hey sis, I have a wee job for ya...

My Frister (my best friend who happens to be my sister-in-law as we cleverly married brothers), happens to be very good at marketing Jill Matthew Glass to her fellow workmates and family. She is also good at leaving commissions to the last minute!

So when I get a message saying ”Hey sis, have a wee job for ya” – I had an inkling what it might be. This was followed by the rather cryptic “I'm after a bit of glass art inspired by my friend Gabby's racing hats.” And after this came a series of pictures of the aforementioned Gabby in a variety of colourful derby style hats! 

Now at this point I was a little confused. It was late, I was tired, and for a brief time I thought she wanted me to SEW her a racing hat. Now, I can sew, I made my own wedding dress, but it doesn’t fill me with joy like constructing sharp stuff does and the melty melty and machines that go along with that. Anyway, getting my brain in gear I realised she was talking glass, so I breathed a sigh of relief. Until she says she needs it at the end of the week!  It turns out the infamous Gabby was due to have a 30th birthday party, but due to the level three lockdown situation in Auckland, it was now not able to go ahead, so her workmates were throwing a surprise party in Hamilton.  Now, you can’t hurry a kiln, and Frister knows this, but she also has complete faith in me, and she’s very persuasive!  But I do love dreaming up fused glass designs to meet customers briefs, so I was all in for the challenge.

I dabbled in the thought of making a fused glass wall hung “fancy hat” but quickly realised that would require fitting in too many firings to work within the limited timeframe. So after some fristerly conflab (which after being BFFs for over 20 years we're pretty good at), we decided to go down the platter route as the birthday girl apparently likes to entertain. I just had to make it colourful. Now, I do have a reasonably firm ethos that “less is more” so I came up with a plan that involved a decent streak of colour without being OTT, and repurposed the below Tiny Rainbow that had misbehaved in the kiln.

I don’t often plan designs on paper, but to get my idea across this time I produced this amazing work of art. This is the original scribble I did to get Frister approval. The plan was to sandblast the silhouette of some ladies in fancy hats along the clear edge to tie in the with derby hat theme.

Approval gained from my flash drawing, I constructed, and into Margo it went. She cooked it beautifully and out it came 2 days later, colourful but not over the top, just as I had imagined. Into my smaller kiln, Fawkes, it went for another firing to shape it into a platter. Designs can morph a bit as I see how the glass behaves, and the plan for the ladies in the hats didn’t feel right once it was fired. The finishing touch instead became a sandblasted peacock feather, to symbolise all Gabby’s hats and their decorations. The fact that the splash of colour was a similar shape to a fancy races frock is complete coincidence, but a happy one that fits perfectly. And I’m told she loves it 😊

Posted: Tuesday 25 August 2020