1 November 2008

Online Art Gallery.

'Tree of Life' by Helena Marrion, my mother. Egg Tempera A4.

Mum had worked in oils until one day we were at the National Gallery admiring the paintings of saints, cucumbers and angels by the Florentine artist Carlo Crivelli. We remarked on the exquisite colours and looking on the label saw they were painted with tempera, a medium where pigment is mixed with egg yolk. We got some tempera paints from Cornelius and she painted this. The tree is the magnolia from her garden in Telford and each bud contains a baby.

This will take you to her picasa album.

19 October 2008

Camefix wins Double Gold Award at BIS

I was surprised and delighted to win the double gold award, at the BIS British Invention Show October 2008. I won the prize because the plastic came product camefix is practical and innovative. It’s the best thing I won since I won 20 bottles of real ale in a CAMRA raffle.
My favourite invention was the batik tool. Traditionally Batik (wax resist painting to decorate cloth) is done by dipping the tool with a wax-reservoir into a pot of melted hot wax. The invention was that a soldering iron handle had been fitted to the reservoir so the wax is always hot, so the spout won’t get blocked by solid, cooled wax, and also reduces dripping. So clever!
My favourite mad inventor was Steve who invented Loominate, a led torch on a rope. He has invented lots of stuff but never gets rich because he invests it all in his next invention.
The most useful invention was by an Iranian lady who thought that eye ulcers are caused by a virus (because it’s been found out that stomach ulcers are) and has invented a cure for them.
No cures for war famine pestilence or death though.
Inventions are to cure perceived ills, not actual ills. The slash-proof hoodie for example addresses our fear that our kids will be stabbed; 21 youths have been killed by stabbing or shooting this year but road traffic crashes account for about 3500 deaths each year in the UK, with ten times as many people seriously injured. Each day, two people under the age of 24 commit suicide. Common causes cited include bullying, abuse, poverty, homelessness, and alcohol abuse. I can’t right now think of an invention to cure those things.
http://www.bullyonline.org/stress/suicide.htm http://jrsm.rsmjournals.com/cgi/content/full/99/8/402
I am following the progress of the sea-water greenhouse (not seen at the BSI) which provides a low-cost solution to one of the world's greatest needs – fresh water. It may offer sustainable solution to the problem of providing water for agriculture in arid, coastal regions. The evaporation of seawater cools and humidifies the air that ventilates the greenhouse using sunlight to distil fresh water from seawater. It seems to me a devastatingly good idea, and I am sorry that they are not being built in great numbers but I suppose they are relatively costly (in that not building them at all costs nothing), and who will pay?
I was also impressed by the solar tower at Seville (James May’s TV programme). It is surrounded by mirrors that shine the sun onto it to collect solar energy.

5 October 2008

British Invention Show October 15-18 2008

I am very pleased to be a member of GWIIN (Global Women's Inventor's and Innovator's Network) http://www.gwiin.com/about.html.
Camefix will be exhibiting in the GWIIN pavilion at The British Invention Show at Alexandra Palace in London, October 15-18 2008. http://www.britishinventionshow.com/show/index_f.html

Entry costs Adult: £10 Child (16 or under) £5 Child under 11: Free with paying adult.
Weds 15th 4pm-7pm. Thurs 16th + Fri 17th 10am-7pm . Sat 18th 10am-5pm

12 September 2008

Window Quilts.

I prefer window quilts to curtains. These are a top and a bottom section, made of mattress quilting facing out, and on the inside, washable cotton. They use less fabric than cutains to provide the same level of insulation. They are washable. When not in use they are taken down and rolled up. They can easily be re-hung; small metal hooks are screwed into the wood of the window frame and each quilt has 2 loops at the top made of bike inner tube which slip over the hoops. The windows are an awkward shape to make curtains for as they have a brass opening device that sticks out into the room but I made the quilt to fit round it. As the quilt fits so snugly against the window glass no condensation forms so there's no problem with water running down the wall. There are two toy, sand-filled lizards on the top of the window frame.

