Posts Tagged 'art'

268 Poppies

268 poppiesp1020287 , one for every man from the local area who died in World War One. Each made by hand to recognise the sacrifices made 1p102028600 years ago defending our country.

These poppies are made from wire and tissue paper, with a painted centre and they are hung round The Great Anchor (between the Train Station and Teignmouth and Shaldon Museum). We are asking people to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Great War by photographing the poppies as they disintegrate over the coming days and emailing an image to us at westsidestoryproject@gmail.com A selection of these images will be exhibited in the museum when it opens again in the spring as part of their World War One exhibition.

 

p1020276p1020273 The poppies took around 60 people 20 hours to make and we will watch them disintegrate over the coming week in contemplation of the futility of war.

The Teign Heritage Centre  funded me to run 10 workshops in Teignmouth, with older people and families in the Museum, TAAG, Leander Court and at The Meadow Centre Craft Group. Many thanks to all the hands that helped with the flowers, I hope you agree they look extremely striking, we got lots of p1020283very positive comments whilst setting it up.

Many tp1020267hanks to Museum Volunteer Christina Siviter for helping me install the artwork. p1020280
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Permanent sunshine

I just fitted this panel into a new garden room in a 1970’s house in Dawlish, so now they can have sunshine however dull and rainy it is outside!  And its pretty dull and rainy today!

The customers really liked Art Deco period style and so I used the colours and stylised forms of Deco to create this  very long, but very short panel

This is a 2 metre long, but only 25 cm high traditional leaded panel fitted in front of a double glazed unit and will be beaded in when the room is decorated.

Stained Glass sunrise art deco style stained glass window Sunrise stained glass detail stained glass window garden room sunrise and clouds

A Toast to the Hosts!

This week I am enjoying the hospitality of Adele and Mike Yates, in their wonderful historic home ‘Mallards’. Their son Ben Yates has his Adele and Mike Yatesstudio there and we have taken over the barn and woodland for a week, with a fabulous art exhibition. We are open every day until Sunday 10th August. Click here for details

There are 5 artists showing their work in total (and I will post about the others later), but today I am going to focus on the magical world of Ben’s Electi-Citiewpid-20140805_114640.jpgs and Photocubism.

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The Electri-Cites are being displayed in a blacked out room! For good 20140805_114707reason, they all light up with hundreds of LED lights and are made entirely from discarded electrical goods, from bits of old washing machines to 20140805_114818DVD players. These are fascinating micro worlds, complete with tiny people and the dark room is like a big magical disco!

Photocubism it Ben’s other concept. Here he makes 3D20140805_115107 pictures made up of many small square digital photos, to great effect. Keep up with Ben’s wonderful creations here20140805_115113

Art in the Sun Poster

Checking on the sculptues

image

It’s summer on the South Devon coast and the 10th year of TRAIL (Teignmouth recycled art in landscape). I enter every year and this year I have made 3 exstinct birds from broken washing machines and old junk. They are (from the left) a Great Aulk, Do Do and Solomon Island Crested Pigeon. Every day we go check on them, make sure they are happy in their roosts and that their solar light eyes still work. My kids have never known any different. An annual ritual as ingrained as leaving a snack for Father Christmas. http://www.trail.org.uk

Aloha Teignmouth!

Aloha Teignmouth Stained Glass Hibiscus flower Having relocated 12 miles from Exeter to South Devon last winter it is amazing to have our first summer in our seaside house!  I am finally back into a good work routine (these things are so dependant on the delicate family/ life balance) and I am preparing for a packed summer of shows and exhibitions!

stained glass hibiscus flower red and yellow paintedThe new house and my exhibition schedule have crossed over in a serendipitous way and I am making some panels which just so happen to be the right size for windows inseaside stained glass our house, so I can install them at home after they have been on tour.  Aloha Teignmouth has been designed for my kitchen door. We live in a 30’s semi with original internal doors and these doors have lovely proportions; but I cannot live with the existing frosted glass and view of the recycling boxes behind (what self respecting glass worker would) so I have made this homage to all things Hawaiian and tropical. This playful panel is intended to liven up our white and black kitchen scheme, obscure the less attractive aspects of modern life from indoors and is a great chance for me to work ‘off brief’. The view of the cliffs and beach huts in the background  of the panel is the view out of the main kitchen window; I do like it when I get to reference the settings of the windows in some way, windows after all are part of the houses architecture.

