St Michael’s church is an iconic landmark on Teignmouth sea front (there has been a church on the site for over 1000 years) and the salt air has led the stone work around the stained glass to deteriorate quickly. So the church community raised money and were helped by the Heritage Lottery Fund to get the stonework and stained glass repaired.
Part of their grant was for community engagement and I am working with some of the town’s primary school students. They are learning about how to make stained glass windows and why churches have/had stained glass. They are then being invited to design a stained glass window conveying something important to them, or a message for the world. These designs will be exhibited in the church and then our will be chosen to be made into banners for the church to display and celebrate the restoration. The banners will be made by local craft group West Teignmouth Craft Club with help from the congregation.
Huge thanks to Mrs Gordon’s class at Our Lady of St Patrick RC School who were the first school to take part and they have made some wonderful designs. The children were very thoughtful and their designs cover many topics, with everything from WW2 to celebrate dead relatives to looking after our mental health. I don’t know how we are going to choose 4 designs!
I have been working on three public commission War Memorials over several years and this week saw all 3 of them launch; ahead of the Remembrance events on Sunday 11th November. I have found these commissions fascinating and it has been a poignant experience and I am honoured to be part of the centenary
In 2014, I was commissioned by Devon Remembers to work with Teignmouth Community School year 7’s to create a war memorial inspired by the experiences of the people on the Teignmouth Home Front (read about it here). I completed the piece a year ago, but it was moved from its usual home in the school reception, to Exeter Cathedral for the 100 year Centenary.
all of the members of the football team lost in combat over both world wars.
This was a fabulous piece to make as I got to combine the ‘old crafts’ of painting and leading with the modern fusing and photographic firing techniques. Roge Slater from the club made the frame and the work is back lit and on display at the Club.
My final War Memorial was much closer to home. My colleague Sam Lock and I were approached by the Teignmouth Remembrance Committee to create a fitting art installation for the centenary of W1. We decided on a make do and mend theme and invited people from Teignmouth and all over the country to join us in making fabric or woollen poppies. The result was 30 metres of net covered in handmade poppies. When we had secured all the hundreds of poppies to the net I went up in the cherry picker and secured them to the top of the lighthouse. Despite very heavy weather the memorial remains in place for Remembrance week and hopefully beyond. Thank you to all the hundreds of people who made poppies for us, from primary school children to octogenarians. This has been a wonderful project and we are so grateful to the town for being so enthusiastic about the project.
Mixing history and art is when I am generally happiest and I have had such a great experience with the 180 students at TCS, the research team at Wealdstone and with my fellow towns people in our little seaside town. I just wish that humans could move beyond remembering the horrors of war to learning from these lessons of history.
Just over a year ago I started on a wonderful journey into the past with Teignmouth Community School. The Year 7 pupils researched Teignmouth in WWI and then I led drawing workshops with the 180 children to produce drawings on this theme. The results were great and you can see all the original pictures and read about the process here.
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.
I don’t usually add text to my own work, but I have written a little bit of text that goes around the edge. No idea where this new found poetic streak has come from!
The panel is called Woodland Education and the words say
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.
I have just installed this large window, which I have been working on for the last couple of months. It is just over a metre square and is situated in the lounge/diner of a modern bungalow. The client was keen to obscure the view from the window: an ugly brick wall and as she has a special love of the Island of Tresco a landscape seemed like the perfect solution.
The window has lots of details, to keep the viewer interested over a long period. As well as using a wide range of textures and types of stained glass (from antique, mouth blown glass to modern, machine rolled iridescent water glass) and have acid etched shells into the glass in the border and painted agapanthus (in a mixture of glass enamels and lustre, which were then fired in the kiln) and other natural details in the panel itself.
The window sits in front of a double glazed window, resting on the window sill and is screwed into the window surround with small brackets and thanks to my helpful dad who made a frame for the panel to sit in.
The Tresco panel has transformed the room and because it is visible from the front door, it has added the ‘wow factor’ to the property from the minute you walk in. It was such a dark, grey day today the photos really don’t do the piece credit; but I am assured that in a brief break in the clouds, the sun was shining through the panel and sending colourful blocks of coloured light around the room.
I get quite nervous about delivering work, what if it doesn’t fit? What if they hate it? But it fits perfectly and the client emailed me to say , “Thank you for the beautiful window! As the light is going the colours coming through are stunning-doesn’t show when photo taken-and earlier sitting on the sofa looking at it -wow!” So I can rest easy, phew!