED GLASS.  Tempered glass is specially toughened, for use with car windscreens, shower doors etc.   When it is shattered, it shatters into tiny squares of glass like this:

Finally, these individual bits of learning came together in my mind and I had some ideas about how to create my vision in glass.   I made several of these wonderful bowls which were snapped up by eager buyers. This latest one is about 30cm wide, and I may sell it eventually, if I can bring myself to part with it and if someone will pay for its fairly substantial price-tag of £100 for which I make no apologies as it is very labour-intensive to make.  In the meantime,  I have produced a tutorial on how to do this, which I am selling from my website. I have all ready sold quite a few of these tutorials, to people from various corners of the world, so I just might keep the bowl for myself.................. 

If you are a glass artist and want to make one of these, just CLICK THIS LINK to visit my tutorials pages, and scroll down to find the  ALASKAN INSPIRATION BOWL

Sunday, 11 August 2019


Some time ago, I produced several images of autumn thickets...tangled woodland scenes.  I sold quite a few, but this one stuck with me, and I had to admit to myself that it lacked punch.

I have been studying it for quite some time now, and suddenly I thought I might know what to do with it.   Here it is:

Now, it is not that difficult to change a painting...depending on the material you have used, you can overpaint, scrub out, and generally adjust without a huge amount of difficulty.

But when you have created a piece of GLASS, fused solidly in a kiln, your choices are far more limited.  And it is difficult, often, to know how glass will react in the kiln, so it is a good idea to test out your ideas before committing to them on an expensive piece of glass.

One way to do this, is using the wonders of modern technology...the computer.  

Firstly, I went "on line" and collected a series of images that I enjoyed looking at.  Tangly woodland scenes, some with autumn colouring.  I also looked for images of leaf and fern shapes.  I collected a few together, and popped them onto a single sheet to study.  Here is my collection:

When using photos from the internet, it is best not to copy directly in case of copyright issues.  So, I use photos like these for INSPIRATION rather then for any other reason.  I get ideas about colour shape, form, placement of objects, etc.

Then, I put my original thicket image into Photoshop.  I guess, if you do not have such a programme or have no idea how to use it even if you do, you could resort to using, say, gouache or acrylic paint on a paper print-out - but although I am not a graphic designer, I do know a little about using Photoshop, and am able to use SOME of its simpler features.

I decided that the image bottom left appealed to me the most and could be the most inspirational in terms of my glass piece.  So I began to use the "brush" tool in photoshop, to add some silver birch trunks and branches into the image, together with some of those wonderful bright larger leaves, just a hint of them.  I suffer with a hand-shake syndrome, so using the mouse for linear work is not easy for me, but never mind, I feel it adds interest to have a few wobbly marks!    The greatest tool is the "edit" button...if I did not like a mark, I simply went back a step, and hey presto, it was gone.

Here is my finished Photoshopped piece. original piece certainly has some punch now!!!  My intention is to do this with the glass.  How? is a question I am sure my fellow glassy artists are asking.  Well...I plan to experiment.    I could use glass paints/glass enamels.  I could use carefully-cut strips of white opaque glass, perhaps pre-firing them having added some paint and/or powder for shadows..I could use wafers perhaps, and since I have never worked with wafers I thought I would try this -  to make some ferns, leaves, and perhaps even tree trunks to add to the piece instead of paint.   I like to experiment and try out new ideas, so this is an opportunity.

Please visit my website for a list of tutorials:    Go to the tutorials pages and scroll down.  There is a free Colour tutorial at the beginning, then there are full descriptions of lots of different tutorials, some art instruction, some specific pieces. 

Monday, 8 July 2019


An email from a tutorial buyer has prompted this post.

She said she planned to "use some outlines on the glass in order to create depth".

It is really important to realise that in a pictorial scene, LINES will always attract attention, and often pull things forwards. In a sense, they CAN help to give the impression of more depth as a result, by drawing attention to the foreground for instance, but lines need to be used judiciously. For example, if you place a line up against a tree which is further back in the scene, it will bring it forwards. Same applies if you put an outline edge on a distant hill. It will suddenly stop looking distant! to know quite what to do? Do it wrong on your glass piece and your heart will sink when you open the kiln.

My recommendation would be to take a photo of your glass piece just before you plan to use any lines. Print off the image. Maybe even print off several copies. Then, draw the lines onto the print, to try out their placement. Hold up the picture, ideally from a little distance, and see how it is working visually.

If you are computer savvy, you can also draw lines in a programme like photoshop, so you can produce an image, put it into Photoshop on your computer, and then play with the line work, adding and subtracting the lines very easily by using the "edit/undo" feature. In this way, by testing away from the glass, you will gain more information and more confidence about adding lines or outlines, for emphasis/drama/depth/fun or any other reason.

A few examples to demonstrate the point. In the impressionistic image I created, the "bluebell wood" at the top of this post, I use some gold linear work, carefully, just to give a sense of life and light to the scene, placing the lines to one side of tree trunks, as if they were catching touches of sunlight. This had the effect of bringing attention, and light, to just a few of the trunks and branches. The gold lines pulled forwards in the scene.