27 June 2008

Buy sell art

Why should people buy and own art?
Art is a powerful form of expression for artists as well as for those who own it. Art allows people to convey or demonstrate deeply held feelings and beliefs as well as moral, ethical, and political sentiments in socially acceptable ways.
Art encourages people to ask questions, to take brief moments out of their busy lives to reflect on ideas other than how to make more money faster or how to get over on the competition.
Art makes people think about ways how life might one day be better than it is now.
Art can stimulate the expression and interchange of thoughts, feelings, and ideas among total strangers who would not ordinarily talk to each other.
Children are fascinated with art. Art makes children ask questions. Art makes children fantasize and imagine. Art teaches children how to be creative and have fun with life.
Art beautifies and personalizes environments. Art can transform private homes or places of business into personal museums.
Art can be used as a tool of power-- to intimidate. For example, imagine an office with a bold, vibrant, oversized painting hanging on the wall directly behind the desk, and two imposing larger-than-life sculptures, one at either side of the desk. Anyone who sits and meets with the person seated behind the desk must contend not only with that person, but also with the art.
An original work of art is not only visually appealing, but it also communicates the personality, abilities, creativity, inspiration, mind, and sometimes the genius of the artist who created it.
An original work of art reflects and often enhances the personality of the individual who owns it.
Art attracts tourism, visitors, and money. People travel to the great cities of the world to see great museums, works of art, and, of course, they spend money while doing so.
People decide what locations to spend time (and money) at based on the types and amounts of art they expect to encounter. For example, commercial spaces such as restaurants, hotels, and meeting places can be more or less interesting and attractive to consumers depending on the art they display (or lack of it).
Art is environmentally friendly, energy efficient (assuming it's not by Nam June Paik et al.), and easy to maintain. It does not increase global warming, use fossil fuels, or need regular tune-ups.
Across the country and around the world, artists move into troubled or blighted neighborhoods and revitalize them with their artistry. Property values increase, new businesses move in, and the overall quality of life improves immeasurably. Sooner or later, the public discovers what wonderful places these neighborhoods have become. In some cases, people travel thousands of miles to visit them, vacation there, and buy art.
Art makes people proud to live, work, and play where they do. They point to their museums, public monuments, and cultural institutions with pride. As you can see, owning fine art has numerous benefits. (Thanks Alan Bamberger)
http://www.glimpseonline.com/categoryRender.asp?retid=&categoryID=3634 will take you to my glimpse shop.
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25 June 2008

Portraits drawn on glass

Now I have improved my glass-cutting skills I can make these. I put the glass on top of a photo and using enamel and pabeo traced the features onto the glass. Then I cut the image of the person out and, like a jigsaw puzzle, cut green/gold glass to go either side to fill in the frame.
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6 June 2008

A touch of Glass.


Suncatcher 13.5 x13.5 cm.
This is an ideal shape from the view of the designer. It is complex enough to be interesting and its complexity is due to cutting the glass into shapes. Each of the 5 bits of glass in the centre is held in place by the square surrounding came so the corners don't need milliput or tape or came on their curved edges. I will be making more of these.
The more little bits of coloured glass the better: came is not so nice to look at and takes time to fix in place. Milliput although excellent in its holding power needs to be mixed, rolled, put in place, left to set for hours and then any smears cleaned off.
The rainbow effect is made by dichroric polyester film which also shows in the projection.

Don't worry - Writing on glass

Suncatcher 13.5 x 13.5 cm.
The glass is fixed with milliput. This text is written with enamel but I have similar success with housepaint and pabeo products. They all stick well as long as the glass is cleaned first: apple vinegar is more effective for this than detergent. If the glass is painted on and put in the oven gas 1 for 5 minutes and allowed to cool it stays on even better; but by stays on even better I mean it was immersed in water outside in winter for months so that really is testing to destruction. My tests were: 1.don't clean the glass then paint, 2.clean the glass then paint, 3.clean the glass, paint then bake. 1, came off overnight, 2. lasted months 3. lasted 2 years then was discarded-it plainly was there for good.
The crystal is held in with embroidery silk fixed onto the glass with the adhesive tape I use to fix the glass into the came. This tape shows as a black line so I prefer the effect of tying the crystal onto the glass directly which I have used before.

5 June 2008

Complex patterns in stained glass

Two suncatchers, both 13.5 cm x 13.5 cm. Both have complex patterns.
The one with the blue border has a central green area held with milliput (epoxy resin). This was inspired by the work of Gaudi the architect, who used broken pottery to cover large areas. Both required a great deal of work to achieve such detail. Tiffany-style lamps are sold locally and the bits of glass are held together using epoxy resin. To be offered for sale at the prices they are, the artisan who makes them must be paid very little. I need to get a level of complexity without too much work.

