As lockdown was lifted I was delighted to be asked to design and make a second arrow-slit window as a companion to 'Vase of Lilies' I made for a house in Charlbury last year (see my blog of of June 2019). The clients wanted a window with a family resemblance, and this created an interesting design challenge for me - not only the extreme narrow form again, but how to make something similar, but different. It is on the opposite side of the sitting room, with morning rather than evening light and again it would mask a not very inspiring side view of fences etc. (The room also has very attractive views over fields, trees and distant hills).
Should I design more flowers in a vase, but with a different colour scheme? Perhaps spring flowers in the morning window, as a companion to more autumnal colours in the first? Or use the same colours, with a contrasting design? I knew the clients were not keen on me using paint on the glass, so the design was all about the colour/texture and the lines of the leads. I was keen to reuse the method I use before of taking a narrow slice of a wider picture, which creates more impact and a degree of abstraction.
Three different designs emerged: a garden scene, a deep view from the rear of the house and finally, a more abstract design based on reflections. For this one I returned to photographs I took several years ago of daffodils reflected in my parents' pond.
The design based on the garden steps going up through the border was my favourite for this project and I was very pleased that that was the clients' choice. It was based on a lot of drawing and photography over the summer - and a deep sense of gratitude to have a lovely garden to nurture and enjoy during this difficult year. Given that I had to keep visits to the clients' house to a minimum, it was helpful that their garden also contains step, slopes and tall flowers.
When resolving the design, I kept looking back at the cutline for the 'Lilies' window to make sure they would complement each other.
Somewhere in my mind was Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish designer at the turn of the twentieth century - I will never forget my visit to the Glasgow School of Art and the famous Willow Tea Rooms.
Many colour studies later, work began, as you can see in the slideshow below.
Now the cement is curing, and I am looking forward to the installation. I do hope the sibling windows get on well together.
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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