Crafting Enterprise meets Made in the Middle

MacKenzie and Jane Littlefield

"Jane Littlefield’s work makes me think of the stained glass windows in Coventry Cathedral, but they are not religious or spiritual, they seem to be inspired by nature." MacKenzie

  • Jane Littlefield 1.jpg Mine, 2016. Painted glass and lead within wooden lightbox. Photo credit: Ian Daisley.
  • Jane Littlefield 2.jpg Mine, 2016. Painted glass and lead within wooden lightbox. Photo credit: Ian Daisley.
  • MacKenzie.JPG MacKenzie's artwork inspired by the work of Jane Littlefield, 2017. Oil pastel on paper. Photo credit: Helen Tomkins
All Students

How many layers of paint do you have to put on the glass to obtain the colour it has?

The glass comes already coloured.  When it is made different metals and oxides are added to the glass to make different colours.  I buy the glass from a shop like 'Creative Glass Guild' and get it delivered to my workshop.  I paint the glass but only use a black paint which is also made of glass powder and metal oxides.  This paint has to be fired in a kiln.  There are quite a lot of layers of this paint, on some pieces there are 3 or 4 layers. 

How long does each piece take to make?

Each piece takes about a month to make.  Firstly I have to design the piece, then make a cartoon (which is the name for the paper template).  I cut out the coloured glass to fit the cartoon.  I add some photographic transfers to some of the glass.  These need to be put on the glass and left to dry for 24 hours, then fired in the kiln (this takes 24 hours).   After that I start painting the glass and sometimes there are 3 or 4 layers.  Each layer also needs to be fired in the kiln (also 24 hours each time).  Once I am happy with the imagery on the glass, I have to put the panel together with lead.  This probably takes half a day.  Then I need to brush a kind of cement all over it.  This goes under the lead and fills in any gaps.  This takes about a week to dry.

Once the panels are made I send them to a joiner who makes the wooden boxes. When they came back I paint the boxes black (this involves lots of layers and takes about a week) and then add the lights.

Finally I assemble the whole thing!

How many lights were used for each space?

I used strip LED lights, the sort you buy from Maplin and I stuck them round the inside edge of each box.