Sunday, 15 February 2015

Making Plans

At the end of each year, when I have finished my last event, I always tell myself that I will have plenty of time to make new glass during January and February and even take some time to develop new ideas and test out new materials. It has never happened and this year is no exception.

I have applied for three open call exhibitions and have been busy making new glass for each (I am only allowed to submit the glass shown on the application images) and I also have a show at Harlow Carr at the end of March.  In May I will be at Saltaire Arts Trail for three days and I will need plenty of glass for that too.  So the kiln has been on nearly every day and I have been cutting, grinding and cleaning as much glass as I can.

As a small business I always find January/February difficult months for cashflow - not much flows in but plenty flows out to pay for stall fees and submission fees.  I try to spread the cost of glass by making my significant purchases when Warm Glass has sales and offers. I took advantage of their 12 Days of Christmas offer in December to buy all my teaching glass and my staple glass - large sheets of clear, white and vanilla.  I only started planning to buy glass a couple of years ago when I created a Cashflow Forecast and monitored my spend from 2012.  Money spent on glass was chaotic and impulsive (and frequent)! so I have reined in my outgoings by setting a budget for each expense. This means I have cut down on buying magazines and books and keeping a record of my mileage. 

If, like me, you are a small business and struggle with balancing the books, I recommend setting up a Cashflow Forecast in Excel. Financial forecasting, budgeting and bank reconciliation is really boring so I set aside two hours a week to update my spreadsheets and accounts.  It might not stop you from spending money but it certainly answers the question "where does it all go"?

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Create Your Own Glass

Fused glass platter

Have you ever wanted to make your own fused glass platter, dish or wall piece? I offer individual tuition at my studio in Silsden, West Yorkshire to enable you to make a stunning piece of glass to your own design. 

Glass plate after the first firing

I design, cut and clean all my glass prior to placing it on the kiln shelf for fusing. Most of my glass goes through 2 days of kiln firing (coasters up to four) to achieve the finish that I like - a slightly raised design but all edges are well rounded.

Glass plate on platter slump mould

Once the glass is fully fired it is washed to remove any resideue of kiln wash and then placed onto a ceramic slump mould. The piece is then fired at a lower and slower rate so that it slumps down into the mould and takes the shape of the platter. This is always the exciting bit - opening the kiln to see the finished dish. Some glass fusers will grind the edges of the dish and refire it to "polish" the edges but if your firing schedule is slow enough this isn't necessary.

Slumped platter stll in the mould

If you would like to visit the Glassprimitif studio and make a large glass platter or wall piece you can contact me HERE. No previous experience of glass fusing is necessary and all materials are provided and refreshments too (but bring a packed lunch).

£150 full day - 10am to 5pm