The outside world keeps on turning and Gloss Gallery summer show is already up and running, which I am pleased to be part of and as the summer holidays grow nearer I am feverishly working on my recycled sculpture for TRAIL 2014 and working towards my first Devon Open Studios in Teignmouth, I will be stained glass door panel 1930ssharing the TAAG gallery with 3 very talented artist friends and we are all working on new pieces for that.

stained glass beach huts detail

Anyway, the sun is shining and recycled washing machines do not turn themselves into sculptures, so I will head out into the Sunday sunshine.

Exeter Community Centre Multi-Sensory Window Commission

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A yRound the Mulberry Tree in situear and a half in the making (from initial idea to finished piece) with a lot of mistakes and disasters along the way; my multi sensory glass window is finally in its new home!  ‘Round the Mulberry Tree and Up the Chocolate Stairs’  is in the foyer and the Mulberry Tree Cafe in Exeter Community Centre on St David’s Hill, Exeter. Below is the full explanation of what on earth its all about. It’s a bit. wordy, but that really reflects how absorbing I have found the process and the social history that underpins the window.

The background

In 1838 The West of England School (WESA) opened its doors to offer ‘instruction and employment’ to blind children across the whole of the West of England. The school grew and by the 1930’s was offering boarding school accommodation, to children with visual disabilities from a wide area. Basket weaving, piano tuning and other vocational skills were being taught to ensure that children left school with employable skills. It’s hard to imagine what it must have felt like to be a small, visually impaired child, separated from your parents (who were as far away as Bristol) and expected to learn to adapt to a new city and an enormous school building. But adapt they did! Some pupils stayed at the school when they graduated and worked there until their retirements, others became piano tuners and basket weavers and far more besides.cast glass piano keys

I was funded by Arts and Health (MMU) and Exeter Arts Council to create a glass panel for the foyer/café of ECC specifically to engage local people over 60 in the Arts.  So in August 2013 I held a one day workshop in the ECC with the some of the alumni of the school and the other organisers and artists contributing to the larger picture . All participants had been pupils there (before the school moved to a new purpose built site in 1965).

The workshop was intended to be part oral memory capture, part engaging local older people in the arts and ultimately to create artwork which I could incorporate into a finished window for the Community Centre. Basket weaving was the obvious choice for our workshop activity, as it was taught widely in the school. The workshop participants still had a good memory for how to weave and we spent the day weaving recycled electrical wiring and remembering the past.

The workshop was a great success; as most of the participants were children in the 1930-50’s and they not only gave me all the material I needed for my panel, but took my back through the history of the area, the terror of the blitz, what all the buildings in the local area were used for and the joys and pains of being a visually impaired child in a boarding school. It was a touching day for all, especially the joy of realising the ancient mulberry tree was still in the garden and then eating the fruit and the disappointment that the chocolate stairs had been removed. The Chocolate Stairs were so named by the children at the school because they were inlaid with squares of wood which resembled the chunks of a chocolate bar.

The Panel

Originally I had intended to make a stained glass window, but it seemed wrong to make a 2d piece of visual art which visually impaired people could not enjoy fully and so I decided to mix photographic firing with textured, touchable glass work.

Three separate rectangular panes of glass are zinc framed and represent the austerity and formality of the building and the teaching that went on within it. Many of the voices were positive about their time in the school and this panel is a celebration of that. But several voices were not so happy and found the building a difficult place to be and were glad to leave.

From the café side of the panel there is no clear images; instead lights, shapes, suggestions of form and texture reflects the experience of visual impairment. Most visually impaired people have some sight, be it fuzzy shapes or shadows and this side of the window attempts to recreate this experience. From the foyer the textural elements of the panel come into play and you are welcome to touch it GENTLY!

The pancast glass mulberriesel really celebrates the exuberance of childhood, I have cast mulberries, mulberry leaves from the tree and the basket weaving created by the participants of the workshop. The colourful nature and multi-plane texture of the piece reflects the different memories and stories – all the fragments of memory coming and going and building on each other. At the bottom right of the top panel there are several balls of wool cast into the glass. These were saved by one of the pupils from their darning lessons and I am so glad I managed to cast them, especially as they had such a delicate texture.