4 June 2008

Glass Jewels

Suncatcher (13.5 x 13.5 cm). The central orange glass 'jewel' is fixed with milliput, in a roll at least 4mm thick. I want the effect of lots of colours so I am aiming to use as little as is practical of any material to make the frame. The two side panels have little bits of glass only held at the edges. This effect I really like. The glass looks like boiled sweets. It is a little naff, which appeals to me. The jewels are also nice and I need to find a way of fixing them- they are too fat to fit into the came. Holding them with milliput works but it means they are surrounded with a dark outline.
The 'jewel' althogh it looks lovely in the suncatcher, adds nothing to the projection.

5 May 2008

Double glazed unit has steamed up

It has rained a lot here. Both these sealed units have failed because damp air has got into them and water has condensed on the cold glass inside the unit.
The TOP image shows a double-glazed unit which is irreparable. I will have to smash out the glass and replace it, beacuse I cannot remove the water any other way. Not job I am looking forward to.
The BOTTOM image shows a secondary glazed sealed unit. It uses bentonite clay (sourced from cat litter) as a desiccant. A few days later the clay had absorbed the damp and that panel was fine again. If that had not happened, I could have opened the container of desiccant and replaced it; a much easier job then replacing the glass. That is why I prefer secondary glazing to double-glazing: it is more robust, and therefore less wasteful.
Too often the heritage energy in construction materials is wasted. When a building is demolished and the materials used to construct it are reused the energy used to originally make them has not been lost, but if they go into landfill then the energy is lost.
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Stained glass with lead oxide

This glass is held in a lead framework (aka leaded light). You can see how the lead has oxidised into lead oxide, a white powder which isn't nice to look at. Cleaning them is tricky, and a specilaist job. Water used to wash them will hold lead oxide so it would be poisonous, so must be disposed of carefully. Camefix is made of plastic, will not oxidise; and if the camefix stained glass panel is inside a sealed unit, both outer surfaces can be cleaned easily with your favourite cleaning product.

1 May 2008

Stained glass being made.

Here's my studio table with the panel being made. You can see the dichroric film I'm edging the panel with (rainbow coloured, on right) my Over Head Projector pens to write on the glass, the rule made of a slat from a window blind for guiding my glass cutter, and my glass cutter kept in a little jar of oil so the blade stays sharp. Between the two stars is a swarovski crystal.
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Stumbled upon and google bookmark

This lets viewers of a blog bookmark to any of its posts. When they go to iGoogle they can see a list of all the posts they've bookmarked. Saves them scrolling down all the posts. http://www.addthis.com/ . You have to sign up but it's free . It doesn't put adverts on your site.

I've been reading blogs by other artists. It seems the blog is a popular format because it can be changed, added to and generally messed around at will, like a painting. I found a social networking tool called stumbled upon. It's free-you log sites you like and look at sites added by others to the shared log. http://www.stumbleupon.com/ You need one of their
buttons and there is a new text bar. www.stumbleupon.com/buttons.php?pgtype=blog

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Islamic tessalation

I saw this star design on an arab carpet in a palace in Majorca. It belongs to the King of Spain.
I am intrigued by islamic tessalated designs. I chose to use this design because it can be cut in glass easily as it has straight edges which are not concave.
I used Microsoft Office Publisher to draw the template. MOP allows me to constantly revise the design. If I had drawn it with a pencil I would have done a lot of rubbing out and it would have been hard to see which lines were to be used and which were erased. Lots of erasing makes the paper thin and wrinkled. However, MOP divided the image into pages which were printed separately and had to be assembled. I had to allow 3mm between each piece of glass to allow for the came so there was a lot of drawing and measuring to be done.
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27 March 2008

Feng shui

Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophy which asks us to bring positive Chi Energy into our rooms through sunlight. Lightscapes and suncatchers change the quality of light entering a room so possibly add to its Chi energy. I have no idea whether there is empirical evidence that this is so but owning a suncatcher with a crystal in is not illegal, immoral, and it won't make you fat. If you like looking at patches of coloured light then the chances are that doing it will make you feel happy.
Here you can see how the octagonal swarovski crystal casts 8 little rainbows behind it.
To quote Joni Mitchell, who I much admire:
Woke up, it was a chelsea morning, and the first thing that I saw
Was the sun through yellow curtains, and a rainbow on the wall
Blue, red, green and gold to welcome you, crimson crystal beads to beckon. Won't you stay, we'll put on a day, there's a sun show every second.

