I have been working away on this cabinet of curiosity for Exeter Library, as part of Art Week Exeter. Exeter Library has a a fantastic collection of early and rare books and they have a new scheme to get people to adopt a book from the collection to pay for the restoration of these ancient books. Continue reading “Fragile Knowledge, Exeter Library Rare Book Commission for Art Week Exeter”
It’s hard to know where to start explaining this artwork, its by far the most personal thing I have produced. Continue reading “A World Without”
In the last few months I have been working with 180 Year 7 pupils at Teignmouth Community School to create a new World War One War Memorial as part of Devon Remembers, commemorating the centenary of The Great War. Continue reading “Devon Remembers World War One War Memorial”
My latest commission, a fishy window for a converted pub in the Cotswolds, this is in an internal door. The fish are acid etched into spectrum water glass, which, as the name suggests is perfect for representing water. Continue reading “Fishy window – stained glass and acid etched door panel”
Went to install my new panel in the woods at the annual sculpture trail at High Heathercombe Centre
EDGE is an outdoor sculpture trail on Dartmoor and is set in a woodland with a stream running through. The theme this year is Renewal.
I haven’t tried to hang a stained glass window in the woods before and I really like how it looks suspended in the trees. Stained glass is usually in such solid stone and brick built openings and its quite different looking at it just suspended in the air.
The panel mixes fused glass and traditional stained glass painting and leading. Its in a very sturdyy frame, so lets hope it survives the Dartmoor Weather! Heavy rain and thunderstorms are forecast this week, so fingers crossed.
The panel is called Woodland Education and the words say
Gazing up, at the lacework sky of leaves,
‘Is that all?’, she sighed.
‘Oh no’, hushed the trees in wolfish reply.
‘You Can Always Try Again’.
This is not my normal kind of post. I have not just finished a big commission, though I have plenty of them to be getting on with. It’s also very early in the morning, so my family know there is something up today! Indeed there is. I have got up early to day to (slight panic) bulk buy essential materials of my trade! Why? Well…..
Spectrum Glass Company announced the sad news that after 40 years of art glass production they are set to close. I use a lot of Spectrum glass, that clever texture that makes the glass look like ripples on water- that is their glass. Glass with a perfect flat finish to print onto – that’s their glass. Affordable, reliable, easy to cut and constantly pushing forward the science of glass for enhanced compatibility and new effects in warm glass techniques; I have come to take their products for granted. For example I start a major public commission in September and I was planning to use their glass for its fabrication. The main reason for their demise seems to be a dramatic drop in sales since ‘the c
rash’ they say around 40%. Now Spectrum are not a small, artisan company they are one of a handful of international glass manufacturers who specialise in art glass and this is a major disruption in the force for us glass artists. Even glass artists who do not use their products will feel the effects as it is bound to have a knock on effect to the pricing of other companies glass (especially warm glass supplies), as glass becomes a rarer commodity – that’s just supply and demand.
But how can this be happening? My studio is not in decline! I am busy, too busy, I cannot keep up with demand for my work from galleries, I have a 3 month lead time with commissions. At gallery openings and Private Views people always enquire if I am busy, I can always honestly say, ‘Yes, I am so busy I struggle to keep up with it. Stained glass is a declining industry and their are fewer people with my skills with working studios every year – I get busier all the time.’
But I guess Spectrum’s closure is the reality of my slightly flippant words, this is the first time I am faced with the flip side of this supply and demand situation, as our skills become scarce so do the materials we work with and the people who make them for us. RIP Spectrum Glass, I will miss you very much.
I have just installed these 2 windows into a newly renovated home in Exeter. The building itself is an old vicarage, which is several hundred years old and has been added to over the years, most significantly in the 1960s and again by the new owners. They have added a new atrium and extension, but this has left the bathroom on the ground and first floors with windows over looking the staircase, so one of the main design factors was obscuring the bathrooms for privacy.
The clients wanted lots of colour, lots of fish and lots of blue. The windows are one above another and visible both from the staircase and the bathrooms. The bottom panel has coral and the fronds
of seaweed reach up and match up to those of the first floor window.
Each of the fish in the design has been formed in my kiln by melting crushed and small strips of glass. Once the glass has melted together into fish shapes I have
painted the details on and re-fired in the kiln to fix the paint in place. Once I made all the fish I incorporated them into a traditional, leaded stained glass windows, mixing modern techniques with traditional ones, which echoes the mixture of old and new architecture in the house.
These have been a labour of love and very time consuming; incorporating fused glass is technically more tricky than a standard leaded panel. But they have been well worth the effort, the clients are delighted with them and I think they have turned out really well. I especially like the way they reflect off the white bathroom tiles and bounce coloured fish reflections around the rooms.
Acid etching was the first surface technique I learned and it remains one of my favourite effects. The way that the texture – and therefore light transmission of the glass is altered is both subtle and effective and is very useful for adding close up detail without making the overall design too ‘busy’. To add a contemporary twist I have fired the photograph of Exmouth Beach huts onto glass in my kiln and this modern process gives a contrast to the traditional leading and etching.