I have been working on these doors for a converted chapel on the edge of Dartmoor since October and finally we got them installed this week. The site is full of character and has the most amazing original stained glass from when the building was a working place of worship. The customers wanted something much more modern and secular to fit into the doors between the living room and the kitchen and I created a loose Dartmoor scene leading up to Hounds Tor. As you get closer to the glass smaller details become apparent and there are lots of trees, butterflies and even a tiny hawk hovering in the sky. I have added some acid etching and small areas of lustre.
The biggest challenge with these windows is the fact they are so big. at 213cm tall they are considerably bigger than me. I used rigid zinc came for all the straight lines to keep the weight of the panels to a minimum and to give added strength and finer lead lines for the pattern. A good template is the basis of all stained glass and thankfully the
For the second part of my project, I took my stained glass window templates to Teignmouth Community School, Mill Lane and worked with Miss Radford and Miss Goodwin’s year 4/5 classes over two afternoons.
After a brief history and explanation of stained glass – I got the children working on their task, to design a stained glass window with a message to the world about something they cared about. As stained glass windows were the picture books of their time, conveying messages, to support the bible stories of the Vicar sermons. The pupils of Mill Lane were ALL about saving the planet, the windows reflect their frustrations and fears about plastic pollution and endangered animals. Some were about commemorating war and some were to do with commemorating dead relatives and promoting charities like cancer care charities.
Thank you so much to the pupils and staff at Mill Lane for their hard work and enthusiasm. I hope you agree their pictures are delightful. Here is a selection of them.
I will begin hanging them all at St Michaels church in the next week and then all the children and their families can come and see their art exhibition. Several of the designs will be turned into larger banners for the church to display into the future.
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.
St Michael’s have kindly allowed myself and talented artist Rachael Bennett to exhibit our Devon Open Studios 2018 show (8-22nd September) in the church and we are using the opportunity to make work in response to the history, architecture and landscape of this well loved landmark during the event.
For Open studios I am planning to create a large artwork on the social history of the church, so many Teignmouthian’s have passed through the building, in Christening gown, wedding dress or onto their final resting place and I want to explore all the human history of the church during open studios.
My intention is to fire lots of photographic images of people’s christenings, marriages and funerals onto glass and make a stained glass celebrating the history of the church and it’s congregation.
BUT to make this work I need of photos! I am asking everyone who has passed through the doors of the church to send me a copy of their favourite photos of these life events.
Did your grandparents get married there?
Did you get married there?
Would you like to remember a special person whose funeral was held there? Have you got photos in your family album that I could scan and add to the artwork?
I promise to use the images respectfully, to make a gorgeous glass panel celebrating our town’s social history. I intend to have a silent auction on the panel at the end of the event to raise funds for the church repair appeal.
If you already have a digital copy of a photograph you would like to share with me then please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Really enjoyed making these two large stained glass panels for a historic house in Teignmouth. The house already had a beautiful, large original stained glass windows. Some of which were skillfully painted in the high Victorian style. I took inspiration from details of these original windows and some inspiration from a Medieval book of medicinal plants called ‘The New Herbal’ from the 1530’s (in Exeter Library Rare Book Collection) with its many woodcut images of plants. Continue reading “New stained glass for a historic house”