I was asked to design and make stained glass to fill a very narrow 'arrowslit' window in the sitting room of a house in Charlbury. The house is modern, but built in traditional Cotswold materials. Most of the light in the room floods in from large full height windows to the garden. This little window is to the side, facing West, where it catches the sinking sun.
The clients were open to the idea of an abstract or semi-abstract design, and initially only imagined having a panel within the top of the window space, being concerned not to lose too much light. I thought a whole window would work better, with more happening, in richer darker colours, at the top, fading to clearer glasses at the bottom. The tall narrow shape was a design challenge in itself.
Happily, while I was musing, my husband bought home some lilies, which I always enjoy drawing. It struck me that I could take a visual slice of the lilies in the vase, with intricate parts of the lily flowers above, and the simpler lines of the stems below. I could even use the water line. I took initial colour ideas from some Japanese prints in the room: rich amber and blue, and I planned to use pale, reamy, bubbly glasses for the underwater area.
Gradually naturalistic drawings were simplified into a set of designs to show the clients: essence of lilies and water, not all the detail.
Happily, we agreed on the best design. My next step was to source all the materials, make the full size cutline drawing and get making. It is quite a process, and took me four weeks. Here is the slideshow:
Even though the panel is now complete, and the frame is strengthened with reinforced lead, plus the soldering and cementing, I will be cautious in handling it, even when it is fully dry. I am dying to see it upright against the light, but I must wait until I can take it to the client's house and get it set into the window cavity with a wooden frame. I do hope they like it.
I am a glass artist based in Charlbury, Oxfordshire. I work in stained and fused glass. I work to commission and teach stained glass in my studio. I open my studio to visitors during Oxfordshire Artweeks.
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