Practice time again.

Many years ago I experimented making a design that was cut in vinyl multiples by a signwriter. Sandblasted then finished of with the drill. I’ve dragged the leftovers out as a practice for the new lathe. Lots of practice needed, but the cuts are smooth and if I can get there I’m going to love this tool. Cost so much to get it to Australia I should too.

December nearly here so I will drag out the old Christmas work picture. Memories of 15 year ago.




The dove is never free.

“Ah the wars they will be fought again,

the holy dove she will be caught again

bought and sold and bought again,

the dove is never free.”

Anthem.  Leonard Cohen.


Old coffee table top,1metre. I need big scraps to see what I can do with this tool and I don’t know what the postie will think.




A very quiet and meditative method of glass engraving that suits some people at some times. There is no rush or you stuff it, and finished you are exhausted in a relaxed way. I really love the lightness of touch on the glass, a mystical mysterious experience only for those quiet enough to enjoy it.
The orchid on a wine goblet engraved above. Very difficult to photograph because of reflections. It is a very subtle method of working.
“Gums” crystal flute that was a melbourne market product from 1997. Great way to practice drill skills. Diamond and small stone burrs, stamens diamond point.


Mixed media, mixed mythology and I guess mixed message. Because the kiln isn’t wired I was using what I had, and I’m learning about the stone. Putting the two together is another story altogether.
All ready to wax the stone, trying a bees wax furniture polish. Pre warmed the stone.
A lot of the cream taken away. At this point I’ll start on the figure which will be 3d as well as shaded. From the back the outline in silhouette style is clearly visible. The colours match the stone fairly well.
Starting to cut away the cream layer to reveal the blue underneath. It’s fairly thick, about 3 mm, so it is reeally a cameo in the relief carving style.
The piece of glass that will finally fit into the groove shown in the plasticine model. It is fused cream opaque over transparent steel blue. Because the kiln isn’t wired I’m using what I have available.
Getting into it. Some of the deeper internal type areas were cut in with tungsten carbide burrs in the Foredom flexdrive. Still fairly slow and very messy. Cuts OK with a chisel though I’m scared of breaking it along its natural split lines. Rasps work fine but slow and my shoulders ache, files smooth it beautifully. I carve in a “direct” style, working some of it out as I go. Following natural character of the stone.
The stone. Siltstone again. Silver grey that will darken when polished and sealed. About 20 cms tall. Some rough cutting with a diamond saw and roughing with diamond sanding discs. A hell of a lot of dust and I wear a mask and face shield. Not good for clothes lines, the car or neighbours.
First stage. Although ideas can be drawn I find a 3d play easier. I think a fair bit with my hands and the light effect are better sorted this way. Plasticine is terrific.


The work table ready for a new adventure. I’ve thought about printmaking from glass plates for a long time. Tried a few basic experiments over the last few years and got together basic equipment.
Using a pin press and diamond burr I’m using the point or line technique made popular in Britain in a revival of glass engraving based around the Guild of Glass Engravers. I’m using a solid little easel type, head magnifieers,and black cloth under so I can see the work. There’s reference print books as well as a chinese painting book that I copied the image from. It’s hard to get a good work light, essential, so I have a shed light, 100w, that is clamped to a camera tripod until I make a proper stand for it.
The plate looks terrific. I really enjoyed this part of it, slow and meditative, and I love the play of light on clear glass. If I want to I can use the drill to make up solid dark blocks.
The plate inked up. Now you can see the dark that before was light. Surprising how much detail is picked out by the ink.
My print. A hell of a mess, and I hated working with the ink. Thinned it down with plate ink, soaked the paper, and used a speedball hand barren thing. Over all I think the paper is too coarse and I need a press for the fine line type. Like an etching. Maybe a sharper darker ink, not a soft black. I’m really not sure I want to do this, just to prove it can be done. Maybe if I read up a bit more and go for a broader style that will hand print better I can have another go later.

DIONYSUS the wine god.

Finished, as well as it is going to be. Lots of learning about the stone in this one. I like the end figure, has a certain character I was aiming for, and not the full realism. A coat of tile sealer, but I wouldn’t leave it outside. About 17 cm diam. and 30 cm tall.

Tungsten carbide burrs in the flex shaft (foredom) were needed as the stone waas resistant to the rasp and a file was only good for a final smoothing. Very dusty work and I kept a nuisance mask on. Using water made twice the mess, and I’m unsure of the absorbancy of the stone.
Another piece of Mt Speed siltstone. A bit harder than I first thought. Used the angle grindern with a diamond cup grinder then diamond cutting wheels at first to get some bulk away. Good old bunnings. It takes some imagination to see what the result will be, and with direct carving there will always be changes as you go along.

BACCHANALIA playful experiments

Finished with 2 coats of slate sealer. A bit of a mess actually, but I’m glad I did it, just for what I found out about it all. Too soft actually and to prove it,there grew a large crack all around the mid layer of white in the base.So it can’t go out, and I have to decide wether to just smash it, or try for a clean break that would leave a shallow but OK base.(doubtful) Maybe just leave it sitting in a corner of the fernery.
Tracing paper to get it precise. Drawing of white on black. After a week of practicing deeper intaglio which I haven’t done for 20 years, I found it didn’t stand out clear enough. So I reverted to surface “drawing” with plenty of dark contrast.
A found junk shop bowl, and plastecine to practise I find easier than just drawing. There is a lot of cutting down from the top which broke my first effort.
Using some of the cameo carving practise I carved grapes in red and white, leaves in grey. The stone was very soft from decomposing by the weather, I think. Too crumbly at times but as an experiment I went ahead.
This rock showed several layers (striations) and seemed easy to carve with a rasp, file or knife.


Studio clean up day, I’m not going to call it the shed anymore. Even put a plastic sheet between the drill bench and the window. At last I can see out. Cleaned a few years of dust and too much stone from doing experiments inside. Time for some serious glass engraving. There’s some graal to do, and without the kiln I’m trying some found recycled ideas, and time to practice on that lathe.