12 Jul 2010

Hestia does Stained Glass

I have returned from the GSA and must warn you that five days swanning around the Mackintosh building with REAL arty students has quite turned my head and I've gone absurdly boho....

Significant numbers:

5 - people in my class including me. Jean, the minister's wife who was making two stained glass panels for her husband's church - kept us in tea, scones and pancakes.  I loved her.  Geraldine and Eleanor - Aunt and Niece - both very arty and lovely company. Eleanor is going to Art School in London in the autumn.  She was gorgeous and talented.  Ian, our token bloke,  a Summer School veteran who rattled through his panel and even managed to get a go at slumping glass.  I was too slow to have a go at that *sigh*

66 - the bus that I caught every morning and afternoon that rattled down Great Western Road for the princely sum of £1.45.  I loved that bus.  I waited longer to cross the road than I waited for the 66!

3 - Great news - the tiny number of elastoplasts that our class required over the whole five days. Bad news - they were all for me.

2 - numbers of panels that I made.  Firstly a little test thing about 4" x 4" and secondly my Big Thingy - a panel for Sonshine.  And that Alphonse Mucha panel above is NOT it, ok?

6 - number of techniques used in the panel for Sonshine - fusing, etching, enamelling, painting, praying, swearing

2 - nights out with friends. The lovely Lisa Marie came all the way from Dundee to meet me.  We were both very relieved to find out that we were both completely normal and not psychotic plasterers from Motherwell with a body bag in the car and a shallow grave already dug in Strathclyde Park.  We went to a Japanese restaurant on Sauchiehall Street which was EXCELLENT.    On the Thursday night I went out with my lovely Veterinarian friend who is getting married in October.  We went to a Spanish Tapas bar on Renfield Street called La Tasca which not only sold good-sized tapas portions, but had the most honest and handsome waiter (whom, of course, I had already imagined spending the rest of my life with before he had plonked down my first glass of sangria - it's not just me who does that, is it?  Is it?)

20 - the number of quid I mistakenly overpaid the bill by in La Tasca.  The waiter returned to our table and asked us whether we meant to leave a £20 tip.  A quick glance into my wallet confirmed that I'd handed over 2 x £20 and not 2 x £10 as I had meant to.  What a dolt - and what an honest chap.

6.30 - the time that my downstairs neighbour seemed to get up at every morning.

2 - texts to Sonshine to tell him I wuved him

1 - length of time, in minutes (rounded up to nearest minute), he spent on the phone talking to me when I phoned to see how he was.

5 - number of signature silver bangles jangling up my left arm along with a substantial statement ring - a la Renee Perle.

1 - number of days I wore the bangles before I got fed up with them clattering off my carefully cut glass pieces.

100 - percentage of me hooked on carrying on with the stained glass stuff.

500 - the number of pounds I will need to spend on buying the basic tools and some lovely glass.

The tutor, Eilidh was lovely - in that slightly absent, stressed way you'd imagine an art tutor to be.  She could fix EVERYONE'S problems - even my impossible curving of the lead channel.  And she had the patience of a saint, bless her!  I intend to return for the 20 week (one day per week) course that starts in the autumn.

It was totally absorbing work.  I arrived at 9.30am and didn't venture outside until home time - sometimes that was as later as 6pm. 

Y'know there's a lot been written in the press about how women are unhappy with their lives, especially once they reach A Certain Age. I think one way to combat that boredom and unhappiness is to push yourself  to do things that tax your skills and push your envelope.  Hence the burlesque, the stained glass class etc.  I believe that if you keep surprising yourself with new challenges, your life cannot possibly be boring.

Give it a go and see for yourself!

Oh - and here's my effort ;-)  Note - fused glass for the sun.  Enamel for the sun's rays, etched glass for the wind buffeting the kite.  Painting (and possibly a small amount of my life's blood) in the kite tails.  Available for commissions, weddings, bar mitzvahs and cremations ;-)


  1. Aren't we fortunate to both be normal?! The jam is scrumptious!

    DIs you do the windy bits in your sky with acid etching? And if so, were you terrified?

  2. LM - good news about the jam. Your fudge wasn't so much scoffed as inhaled ;-)

    The etching was not acid etching, but sand-blasting. What a messy to-do THAT is! The blue glass had to be completely masked and the swirls of wind picked out and exposed.

    It all had to be blasted before it was put together, so one just had to hope that the lead wouldn't be too intrusive into the design.

    I think it gives a bit of movement to the piece.

    Ali x

  3. Dear Ali, sounds like you had a great time. I think it's absolutely brilliant and inspiring that you go off and do these things.

    I would be cross if I was woken up at 6.30am every morning but I'm so glad you enjoyed it. You must carry on with it now you've invested in all the stuff.

    Your stained glass looks great. Well done you! Loved the boho bit and the Renee Perle bangles! xx

  4. Christina - it was great fun, and quite taxing mentally. You've got to keep concentrating or else mistakes are made....and profanity then ensues!

    I meant to take a picture of my arm with all the bangles and the big ring. I have too many thick cuff-style bangles to work the RP look. It needs slender bands that tinkle attractively...not heavy cuffs that could smash plates ;-)

    The early start was ok - the neighbour was trying to be quiet, but for someone who struggles to make out dialogue on the TV, I get spooked by noises really easily!

    Ali x

  5. Sounds like an absolutely fab week and doing something I'd love to try :) Totally agree with you about stretching yourself to avoid boredom. I decided that my brain was stagnating (some years ago, pre-children) so I did and OU degree - maths, physics, cosmology and astronomy - brilliant stuff and definitely got my brain working again :D

  6. Ali -

    I loved your description of your week, and your work! What a good decision you made to honor the artist within!

    Reading this over, I see the writer within too! You have such a droll way of looking at things, and such an edgy sense of humor - please don't leave the writing behind! ;-)


  7. Ania - God but you're BRIGHT! Physics?! Cosmology?! Can I just tell you that you are too late to become Mrs Prof Brian Cox...besides, there's a queue and I'm in it and I'm armed with broken glass ;-)

    Bonnie - that's a really sweet thing to say *whispers* your cheque's in the post.....

  8. He's all yours to fight over - I wouldn't be interested if he begged :) Now, Johnny Depp.... :P

  9. Hi Ali,

    Definitely agree about continuing to do fun things that stretch you - there's studies around that say it's also good for avoiding Alzheimers (much) later!

    Your stained glass looked gorgeous! I'm very impressed. I'm about as artistic as a newt, but still give it a go now and then :-)

  10. Hi Ali, fabulous post, sounds like you had a wonderful time, thought you would. Just watched a program about Rennie Mackintosh...wow.
    Yes get some thin silver bangles, that jingle playfully, work that RP look girl!
    Completely agree with you about new challenges, it's amazing how capable and talented we are.
    Love your stained glass, bet it was really difficult.

  11. Chloe - since it's all about pushing one's self - I really think that you should get signed up to some art course and give it a bash - you'll love the meditative qualities that are needed!

    Dash - thank you! I'm just about to edit the blog so that there's a link through to yours and your posting about Rene so that people can be as bewitched by her as I have become!

    I do believe that if we can just keep proving to ourselves that we ARE successful - in lots of small ways - growing/arranging beautiful flowers, tasty food, nice photos, the ability to tap dance or even juggle - we can lock the negative dialogue that besets us (well, certainly besets me lol!) into a darkened cupboard and throw away the key!

    ali x


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