For The Love of Glass!

Posted by Una Galbraith on

I have wanted to write monthly blogs since before my business launched (October 2020), so I’m really excited to be finally doing this! Now the business has been up and running for a few months I feel ready to take on the challenge. I’d really like to be able to get to know you all better and for you to get to know me too.  

First thing you should know is that I love all things bright, colourful and textured! I’ve had an obsession with glass for as long as I can remember, and I feel so lucky that I get to work with it all the time now in my home studio. I’ve always dreamt of being self-employed and making glass jewellery, art and ornaments, but I honestly didn’t think it would happen for a long while yet.  

For my first blog I want to share why I love glass and what it’s like to work with! For me, it all begins with a pen and paper, where I’ll sketch and doodle away ideas I have for different shapes and textures in glass. I imagine how the light will play with the textures throughout the day before going on to choose colours. A lot of the colours and combinations I use are inspired by nature, from bright colourful bird feathers, to flowers, to beautiful vibrant sunsets.

I imagine where people will display the glass and that influences whether I’m likely to use more transparent glasses or more opaque ones to make sure the final piece looks its best. The final pieces have such a range of personality looking anything from playful, graceful, joyful to peaceful or striking depending on the final shape, colour and texture.

 

Pictured left to right: playful colours set in bold shapes, joyful glass dish with waves and iridescent glass, and a striking vase with white exterior and green to blue interior.

When I put the cut components in the kiln for the first time, I never know exactly how they’re going to turn out once they’ve been fired. Sometimes I take things out of the kiln and don’t recognise them at first because they look so different to what I’d expected! Even when the pieces are all cut the same and have the same colours, they can all turn out so differently from each other. It can be strange, but I wouldn’t change the magic of it, it’s a delight and surprise to see how things have turned out! 

Left Picture: Beginnings of a glass bowl before any kiln firing, Right Picture: After several kiln firings.

Working with a kiln is a lesson in anticipation, it takes round 24 hours to heat and cool before it can be opened. In a time where almost everything is instant, it is certainly teaching me patience! In the beginning it was frustrating, but now I enjoy taking the time to imagine how everything will look and feel once the firing is done. Sometimes I am so excited that I wake up several hours earlier than I mean to, eager to see how things have turned out. And picking up the still-warm glass is as comforting as handling a fresh stack of paper straight out the printer or biting into fresh home baking that’s still probably a wee bit too warm, but you just can’t wait a moment longer!

 

exterior view of my kiln
picture of kiln from outside, with keyhole open and red light visible from inside of kiln
Picture looking through the keyhole of a kiln showing glass inside and red hot light.

 

 

Pictured left to right: Kilncare kiln on stand, from exterior showing spy hole and warm glow of interior of kiln with glass inside.

Every stage of working with glass is very tactile and is so satisfying! I remember watching an episode of Kirsty’s Handmade Christmas and her hating the sound of glass being cut by one of the competitors. I couldn’t believe she didn’t like it! To me it sounds like frost on a clear winter morning. Clean and crisp and so satisfying! Glassmaking is also a feast for the eyes! There are seemingly infinite varieties of colours, hues, shades and textures of glass. So before even starting a piece, it can be overwhelming having to choose, like being in a sweet-shop and just looking on in wide-eyed wonder! Or was it just me that did that?!

 

Pictured Above: different textures and colours of glass to get different results.

If it’s not obvious yet, I love everything about making glass, in any shape, size or form! I’m incredibly humbled that other people love my glass enough to buy from me, and it means so much when people send pictures of their glass in its new home!

If you’ve bought glass from me and want to send me a picture or write me a review then please do, I’m thrilled to get messages and pictures from you all!

Look out for next month’s blog where I will be sharing my Valentine’s collection with you as well as a love poem to my kiln! Make sure to sign up to my newsletter to make sure you don’t miss the next blog. Can’t wait that long? Check out my latest work here.

Or, if you’re looking for an early Valentine’s gift, then a jewellery set, like the earrings and necklace I'm wearing below, is definitely a winner!

 

Una wearing one of the earrings and necklace sets mentioned in the text above.
Now proudly selling handmade glass art on Artisanry Co.

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