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Mairi is a glass artist who works on painted, stained and fused glass projects, all incredible mediums showcasing her genuine obsession with colour.
Mairi loves creating a variety of unique pieces in all shapes and sizes including homewares, gifts, and jewellery. All her work is hand crafted in a cosy studio shop in the village of Comrie in Perthshire.
For Mairi the joy of working with glass comes with creating unique and often surprising finishes, not being able to predict the exact finish and the play of the colours is all part of the excitement. Seeing the finished piece for the first time, either after a kiln firing, or when holding a stained glass piece up to the light, constantly inspires her practice.
Some of Mairi’s work begins with a very specific vision of the desired outcome, while other projects have more vague beginnings and simply evolve. The constant possibility of happy accidents, which often occur during the process, can transform the work.
There are a minimum of 3 firing stages required for painted glass projects, each layer adding different detail. Prior to the kiln, the design is traced, shaded and coloured onto the glass template, known as a cartoon. The first firing is flat in an electric kiln at 675℃ creating the design’s dark outlines. The second firing at 600℃ adds shading and highlights, while the final firing adds colour by using different glass powders and enamels, some of which use pure gold. The painted pieces are then incorporated into a panel, alongside other pieces of coloured glass, using a lead channel. The joints are then soldered and the panel cemented before the final clean.
Fused glass, sometimes known as 'kiln-formed glass' or 'warm glass', is a technique where clear and/or coloured glass is melted and fused together in a kiln at very high temperatures. Mairi uses this technique to create a range of decorative and functional pieces including jewellery, bowls, sculptures, panels and ornaments. Fused glass projects typically involve temperatures of up to 840℃, and sometimes hotter. Depending on the type of glass used and the desired size and thickness of the finished piece, the fusing and cooling process can be from a minimum of 24 hours up to several days. The skill comes with knowing what decisions to make at each stage of the process as well as having the courage to work blind and trust the process.
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