Some years ago I heard of a ‘Chinese curse’ (which may or may not really be Chinese at all!) which was very subtle, and seems to sum the world up too well – ‘May you live in interesting times.’
Sounds fine doesn’t it? Humm! We’re not even though the second month of this year and it’s been such a rollercoaster ride already I’m not sure which way is up some days! It all seems to have a knock on effect with creativity - I’d heard many people warn and complain about losing their ‘glassy creative mojo’ and now I sadly see what they mean. This Saturday I spent way too many hours fiddling with glass tubes and producing distorted globs of glass. I even tried using a new glass blowing mandrel I’d yet to get the courage up to use. The glass started to inflate, then pop, and I spent so much time with it in the flame I managed to melt through the steel and the front dropped off!!! I’ve never done that before! I started hacksawing off the front to tidy the wound, but it was so hard I blunted the saw.
In space of actually managing to get some proper glass made, I decided to do something different and put together a tutorial on my website for gold leaf handling for beginners. I saw so many bad and unhelpful directions in glass books with people trying to use bits of paper and the like, it seemed it might help a few people out. Gold leaf tends to stick really easily to fingers! (If you want my best tip without reading it – dust your fingers with talc!) It's now on my site http://www.steampunkglass.com/
Of course it reminded me of my neglected gilding, and the chessboards I used to make, in fact I have one in the shed/workshop that was so very nearly finished. Do you remember an episode of Father Ted when he got a car to raffle? There was a small dent which he tapped to knock out, but made a different dent instead, until a few hours later the car was covered in dents and ruined? Well that last chessboard is like that! There was one small blemish on one square which I was going to leave……. I think you see where that’s going! I try to learn that lesson about handmade, but it so difficult not to want to make it all perfect!