Music in general was very important to the school, which produced excellent musicians and piano tuners, hence the musical notes and the piano keyboard I have cast for cast glass braillethe central section. The school sold many high quality items of basket weaving and the area where the foyer now is would have been part of the shop area, hence all the basket weave textures.

All of the photos have been reproduced with kind permission of WESA, from their archive and all depict the pupils and teachers at the school. The seated 19th Century gent is Robert Hawkins and the only photo I have a name for.

The panel has been made from many small pieces of cast glass which is a technically difficult and time consuming process and if I am honest at times I thought I may never get all the elements to work!  Firstly, I create a mould, using clay and plaster and once I am happy with the mould I fill it with glass and heat in the kiln until it melts to form the shape of the mould. Once cool these are ‘cold worked’ to remove all sharp edges and I have then attached these to a traditional window backing. The finished effect has the formality of the flat window on one side and  the jutting and contours of the textured glass on the other.

Many thanks to everyone who helped with the workshop and participated, especially Stuart Crewes who was a great help through the whole process, my first ever funding application too!

From dawn till dusk

sunset cowparsley stained glass panel

sunrise stained glass seed headmidday teasels photographic print

The school Easter holidays are in full swing; but I being a self employed artist and a mum means my days are full of sandy children for the next couple of weeks and working life needs to be pushed to the margins. Early mornings and after kids bedtimes have become my hours of work, this is how I worked through their preschool years and I am glad I learned to juggle all of these competing demands right from the children being babies, as I can slip into it quite easily now. But it does slow me down! and I am glad to have this triptych of panels packaged up to go to their new home in Cambridgeshire, as their new owner has been most patient!

The brief for the commission was to create three 30 cm square panels, each reflecting a different part of the day from sunrise to sunset. The client provided some of her photos for me to include and wanted a version of my ever popular teasels photo in the mix too.  The three panels are to run vertically down an internal wall  in a newly remodelled kitchen and the colours go from subtle yellows and light blues at sunrise to purples and pinks for a dramatic sunset.

The panels are made by firing photographic images onto the glass in my kiln and then leading them up in the same way as any other traditional leaded stained glass panel. The photographic images are permanently attached to the glass so the panels are as durable as normal stained glass.

Anyway, off to the post office and beach, in that order to get these panels off to their new home! Enjoy the sunshine on this sunny Monday morning.

 

 

 

The Hare and The Moon

The Hare and The Moon

Leaded round panel with a hare and moon painted in kiln fired glass paints and lustre. Inspired by the Indian folk tale of the same name

Red Bamboo and Dragon flies

Bamboo and Dragon fly, bespoke stained glass window

Bamboo and Dragon fly, bespoke stained glass window

This panel was installed last week, it fills a window between the kitchen and dining room in a 1930’s house in Exeter. The opening between the front and back of the house allows more light into the kitchen area as well as a wonderful focal point for both rooms.

Every commission comes with a brief and I managed to create a design that had bright colours and bamboo and water with dragonflies.

There is a pleasing sense of movement in the bamboo due to using Spectrum Water Glass and I have painted the shading and detail onto the bamboo stems.

I have used a mixture of antique mouth blown glass and modern Spectrum Glass. I have used traditional glass paints and luster which Dragon Fly and Bamboo Detailhave been fired in the kiln. This is a big panel and to give it extra strength I have used some internal reinforcing and a rigid metal frame.

To find out what the differences between different types of glass are click here 

See how mouth blown stained glass is made at Lambert’s UK glass factory by clicking here

The big reveal!

looking up at Mountain Ash in situThis year for Devon Open Studios I decided to have a change of scene and participate in a couple of sculpture trails. As a result, Yarner Wood has been the main focus of my work for a while now, its a English Nature reserve outside Bovey Tracey on the edge of Dartmoor and is being restored to a Western Oak Wood. The theme of the trail is man’s relationship with the environment and I have taken the history of the wood as inspiration for my pieces which combine cross sections of tree trunk from Yarner Wood (48ish year old Douglas Fir) with fused and mosaic glass. Speaking to the staff at the woods gave me the idea of the wood being at the heart of all the human activity in the woods and in turn human activity having shaped the woods use and appearance. This is turn led The bomb that saved the wood, detailto the idea of taking the core, or heart out of the discs of wood and fill them with glass pieces; the juxtaposition of the natural wood and the very modern man made glass is very appealing to me. There are 10 artists exhibiting on this fabulous trail from conceptual to sound artists and everything in between and I am very excited to be part of such an interesting project.

