Tessa Spanton SWA Artist, tutor, writer


Welcome to my blog.
This is where I write about some of the things that inspire my work,
news of exhibitions and works in progress

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Button Wednesday

Having just read the Button Wednesday post on Petronella's blog I have decided to join in.

I have a collection of buttons. I didn't specially set out to collect them, they just accumulated.
I am the same with teapots! One day I realised I had a collection of teapots.

Some of them I bought for a dressmaking or textile art projects then didn't use them. Others are saved from clothes that went for recycling. Sometimes I just buy a button because I like it and then there are the spares that come with new clothes....

Many years ago I bought some buttons from a little local haberdashers store, they looked like very old stock even then and were reduced to clear, so they are definitely vintage. They are shaped like a scallop shell and slightly pearlised.

I used one of them recently for a European Street Team challenge and this is the item I made.
Lavender and cream brooch, corsage, necklace or hair fascinator it is in my Etsy shop here
The lace is upcycled and the silk is handpainted lavender.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Adventures with Glass part 2 Glass Fusion

Glass Fusion

Edges of glass wet sanded to make them smooth.

Blue glass powder sprinkled onto the glass.

On the left the glass has been decorated with blue powder then drawn into with a colour shaper.

On the right the glass has had 3 bands of powered glass laid next to one another. The glass with the blue pattern was laid on top of the glass with the 3 colours. There is some reflection from the windows above.

These were heated in a kiln to fuse the glass and cooled slowly to prevent cracking.

The finished pieces

Friday, 11 June 2010

Adventures with Glass Part 1, Lampwork Beads

Lampwork beads made during morning's lesson
First a metal rod called a mandrel is dipped in a thick slurry of clay then dried in the flame.
This makes it possible for the bead to be removed from the mandrel when it is finshed.
The end of a glass rod is then heated in the flame. When it starts to melt it is touched to the mandrel at right angles, the glass is kept in the flame and the mandrel is turned so that glass is gathered on it.

When the gather reaches the size you want it is turned for a while longer until the bead becomes a good shape. If you don't turn it it will sag.
Some of the beads were decorated by dipping in frit. Frit is little pieces of coloured glass in gorgeous yummy colours, it sticks to the hot bead and is melted on by returning the bead to the flame. The deep blue ones had 24k gold leaf applied. The very pale amethyst ones had fine silver wire wrapped around then melted in the flame. This creates dots and fine lines of silver.
A stringer was made by pinching hot glass and pulling to get a thin length of glass. This is used to apply coloured dots to a bead. I found this the most difficult bit to do.
The beads are put in a kiln and cooled very slowly so that they don't crack.
It was all great fun, Helen the tutor was brilliant and I have some new beads to play with!