Archive for July, 2011

Trees, fields and grasses in glass!

I have just completed 3 panels for Newton St Cyres Manor House. The massive stately home has been converted into generous apartments with huge windows allowing light to flood in…perfect for stained glass windows! My brief was to create panels for 2 doors, the owners enjoy nature and the extensive grounds of the building ; so I started by taking photos of the shared grounds and local landscape. The first panel was a small piece to go into a newly carved oak Arts and Crafts style front door (created by local Master Carpenter Adam Bishop who I have worked with before) and then 2 panels for the large internal hall door (the half panels are over 1 metre long).

I was struck by the history of the house and I wanted this to be reflected in the windows;Newton St Cyres has a wonderful arboretum with a special bridge from the house to the gardens and I wanted this reflected too.  Reading the history of the Manor house, which goes back to medieval times, I was struck with the importance of wheat and trees in the rise and decline of the houses fortunes and my theme was chosen!

The front door panel is only small and I wanted to create a piece that would really make a statement, like a small jewel and so I chose vibrant colours for the oak tree motif, using orange and red water glass to give a sense of movement to the branches. I painted the detail with traditional kiln fired glass painted and scraped the paint off to create the texture and detail of the tree trunk.

The internal panels are much larger and the clients liked the idea of grasses bending towards each other, so I created a panel based on the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside. I once more used the paint scraping technique to add the details to the seed heads of the grasses and the finished pieces are very effective!

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Under the Weather

Spent a blustery afternoon on Teignmouth Sea Front today putting up my entry into the annual TRAIL sculpture exhibition. Open to anyone TRAIL has one main rule- your sculpture has to be at least 70% from recycled materials and have some kind of environmental message. Unfortunately we did not receive any funding this year, to the usual grand opening, winners prizes, posters and postcards are absent, but there are still over 30 sculptures to be enjoyed on a free TRAIL from Shaldon Botanical Gardens to Dawlish via Teignmouth sea front.

Every year I make use of my scrap waste glass (a by product of my stained glass business) and this year was no exception, I pieced hundreds of pieces of waste glass (too small to do anything else with) together into rain drop shapes and fused them in my kiln. I have made around 140 in total and these were all strung from a frame made of old office shelving brackets my dad found for me with an old chicken wire cloud filled with empty paint pots and flower pots from a local decorator. I hope my piece symbolises how the weather is affected by our actions on the ground and how much waste we produce. The weather is always awful on the day I put my sculpture up and at least today it wasn’t raining………but gale force winds forecast for tomorrow, so fingers crossed it will still be there!

More of my raindrops will be hung over the river at Dawlish in the week and after the exhibition finishes all of the raindrops will be sold off individually for The Helen Foundation, a local charity working to encourage and enable young people to participate in the arts. Lets just hope the weather, seagulls and passers by are kind to it! I will also have lots of work on exhibition in the TRAIL Inside indoor exhibition at the TAAG Gallery, Teignmouth from August to September 2011

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A special commemorative piece

I have just finished a very special piece for a family who have had to cope with the horrible loss of 4 babies. If I am honest I found it quite hard to get started on the panel as I am a mother myself and the reality of such loss is quite overwhelming. However, meeting the clients to discuss the options really helped and I hope they are pleased with the finished design. 

The brief was to incorporate the children’s names and the motifs of tear drops and butterflies. The clients chose the glass and we tried to incorporate the children’s birth stone colours.

I decided on a free flowing shape edged with bubbles and with a sense of movement. The clients decided on a flow of stars and butterflies running through the panel and they love colour (I understand their house is very colourful and original!)

Firstly I cut the glass, then painted the design, I initially wanted the paint work to be subtle but it was getting lost in the streaky cathedral glass so I went for strong, simple lines so the design would work at a distance. Once fired I leaded up the panel, as I didn’t use the traditional right angle straight line template I had to use a lot of nails and a bit of ingenuity to create the shape.

I really hope that the family like the piece and that it honours the memory of the children and helps them move into the future.

Happily the family includes children who are very much alive and well and doing their bit for charity; have a look here if you would like to help him raise money for charity www.justgiving.com/Charlie-Millard

Please excuse my photographs, my camera seems to be loosing the ability to focus!     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I am a stained glass artist working in Exeter and a busy mum of 2; trying to carve a path through the tide of washing and children's toys that stands between me and making beautiful things.

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