Why you don’t need a hair-dryer
When you watch The Master & the Beast, you’ll see exactly how to do all your glass painting in a single firing, layer upon layer until your piece is finished.
Now one important point about painting layer upon layer is: you wait for the previous layer to dry before you paint on top of it. The reason is, when you paint on wet paint, you risk damaging the layers underneath. That’s why you wait until the paint is dry – because the gum Arabic will set. So a question I’m often asked is, Do I use a hair-dryer?
I’ve more important things to do – and so have you
And the answer is nice and simple, because it’s No, I don’t.
And the reason is, there are always more important things to do than speeding up the drying process with an electrical appliance.
Now remember our studio is in England, which isn’t famous for its warm and sunny climate. So our climate is just about as slow-drying as it gets.
Yet we still prefer to let our paint dry naturally in the air and in its own time.
OK, so say you’re working on several bits of glass at once.
It’s easy to see how you work on one, then put it aside and work on the next one:
By the time you’ve done them all, the first one is completely dry, and you can return to it and paint the next layer.
That’s obvious, right?
But my point is, even if you’re working on just one piece at a time, there are still more important things for you to do than blow-dry your piece until it’s dry.
OK, so imagine you’ve applied the undercoat, and imagine it’s a wet, damp day, and this undercoat will take several minutes to dry, and you want to get on, because you’ve got a deadline you must meet.
Do you plug in your hair-dryer and zap it?
No – I suggest to you, you don’t.
The really important thing always is …
Rather you spend two minutes tidying your palette, preparing some tracing paint, and testing it for the lines you plan to paint next.
This is a far better way to spend your time.
It’s also quieter and less disruptive of the spirit of the process.
And if you need another reason, consider your health.
Me, I worry less about the lead in glass paint than I do about tiny air-borne particles of dust.
I can see when my clothes and hands are dirty, but I just can’t see a lot of dust, and I know it’s bad for me, so the last thing I want to do anything which agitates it.
Actually, that’s another good reason for painting with a lump – you cause far less dust, because your paint keeps moist or undercover.
And that’s something else you learn to perfection from The Master & the Beast.
P.S. One of the many wonderful things about stained glass painting is, you really don’t need many things to do it. And, once you’ve got them, and you take good care of them, then they last for ages. How wonderful and also rare nowadays – you don’t need many ‘accessories’. When you know what you’re doing, you don’t need much: that’s why we filmed this documentary – you see exactly what to do (with the few things you must have).
P.P.S. Wish I had a very large hair-dryer right now because here’s the road which leaves the studio: