I wanted to create something rich and delicious for an exhibition at West Ox Arts called 'Food'. I was thinking about the highlight of being invited to dinner at an Oxford college, in my opinion: after the three or four courses comes an optional course - 'dessert'. Taken in a candlelit panelled room, with port, dessert wines, cheeses, fruit, nuts and little chocolates...and of course, mellow and free-flowing conversation.
Clearly, this was going to take some researching, but the nuts and crackers were just for drawing, as I never eat in the studio, given how poisonous my medieval materials are.
Slowly, the design developed, and I needed to observe the effect of candlelight on the glass decanter.
I tested three different ways of painting the little coffee cup.
It was all starting to come together, although it is hard to judge the overall effect until the painted pieces are fired in the kiln.
The pieces were painted, fired, leaded, cemented and ready to go. I aimed to continue the line of the lead in the suggested edge of the table behind the decanter and the candlestick. I blacked the leads with grate polish to give them a glossy dark finish.
Then it seemed a shame not to make a 'baby' dessert to go with it: just coffee, port, cheese and grapes. Very civilised.
Both panels will be on display at West Ox Arts from 25 August to 17 December and are for sale at £325 and £125.
This week, by chance, I found the most fantastic programme on BBC iplayer, called 'Britain's most fragile masterpiece'. It is about the restoration of York Minster's Great East Window, which is the largest medieval stained glass window in the country, composed of 311 panels. The programme argues that it is an achievement on a par with the Sistine Chapel, only 100 years earlier. Janina Ramirez presents it as a window into the medieval mind and world view. Marvellous - do have a look.
My work is for sale along with over twenty other local artists at West Ox Arts Gallery in Bampton. The show opened today and today's Oxford Mail includes a great article all about it, using this photo of me. Lovely to meet the other artists and great that the gallery was full of people enjoying the show. I I am showing stained glass panels and fused glass dishes, coasters and sculptural pieces, such as my 'Wavelengths' which are designed to stand on a windowsill or glass shelf.
There is a good variety of work, attractively displayed and the show continues until 18 August.
I am just back from a trip to Reading Stained Glass, returning with these gorgeous reds and purples. Some are plain glass, some seeded (with little bubbles) and some wispy. It was a rather expensive trip, but I need this palette of colours because I am designing a panel for an themed show called FOOD and my mind is turning to dessert at High Table: port, grapes, cheeses, raspberries, chocolates....
I always start designing by drawing from observation, so I need grapes, a decanter, glasses, a candlestick...
Anyone for more port?
Cement, whiting, cleaning...
Finally - ready to fly!
I am looking forward to hanging it in the client's home next week. I hope she likes it.
.The painted pieces have come out of kiln nice and black and shiny. I have checked the balance of the design by sticking the pieces on a glass easel with bits of plasticine, and holding it up to the light. Now they are all ready to be leaded and soldered, to create a hanging panel.
This is the reverse, so you can see the roughness of the paint where it is thicker. All I need to do now is the really messy bit - cementing.
I have been working on a commissioned panel for a client in Bampton, who loves the swifts which return each year to swoop around her rooftop in Bampton, as they also swoop around the sky over my studio here in Charlbury.
She also wants to celebrate her view of the tall spire of St Mary's Church. In completing the design I have also drawn on the acers in her front garden, the lovely portico and my own enthusiasm for old church doorways.
Now I have chosen and cut the glass and started painting.
Gradually the design builds up. Tomorrow I need to complete the last piece - remembering to reverse the date! - and then the pieces can be fired in the kiln.
Ever optimistic, I set off in wellies to find signs of spring up the lane off The Slade, up to the nature reserve pond and beyond. Having gathered some catkins, pussy willow and added some forsythia from the garden, I settled down to draw, with a view to making a series of small, detailed painted panels to hang in windows.
I sponge a 'matt' of tracing black paint onto the glass and then draw into it, revealing the glass underneath. Here are some pieces ready for firing in the kiln. I then have to wait a day and a half to see how they turn out. Patience required...
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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