I'd like to present an established pressed flower and stained glass artist:
How did you get started working with stained glass and pressed flowers?I got started using flowers after I had been travelling and was at a farmers market and saw someone selling little framed stained glass pieces and- to tell the truth - I don't remember exactly what they were of or what artwork was in the pieces - it was just the idea. I was producing various jewelry items with wirework, beadwork, etc. with most of my work being a little 'higher end' in price and quality - this was a few years back when the economy was heading downward and so sales were slowing a bit. Upon seeing her little pieces, it occurred to me that maybe I could learn and do something small with stained glass that would offer customers a lower priced, but attractive and unique item......I immediately thought of all the possibilities of what could placed in the stained glass.....and thought that little pressed flowers would probably be well liked and make for a pretty piece. Understand that I had never done any stained glass work at all....but I do have a degree in Art and taught art, so I had done soldering, etc. in my jewelry. So...... I dived in and learned as I went along!!! I enjoyed the rhythm of the process and learning to 'present' the flowers as well as getting a smooth and nicely finished solder. I also liked the idea that I could press my own grown or collected flowers and leaves!
What are your favorite flowers?
My favorite flowers are the tiny wildflowers, as well as early budding apple blossoms. I also enjoy very very young leaves as they just bud out. My favorite colored flowers are blue, followed by very pale pink, but I have grown to appreciate all the beautiful colors nature provides! Every flower has it's place!!!
There are many challenges in making small pressed flower jewelry pieces. Because of their size, I have to use a very small soldering iron - and at first I kept burning them out - finally I got a regulator and that helped a lot. Also, making pieces this size requires a lot of tiny cut pieces - both of regular stained glass as well as the slide weight glass - which also involve a lot of grinding, etc. to match the two pieces. I also discovered that I really had to use the smallest(size) of flowers - which greatly reduced the number of options I was finding - and I also found some flowers were just plain too 'fragile' or 'delicate' for use. I collect and press many of my own flowers, but have also found a few places from which I can buy some as well - as they come into 'season', etc. Flowers are carefully arranged on the glass, glued in place, and then the taping, fluxing and soldering process takes place. Might I add that the small size seem to make these processes harder on the hands and despite my best efforts, I often end up with very rough and damaged skin/nails on my hands!! While I have used regular solder since beginning, in the interest of being a bit more 'green', I am working toward converting my work to lead free solder - kind of difficult as the lead free solders flow a bit differently and don't have the bright shine that most people enjoy. All pieces have to be handled carefully so that nothing slides into the glass sandwich, and they all require considerable cleaning and and a protective polish. I also include a care sheet with each of my pieces so people understand how to take care of the piece...No..please do not go swimming with your pressed flower pendant on!! :) Some people want to maintain the bright, shiny finish, while others enjoy the natural oxidation that inevitably will take place over time - if nothing is done to prevent it. Also I have found that I tend to avoid dyed flowers - there are a few that maintain their color, but many of them fade totally 'out' - very disappointing if you had liked the color!!
What are your plans for the future?
As for future plans.....having CFIDS and FM tends to 'curtail' really ambitious plans,(you know - where your brain has zillions of ideas, but your body can't keep up!!) but I occasionally am inspired with new ideas that will hopefully keep things interesting....using multiple, repeating flowers in one piece - kind of like modern pop art! While it has nothing to do with pressed flowers, that is where my background in jewelry wirework resulted in my pieces with wire designs, etc. I have also used my pieces to make stained glass mobiles as gifts for a few relatives and friends, and would like to make a few of those to have in my Etsy shop - I love the movement and the ability to use more colors/flowers together. I am always on the lookout for new flowers and new possible ways to use them.
Design and be Mary:
Thank you so much! Your work is wonderful.
Tip of the day:
Use gloves when working with two part epoxy resin, such as Envirotech Lite, Colores, KastEZ. In their liquid state they can severe skin irritants and incite allergies. (in their hardened, finished mixed state they are non toxic and non irritating.
However, with two part polyester resins (Castin Craft’s Clear Polyester Casting Resin) use a good mask and gloves. These resins can be irritating to the lungs when inhaled, and irritating when they have skin contact. Again, when the epoxy is cured and hardened, it is inert.
Thank you for visiting my blog. Comments, questions and critics are always welcome. Chris