I'm just back from another week-long stained glass course at West Dean college. I had such a good experience last time, and felt I had a few more ideas I wanted to experiment with more, so went back for a second week with the same tutor.
The panel above is the one I'd drawn out in advance, though colour choices are always something that have to wait and see what glass is available. It uses the iron oxides which are heat fired on top the glass to give a permanent design, plus a few bits of plain glass coloured with glass enamel, and silver stain (making this proper stained glass rather than leaded glass!).
This is the second panel I made using leftover pieces, and some painted plain glass. The college has a sandblaster available to use, which is very helpful to make clear silhouettes like these birds using a masked out shape to remove the oxides and silver stain. The rest of the assembly was very similar to making a quilt, with lots of pieces cut to a set width and then shuffled around to find a pleasing colour arrangement!
On my way home I called in at Packwood House, which happened to have a fabulous collection of stained and painted glass in the windows of nearly every room. I particularly love the mixed-up reassembled pieces, the original design has been completely lost, but the glass itself was too precious to simply discard.
The gardens at West Dean were looking stunning, and it was so interesting to see the structure after my visit in the lushness of summer. The chalk stream was flowing again, rather than being a muddy ditch, and the spring bulbs were putting on a real show.
Speaking of gardens, this summer we're opening our garden as part of The National Garden Scheme. This is by appointment only, and the Hilltop Cloud studio will unfortunately not be open due to insurance limitations, but our 3/4 of acre will be open to explore, along with a chance to discover how we transformed it from a wilderness.