25 March 2008


Here are two images of a suncatcher I made for Charley. On the left it is against a sheet; on the right against the view from the window. It has a octagonal swarovski crystal so it makes rainbows for her when the sun shines through it.

When I first started making stained glass panels I used prisms and bevels which refract the sunlight into rainbows. I saw the prisms made much better rainbows than the bevels. The bevels are glass and the prisms are acrylic or glass. So why are the bevels less effective than the prisms at splitting white light?

I discovered Strass/ Swarovski® Crystals (Swore-off-ski). They are made of glass with lead in, aka crystal. These flawless crystals are clearer than air or water. They refract well and make excellent rainbows; they are small and relatively cheap. The bevels are made of ordinary glass, not crystal, so refract less well.

19 February 2008

How to make Stained glass.

I work in London. I don't make Lightscapes for far-away places as the shipping cost is horrible. So, if you live outside the UK, sorry, you can't buy a lightscape. But, this is how you make a sort-of lightscape by yourself.

Chose your window. This method won't work for a site where there will be lots of condensation, like a bathroom or kitchen. It will be fine for a window on a staircase, or in a front door.

You will need:
an outside sheet of clear glass (I expect the window already has that)
Decorative glass to go against it
an inside sheet of clear glass to seal the decorative glass in, and hold it in position.

Plan your design. Keep It Simple; the more little bits you have the more work you make for yourself. Get paper the same size as the window. Draw your design on it. Leave 1-2mm space between each proposed panel of of glass. This is your template. Take it to your favourite glass shop and buy the fancy glass. The shop can cut it to shape. Squares and rectangles are easiest to cut, and with less waste, so are probably cheaper especially if the shop charges £1 a cut.

The existing window pane will soon be inside the lightscape and this is your last chance to clean it. Your panel of decorative glass, that you're going to make, will go hard up against it.

To make the panel up you need Milliput, a 2-part resin www.milliput.co.uk/home.htm sold by DIY shops. So, starting from the bottom edge, build up the decorative panel by placing the bits of glass in position. As you go, fill the gaps between the panels with milliput rolled into 'worms'. The idea is not to stick the glass panels onto the existing window glass, but to prop them against it; the panels will be joined with milliput. When you finish, and the milliput has set, clean off smears of milliput from the glass; this surface too will be inside the imitation-lightscape and you won't have access to it. Fix a 2nd sheet of clear glass, big enough to fill the whole window space, in front of the imitation lightscape, hard against the middle panel. This makes a sort of lightscape but without the clear spaces between the panels; instead, each panel of glass has a thin black outline of Milliput, attractive in its own way.

What about condensation forming inside the unit? If it's SMALL (30cm sq) as for a front door, then work on a dry day; run your de-humidifier, seal the edges of the inside facing glass onto the frame of the door making an airtight seal using either black or clear mastic sealant from a DIY shop. This will be a small unit with not much air in, so hope that not much moisture is in there, and there will be no condensation.

If it is a BIG unit, allow the flow of air by making the inside sheet perspex not glass (because perspex does not have sharp edges, and it's possible that because the edges of the inside sheet of glass are exposed -to allow the flow of air- people aka kids can touch them and cut themselves) and slightly smaller than the window by about 5mm all around; hold it in place for instance with small bits of wooden beading , or small nails, allowing space where there is no beading so there is an air gap. Condensation may form , but the free flow of air will remove it.

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I don't mend Stained Glass.

Sorry. It's a specialist job. Lead and Light in Camden North London http://www.leadandlight.co.uk/ DO mend leaded lights. It's expensive though. A lovely new camefix panel will be cheaper!
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10 February 2008

Stained Glass Colours

A light tattoo or projection, onto my shoulder. Magenta appears round the star but there's no magenta in the glass panel. I have noticed new colours appearing with projections from other camefix panels. I suppose the panel is not exactly flat, or the shards of glass are of different thickness, so maybe blue and red light arrive together on the same area, and mix. I used green 'Water glass' which has a texture that makes it look like rippled water, and light reflected through it looks like it's been relected off water.
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