Bring Colour

OVERDUE are talk­ing to Cassie Atkin­son this week, whose liveli­hood in events ceased to exist dur­ing Lock­down which took her down an entire­ly new path. 

As told to Miran­da Wilkin­son

Work­ing in events, as soon as Lock­down hit my work very quick­ly dried up. I went through the stay­ing in and read­ing, watch­ing tv and DIY projects like every­one else, but I found myself want­i­ng to do some­thing more. It might sound strange but I had a strong desire to make some­thing beau­ti­ful. Look­ing back, I think sub­con­scious­ly it was my way of try­ing to bal­ance out the over­whelm­ing feel­ing of neg­a­tiv­i­ty and sad­ness that seemed to have con­sumed the world. 

I have strug­gled in lock­down like every­one else; when your world becomes so small it is hard to put things into per­spec­tive, but you also start to appre­ci­ate the small things.  I would lie in bed in the morn­ing, see the sun­light com­ing through the win­dows, and think how lucky I was to be able to appre­ci­ate it. I’d be out walk­ing my dog, see­ing pic­tures of rain­bows and thank yous to key work­ers in win­dows with such touch­ing mes­sages of hope and love — it showed peo­ple apart but try­ing to stay togeth­er, and I sup­pose I want­ed to try to add to that in my own way.

So, I start­ed mak­ing stained glass. To me, stained glass is about shar­ing some­thing beau­ti­ful, it’s for you to enjoy but when it’s in a win­dow you share it with every­one out­side too. Like flow­ers in a front gar­den — it has the abil­i­ty to bright­en up every­one’s day, it’s about giv­ing. 

I’d learnt to make stained glass with lead a while ago (the kind you would see in church win­dows) but it is some­thing you need quite a bit of space for. So I bought some glass and start­ed teach­ing myself the cop­per-foil tech­nique, where each piece of glass is cut, ground, foiled, sol­dered togeth­er and pol­ished. The tech­nique was invent­ed by Louis Com­fort Tiffany, who was part of the fam­i­ly that owned Tiffany and Co. His work led to the famous Tiffany lamps which is some­thing that is pos­si­ble to do in small­er spaces. I also decid­ed to work with lead-free sol­der, it is noto­ri­ous­ly tricky to work with but it is bet­ter for the envi­ron­ment and safe to han­dle too. It was not easy, but after a lot of tri­al and error, I start­ed to fig­ure out what worked for me. 

The stained glass com­mu­ni­ty is a lot larg­er in Amer­i­ca and Cana­da, which means you real­ly have to hunt for cer­tain mate­ri­als and get cre­ative when you don’t have access to things close-by. This meant the small­er amount of peo­ple who make stained glass in the UK sup­port each oth­er and there are social media groups to share tips and tricks.

I now make stained glass inspired by music and retro vibes. I want­ed to make small­er, more acces­si­ble pieces of vibrant home décor that would bring colour and fun wher­ev­er you hang them. I’ve also found the process real­ly ther­a­peu­tic; it’s helped me to man­age my stress, improve my self-esteem and giv­en me a sense of pur­pose with my days. I start­ed sell­ing pieces to friends and fam­i­ly, the feed­back was amaz­ing so I’ve now start­ed sell­ing online. The thought that I’ve made some­thing that one friend has used to cheer up anoth­er is so ful­fill­ing.

I don’t know what my life will look like after Covid, but I am real­ly hap­py I lis­tened to a lit­tle voice in my head that told me to do this, the thought of some­thing that makes me smile might also bring joy to oth­ers is end­less­ly reward­ing.

To buy Cassie’s stained glass pieces vis­it her Etsy Shop below:
Etsy — 
etsy.com/uk/shop/GlassbyCassandre
Insta­gram — 
instagram.com/cassandre.atkinson/