Alice Benvie Gebhardt uses line work extensively in her glass pieces. This one below demonstrates how an image can benefit from a few thoughtfully placed lines. We fully understand the slope of the land because of the lines used to describe it. Then, the lines on the trees not only provide a little definition, and hint at bark texture, they also bring those trees visually "forwards" in the scene and they echo the linear work on the ground, so that the trees, and the ground are visually connected...all singing from the same song sheet! Echoes work really well, pictorially. (bonus learning here).

In this next image, see how she has used a silver or white line on those dark right hand trees.  Imagine it without the line...the dark trunks would melt into the foliage around them.  And notice that she has not used the lighter lines on any of the distant trees, because I believe she knew this would be a mistake, as it would bring them forward and I am sure she wanted them to sit back in the scene.

ps how to draw lines on glass?  Use an enamel "pen", or a Kemper Pen with enamel lustres, or a fine paintbrush with enamel, or any other clever idea for putting something liquid onto the surface.

Finally, let's look at what happens when I ADD lines to an image in Photoshop.  The photo is untouched, then I added black linear work to a tree in the MIDDLE DISTANCE, but actually, it has the effect of drawing the attention straight to that tree.  It certainly does not help to push it back in space, that is for sure.   I hope you can see this.


By all means add lines, add outlines, have fun with lines...but be conscious of what you are doing before you commit to the lines in glass!!!!

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

product photography

The advice normally given when photographing items for sale is to keep backgrounds completely plain, particularly if you are planning to put the items into an internet marketplace.

I tried this............and was very bored with the pictures.  Take a look at the ones which have the garden included.  Somehow, for these cast glass objects, having a "natural" background, to my eye, suited them MUCH better.   I have put these items into my ETSY shop, which you can visit if you would like to.  I am slowly stocking it with small items which are easy to send out by post.

click here if interested:

Here is a butterfly, photographed in a photobooth. 

Here is the same butterfly, photographed with some natural surroundings.  Much nicer!

Same goes for these dragonflies:

now look..............

So, I am breaking the rules.  But I so prefer these pictures.  I hope they may encourage people to buy these lovely pieces.  I make these gorgeous fused glass dragonflies from crushed glass, which is heated for many hours in a kiln to transform the glass into this beautiful object - the process is called "glass casting".    Tiny flakes of dichroic glass in the translucent wings, give added sparkle, especially in sunshine.  Underneath the body of the dragonfly is a fairly long length of copper wire, which you can use to suspend the dragonfly from the edge of a vase, from a branch of a tree, from the side of a flowerpot...or inside your home, you can wrap it around a plant stake so that it seems to be hovering in amongst a super big indoor plant.  If you want to position it firmly on, say, a large rock to put on your garden table, you can curl up the wire, and glue it to the rock, it makes a fabulous table centrepiece which will be much admired.  Glass will not deteriorate out of doors, I have one on my garden table, and it suffered the storms last week with no ill effects.

The dragonfly totem carries the wisdom of transformation and adaptability in life. the dragonfly is connected to the symbolism of change and light. When the dragonfly shows up in your life, it may remind you to bring a bit more lightness and joy into your life.  Dragonflies start to grow in water and then move into the air and fly. When this spirit animal shows up in your life you may be called to transform and evolve. Symbol of metamorphosis and transformation, it inspires those who have it as a totem to bring about the changes needed in their lives in order to go to reach their full potential.  Butterflies have similar symbolic meaning.  I have really enjoyed creating these lovely pieces.

Friday, 7 June 2019


If, like me, you have decided that craft markets are not for you, there is always the option of joining an OPEN STUDIO organisation (I am part of Harrow Open Studios this year) or organising one of your own, inviting friends, neighbours, family, and anyone else you can attract!

It is no easy task;  it will involve finding a suitable space...I am lucky enough to have a large kitchen/diner which opens out onto my garden, for a variety of tables, on my patio I was able to erect a borrowed EZup for rain protection over another table, and I have my studio right by the house where I put out a few more pieces and work in progress.   In case of severe wind and rain, I purchased a "fitted" tablecloth from Amazon, so no corners to blow around, and I have placed "outdoor" items on the table which are safe from the elements.

I could have relied upon the Harrow Open Studio organisation to provide me with visitors, but I have found that despite all their hard work on the publicity side of things, numbers are not great, so I also do my own publicity ...I put posters around the area, in carparks and on trees where I know dog walkers abound;  I print flyers and distribute them widely.  I use social media...local area groups, and I placed an advertisement for my Open Studio in a local magazine, having written an article for them too, so I actually had a whole page. 

I will provide cold drinks, and nibbles, to encourage people to stay and wander;  I am doing dances to the rain gods in the hope they will keep the rainclouds away for a week. 

It has been hard work, preparing the setup which involves a certain amount of shifting of furniture;   creating price labels and sheets of information for visitors to read, and laying out all my pieces.  My back has complained mightily ... my back and I do not have a good relationship, I am firmly convinced I have someone else's back instead of the one I was supposed to have.  It could, of course, be something to do with my age, she said, slightly bitterly......

Anyway, here are a few pics of my 2019 Open Studios.  Previous Open Studios have been successful, lots of visitors and sales  (sometimes too many all at once; make sure you have a payment and packing set up well organised or a plan to pack and deliver later).

Hubby's pond outside the studio...can you spot the duck?