I picked the tree trunk up in 3 and 6 inch cross sections, with quite a lot of wild life attached and I must confess it was a bit daunting….but then my ever useful Dad arrived and looking up at Mountain Ash 2cut all the central cores out of the slabs of wood, many thanks to him, I would never get any sculptures made without his patience! Each of the sculptures is cast to the size of the individual holes and are made from recycled waste glass. This series of sculptures is my largest series of sculptures to date and I am very pleased with the results.

green man 2The first piece on the trail is my take on the age old Green Man ‘Welcome to the Woods’, it is right at the start of the trail and is there to welcome people to the woods, reflecting man’s symbiotic relationship with nature and the timeless cycle of life.  The first firing of this piece cast all the scraps of clear, green and yellow glass into a disc shape, then I painted the design on and fired it again.

Becoming Autumn is the second piece on the trail. Again I used recycled waste glass (this time Spectrum 96 series), and depicted oak leaves changing Becoming Autumn in situcolour as the season changes. The trail starts at the beginning of autumn and it seemed like a great reflection of human enjoyment of nature for leisure, a very modern use of the natural environment!

My third piece on the trail is also inspired by the modern use of woodland for peace and reflection. ‘ Looking up at Mountain Ash’ takes inspiration from the wonderful Rowan trees in the wood and the simple pleasure of looking up at the shapes and light of the woodland. As with the previous piece this one is fused with small scraps of Spectrum 96 glass. While I was installing this piece I had a fabulous interaction with a young male deer (whose antlers were still small and fuzzy) who came bounding through the wood, regarded me and then turned and bounded on through the undergrowth.

copper blue in situThe wood has not always been a tranquil retreat from the pressures of modern life and 150 years ago a very active copper mine was on the site, lots of charcoal burning and the lord of the manor owned the area and exercised his horses on the wood. The next piece ‘Copper Blue’ riffs on this history, the blue glass is copper bearing and the cast disc has copper sheet inclusions and is hung between two fence posts, a prolific sign of how humans have shaped the wood!

In World War II the wood was earmarked to be cut down to assist with timber for the war effort, however, when a German bomber discharged his last bombs after a raid on Plymouth (in order to get home faster) the wood was hit and many of the trees then grew twisted and damaged, no good for timber manufacturing. This has inspired the next piece ‘The Bomb that Saved the Wood’.  Here 2 pieces hang one above the other. The top one has 2 discs of glass bang! detailwithin it to give a sense of depth and fire and the one below has a fun Pop Art feel with the word BANG painted across it.

The trail now turns a corner and the piece of the woodland really encompasses you, this is where I have placed my last hollowed wood piece, ‘Tranquil’. Tranquil cast acorns detailI have used various pieces of blue and sea green scrap glass to create the disc and then cast a separate acorns and oak leaves from crushed cast glass which have then be attached to the disc.

I continued with cast glass objects for the next piece, ‘Which came first?’. Here I have mosaic waste white and cream scraps of glass to the shape of the central core of the wood, which is happily egg shaped and then attached my cast glass bird. I am very pleased with both my cast pieces and this is a skill I am very much still learning this complicated area of glass art! which came first

cogs in situMy final serious sculpture on the trail is ‘Cogs’ made to express how we are all part of the great machine of life I have taken 3 of the cores my Dad removed from the wood and created different coloured bands which match up with the tree rings below.

All this serious art work is all well and good, but we all need a bit of fun and to add this to my trail I have made a child side bird house from recycled marine ply, which I got from the fabulous Bristol Wood Recycling Project. Permanent markers will be available for visitors to decorate the bird house as the pass it and lots of colourful material will be inside for children to make their own birds nest.

The trail opens on Saturday 7th September and is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the 22nd September, refreshments are available in the woodland centre and the trail is free and only 2.5 km, so a child friendly distance! click on the link for more details http://www.artecology.co.uk/page2.php

Our preview is Saturday 7th September and all the artists will be on hand to talk about their work and show people round the trail.

 

 


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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