You may remember that last year during Lockdown One, I wrote a sequence of poems called 'Breathe', which I then illustrated to create a book. For one of the poems, 'Swim', I made made a whole sequence of images, always trying to get closer to the experience of resurfacing through the water back to breathing air.
As I said in my blog (June 2020) some of these ideas started moving sideways into sketches for glass. Some seemed more likely to succeed than others, but I have learned to keep everything, just in case.
A friend expressed an interest in these ideas for glass, as she is also a keen swimmer and loves the experience of looking up at the light, from under the water. Once she had moved house and created a new room on the back, the stage was set - I was invited to create a design for a stained glass panel, not for the window (they are all folding doors), but for the wall. I managed to visit, with all the doors thrown open for ventilation in these strange times, to firm up the idea: we decided to illuminate the glass from behind, by creating a light box of about 50 by 50 cm. So I set to work, revisiting the earlier sketches, but coming at it afresh.
I wanted to capture the movement of the swimmer and the water and the sense of the boundary between water and air. I was happy to have it unclear as to whether she is dropping down into the water or rising up out of it.
I was able to show Judith some designs and a selection of glass and below is the chosen design, with instructions from Judith not to make her look as if she is wearing a 'tankini'! The sky, with its radiating lines, seems slightly art deco, which suits the house. It was built in the 1930's in Florence Park, Oxford, for workers at Morris Motors in Cowley.
Now I can move on to cutting the glass and starting the making process - I will keep you posted!
If you are interested in the poetry book, please take a look here.
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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