Guest Post: Georgia Hill, Author of ‘New Beginnings at Christmas Tree Farm’.
Thanks so much, Emma, for having me on!
The hero in my new book, New Beginnings at Christmas Tree Cottage, is a glass artist. A portable skill was a necessity so he could up and leave London and relocate in the sunny Dorset town of Lullbury Bay and begin his new life.
First, I had to do the research!
There are lots of videos on YouTube for research into making glass art and they are useful but nothing beats doing the thing for gathering research on smells, textures and the total experience of what you’re trying to write about. When I saw a light catcher making workshop advertised, I booked a last-minute space. My hero makes stained glass panels but, for various reasons, he’s been making smaller items like the ones I would learn how to create on the course.
We began practising cutting glass, beginning with straight shapes. The pen-like tool is a glass cutter with a diamond nib and an oil reservoir. Choosing a shape, we used templates. Sue, the tutor, explained the greater the accuracy at each stage, the better the end result.
Once the glass is scored, it’s snapped using grozing pliers. This was immensely and surprisingly satisfying and the group decided it was because we’re always told not to break glass as it’s a) unlucky and b) dangerous. Speaking of health and safety, we wore visors whenever cutting the glass as the shards can end up everywhere.
We moved onto to curved shapes – much harder! I kept forgetting to cut in a straight line and tried to follow the line of the shape. Once the rough curved shape is cut it can be sanded using a sanding sheet or, better still, using the grinder. The grinder has water which absorbs any particles flying about. I loved using it as I could feel the shape becoming smoother and less ‘nubbly.’
The next step is to use the Tiffany copper foil method. Invented by Mr Tiffany to use when making his lamps, this is where the shape will begin to bind together as a finished form. Copper foil is stuck around every edge and the pieces are placed together in the way you want.
Flux is dabbed on the corners and solder is applied to the same place. More flux is painted over the copper foil joins and more solder is spread to fix the shapes together. I really enjoyed the soldering, so much so I was told I was a little heavy-handed!
All that’s needed then is to attach a hanging loop which is soldered on. We made practice pieces to work our way through the entire process and I had a go at an angel. Don’t look too closely! She’ll go on the tree this Christmas.
In the afternoon we moved onto to making another item and I chose some beach huts. I’d seen them in Sue’s online shop and loved their look.
After a clean and a polish, here are the final results. I had to have some help from ‘Miss’ when putting the beach hut components together as I hadn’t cut them accurately enough and there were gaps. Back to the grinder to create that perfect fit. I also lost track of which piece was going where and ended up with a blue hut and roof when it should have been red. Ah, the best laid plans. Remember having to pay attention to the details?
The basic techniques aren’t too tricky but you have to be dextrous and have good hand strength. You also have to have great attention to detail and take your time. It’s not something which can be rushed. My downfall! To make anything as lovely as the stuff Sue (and my hero Jago) produces takes hours of practice.
About the book:
The little town of Lullbury Bay goes all out for Christmas and teacher Honor Martin loves it. After a bad break up she’s settled into the simple pleasures of seaside life and Christmas is the high point of her year. Glass artist Jago Pengethley, however, doesn’t share her enthusiasm. A new arrival in town, he’s here with his mother and sister to start anew after a devastating family tragedy. He doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas ever again. But, to help his sister replace bad memories with good ones, he accompanies her to all the various wild and wacky festivities Lullbury Bay offers. They keep bumping into Honor and, as Jago gets to know her better, might she be the one to teach him how to love Christmas again?
About the author:
Georgia Hill writes warm-hearted and up-lifting contemporary and dual narrative romances about love, the power and joy in being an eccentric oldie and finding yourself and your community. There’s always a dog. It’s usually a naughty spaniel of which, unfortunately, she has had much experience. She lives near the sea with her beloved dogs and husband (also beloved) and loves the books of Jane Austen, collecting elephants, and Strictly Come Dancing. She’s also a complete museum geek and finds inspiration for her books in the folklore and history of the many places in which she’s lived. She’s worked in the theatre, for a charity and as a teacher and educational consultant before finally acknowledging that making things up was what she really wanted to do. She’s been happily creating believable heroines, intriguing men, and page-turning stories ever since.
You can find her here:
Buying links for New Beginnings at Christmas Tree Cottage: