Meet glass artist Kat from Glass and Light Studio
Kat Jurczenko from Glass and Light Studio is a stained glass artist based in Essex who creates jewellery for your windows and other beautiful glass ornaments for your home. She is captivated by the way light travels through glass, magically bringing it to life. Here Kat talks to fellow Folksy maker Debby from Bearlescent about her love of colour, her making process and the things that inspire her.
Treat yourself to 15% off Glass and Light Studio. Use the discount code ‘SAVE15’ before 26 September 2021
I’m a construction technician and psychology sociologist by training; glass maker by heart.Kat, Glass & Light Studio
Hi Kat, I love your stained glass creations, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do.
Hi all, nice to meet you! Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and my craft here on Folksy.
I’m Kat, I’ve lived in the UK for nearly 14 years – where has the time gone? I work full time and I commit my free time to my small creative business, making stained glass (anything to avoid house work!). I’m based in Chelmsford, Essex, and I use my spare bedroom as my workshop. Being a crafter brings me joy and makes me proud of my “maker hands”.
Construction technician and psychology sociologist by training; glass maker by heart.
When and how did you start working with glass?
I’ve tried a few crafts in the past – beading, crochet, knitting – but nothing really stole my heart until I discovered glass.
I’d been aware of stained glass since childhood, mostly on windows in churches, but the first time I really fell under its spell was when I saw a stained glass lampshade. I stumbled across this beautiful thing and I couldn’t take my eyes of it. The way the light changed the appearance of the glass was pure magic.
I knew I would love to make something similar, but it took me long time to put my hands to making stained glass, as I assumed you’d have to be a master artisan and would need expensive power tools. I also had to fight my fears, as I’ve always been scared of glass shards – if ever I broke a glass I wouldn’t touch it to clear it up. Then a few years ago I bought a second-hand stained glass making kit and learned how to handle glass safely. After that, I took a class with a stained glass expert and the rest is history.
I try hard not to waste anything, so I make my cheeky birdies out of scraps left over from bigger projects.Kat, Glass & Light Studio
Do you have a favourite piece or one which you enjoy making the most? I especially love your beautiful flower bud and leaf creations.
Thank you Debby! I enjoy making all my suncatchers, especially those inspired by nature. My favourites are the cheeky birds – they have so much character – although they’re really time-consuming little creatures.
I try hard not to waste anything so I make my birdies out of scraps left over from bigger projects, and I allow this little piece of glass to decide how it wants to look as a cheeky bird, rather than working to a predetermined design. I like them the most because they never disappoint in bringing smiles.
Your Folksy shop page says that you “break glass and put it together again”. That sounds interesting. You also talk about using the ‘Tiffany Technique’. For those of us who are new to glass making, could you explain the different techniques?
There are a few techniques when working with stained glass. Because of my enclosed space I concentrated on CL Tiffany copper foil technique, as it doesn’t require large workshop. In this process you:
- Cut all desired glass shapes by hand.
- The pieces of cut glass tend to be sharp and pointy and don’t all fit together, so they need to be sanded down one by one. I do this with glass grinder, which feeds water to the diamond bit so you can smooth the edges without inhaling glass dust.
- After grinding, the glass needs to be washed, as residues and cutting oil may prevent the copper foil from sticking to the edges
- Now you can start to wrap your pieces in copper foil, which is a thin ribbon made from copper sheet with one sticky side.
- Once wrapped, you press down the tape with a special plastic fid, so it stays stuck to the glass, and then burnish it nicely on all sides to give a smooth finish.
- You then paint flux all over, as this helps the solder stick to the copper tape. My next step is to start tacking together the pieces with spots of solder. This helps to keep all pieces of glass together, and you can then work on nice solder beads.
- When finished I flip over the suncatcher and start soldering the back.
- Once soldered on both sides, you wash off the rest of flux.
- After cleaning and drying, I apply black patina to all my solder lines. It’s optional but it’s my personal preference as I think it makes colours pop.
- Of course, you have to wash the whole piece again after applying the patina and then dry it well and apply polish. That’s when you can enjoy your finished piece!
Here’s a short video I made showing all the steps – or you can watch it on YouTube here An Apple – The Making Of Stained Glass Suncatcher.
I don’t know much about crafting with glass. Do you need a lot of specialist tools and equipment?
As with every craft, stained glass requires dedicated tools. Here’s a list of the basic tools you need when starting out:
- glass cutter
- grozing pliers
- running pliers
- glass grinder
- soldering iron
- eye protection
I started pretty much with a minimum kit like this. Once I was sure stained glass was what I wanted to do, I invested in better equipment and it’s still an ongoing process – there’s always room for more tools! Better tools equals better makes!
Most of my inspiration comes from the nature. I absolutely adore making leafy creations.Kat, Glass & Light Studio
Where does your inspiration come from and is there anyone in particular that you admire?
I feel deep connection to the nature, the flora part of nature in particular. I grew up in small town surrounded by forests, playing in the woods, foraging for bilberries and wild mushrooms, breathing sap-saturated air, looking for wildlife. I enjoy working on my allotment, I have few beautiful plants at home and I try to visit Kew Gardens at least couple of times a year. So, for me, most of my inspiration comes from the nature. I absolutely adore making leafy creations.
But sometimes inspiration comes from the glass itself. A few days ago I picked a sheet of orange glass and its colour and texture just screamed to me: “I want to become an orange!”
Where do you see yourself going forward? Do you have any plans for the future?
My big dream is to become a full-time stained glass maker with a spacious, bright studio in the countryside by the sea. I would still make ornaments and suncatchers, but I could start making panels and maybe even lampshades.
Craft is a journey into my imaginary world full of colour, shapes and beauty.Kat, Glass & Light Studio
Lastly, what does craft mean to you?
Craft is a journey into my imaginary world full of colour, shapes and beauty. Craft means ‘me’ time when I relax, unwind and let go of everyday problems. I put in my earpods and listen to audiobooks while creating, and I am where I belong.
Craft makes me happy because my creations bring colour and good feelings to other people!
15% off until Sunday 26 September 2021 with discount code ‘SAVE15’
Shop Glass & Light Studio on Folksy
Meet the interviewer
The maker asking the questions this week is bear artist and textile artist Debby from Bearlescent.
Read more about Debby in our Meet the Maker interview – Meet bear artist Bearlescent
Shop Bearlescent on Folksy – https://folksy.com/shops/Bearlescent