Meet the Master Crafters: Part VII
Jamie Raynor - Factory Supervisor
Is it true you are one of the longest-serving members at Northern Lights?
Simon Smith and I joined the business at the same time, and yes, we have the title of the longest-serving members of the team! I've been here since the first day it all started back in 1987.
Do you work across a specific area?
I've pretty much worked everywhere across the business since I joined. It started with stained glass, where we began developing glass terrariums for the restaurant & bar market, including the Tiffany shades, which were popular at the time. I've worked across metalwork and wiring. Currently, I'm supervising three separate processes: shades, glass and CNC routing.
In which area are you most skilled?
I get involved heavily in the glass side – so everything from slumping for shape to the fusing of colours to create different effects. There's probably nothing about glass production that I don't know now. I've passed down these skills to many people over the years, training them in glass production techniques. There are some glass processes from the earlier days that we no longer do, just because there isn't as much demand for them nowadays. But occasionally, when these requirements come through, they require the more traditional skilled techniques I learned many years ago - like glass fusing. It's a nod to the past and the company's origins.
What is glass slumping?
Slumping refers to bending a piece of glass in a kiln. The gravity and heat from the kiln shape the sheet of glass over a metal mould made from steel, so the glass takes on the shape of the mould.
Can you fuse colours and slump at the same time?
No. Because the metal expands at a different rate than the glass, we'd always fuse the glass first (flat) to achieve the colour and effect and then slump it over the mould to develop the shape and form. Combining them from two processes into one to save time doesn't work. We've tried it in the past, and the results weren't up to our standards.
Tell us about your VW camper project?
I've been working for the past four years on the restoration of an old Volkswagen camper. I've had it for over 20 years, and it was just sat there. So when covid hit, and we couldn't go anywhere, I decided to chop it to bits and restore it. It's nearly done now. I spent most of my free time throughout covid years under that van! Me and the family like going away to Cornwall a lot, so it will be great to jump in it when it's finished and spend some more time down there; it's such a pleasure to drive. It's quite slow, so I find it slows the pace of life and allows me time to think and reflect whilst pootling down to Cornwall!