When I'm making a new glass piece I tend to take a lot of pictures as I'm going along so that when I go home at night I can sit with a cup of tea and mull over my progress - rock and roll lifestyle, I know! Since I have all these pictures documenting my progress step-by-step I thought it might be nice to give you all a peek into my creative process and let you see how my stained glass designs come together.
When designing for a new stained glass artwork or window I usually try to focus on creating a strong and cohesive design first and worry about how I'm going to actually make it in stained glass later. However it is worth bearing in mind that some shapes are really difficult to cut. It is really tricky to cut glass into wild concave shapes and even if you succeed, it usually creates a weak point that might break later when you are leading up, cementing or transporting your panels.
There are many ways you can approach your design. You can create leadlines around every separate colour, which can work well in certain instances but is not really my personal preference. In the design above for example, I have tried to place the leadlines in such a way as to highlight the main features of the design, adding extra finer details with etching, glass paints, stains and enamels.
In this design I have used flash glass, a clear glass with a very thin layer of colour on top, which can be etched to create a whole range of effects. It's my favourite glass to use as it allows me to introduce several colours to a single piece of glass and create delicate details that would otherwise be swamped by heavy leadlines.
It can also be lightly etched to create colour gradients. The rose in this design has been sandblasted to create a colour gradient that emphasizes the different tones in the petals. Silver stain has then been applied to create a soft mixture of pink, orange and yellow hues. The candles have also been lightly etched then silver stained, allowing them to softly emerge from the background without the need for harsh leadlines around them.
The panel has then been glazed with a mixture of leads - thick leads around the clock face and the rose to pull them into the foreground and thinner leads around the other details to push them back. I solder the whole thing together back and front, add cement then voila! The piece is finished.
Did you find this article helpful? Is there anything you would like to know more about? Please add a comment below and let me know.
I am delighted to announce that the window I designed for Canterbury Cathedral has been installed. In 2012 I entered a competition to design a window for the cloisters of the cathedral to honour the Garfield Weston Foundation – a charitable trust and generous supporters of the cathedral.
My design ‘Gathering’ is inspired by the image of a wheat field in a gentle summer breeze and incorporates beautiful autumnal colour including oranges, golden yellows, pink and peach tones. The imagery of wheat is intended to honour the heritage of the Garfield Weston Foundation who have been very generous supporters of Canterbury Cathedral and to whom the window is dedicated. It also refers to the original purpose of the cathedral cloisters and is a theme which has a profound spiritual significance in christianity.
I was very pleased to hear that my design had been selected from a strong field of applicants. The glass was made in the cathedral glass studio by Grace Ayson who interpreted my design beautifully. The window was officially unveiled and dedicated at a lovely ceremony on Monday 2nd June. As the cathedral is such a historic and important building all new additions to it have to be considered extremely carefully. I am immensely proud to have contributed something to this wonderful building which will adorn the cathedral cloisters for centuries to come.
I recently completed a large stained glass window commission for a lovely couple who live locally to me. I worked with the couple to come up with a design that would complement their beautiful contemporary home. Bill and Debbie have been planning their self-build home for a long time and the progress of their build is being documented on Bill's website. It's well worth taking a look.
I currently have some artwork on display in a group exhibition at the Big Mouth Cafe in Glasgow including a collage and some etchings. The exhibition runs until the end of November. Opening times:
This page is regularly updated with news of my recent exhibitions, commissions and any other exciting glass related news I may have to share. Please feel free to comment and please check back often.