January Blues?

Happy New Year everyone and I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Christmas and the return to normality hasn’t been too traumatic.  After the hustle and bustle of  December, January can feel a long, cold month with not a bank holiday in sight, the sun a distant, hazy memory  and all overshadowed by a credit card bill equal to the GDP of some small nations. However, it’s one of my favourite months of the year.

Business tends to be slow so January gives me the time to play and experiment. This year my “playperiment” project is Venetian masks. I have no idea whether I will be able to make a mask good enough to sell, but I’ll enjoy the process of trying.

It all starts with sketches (which in my case is hilarious as I am not blessed with any drawing skills) and copious notes on what I would like to achieve. That then progresses to searches on Google, Pinterest and Etsy for inspiration. I use my notebook rather like a dictaphone (showing my age there); snatched phrases on what I need to do and how I could overcome any technical difficulties.  This will lead to me reading glass artists’ blogs and books to check I’m going about things in the best way. Once I have an idea of colours and shapes I’ll then make test tiles. Even though glass generally doesn’t change colour that much on firing, some can look very different once they’ve been through the kiln. At every stage I make detailed notes on what glass I’ve used and how it was fired – even where it was placed in the kiln, as this can have a bearing on the fused outcome. In the case of this year’s project I also need to make a mould out of ceramic to slump the masks onto. Once all that is done I can get down to actually making a mask. I will probably make at least four or five masks before I am happy enough to show them to anyone else.

Some people may find this tedious but I enjoy the process of working out how to make something, building on and expanding my current skills, whilst also learning new techniques. All this without any pressure or time constraints. Bliss!

The other reason I like January so much is that for the past 17 years my sisters and I have got together for The Scared Girlie Getaway – a long weekend of love fuelled laughter. This year we’re off to Canterbury to annoy and embarrass a niece who’s at university there.

January gives me the opportunity to reconnect with glass, but also with my sisters, so why wouldn’t it be one of my favourite months of the year?