Today I will return covered in the dust and decay of ages as I will be removing a church window. The window will be set in a stone surround and can have been in place for many, many years. Image that the window has been in place since before you were born! It is often true that church windows are not regularly cleaned so there can be dust and cobwebs inside as well as traffic dirt and other residue on the outside of the window. Removing a window is called a ‘hack out’. This suggests a violent attack on the window. It is more like the desperate attack of the stained glass artist attacking the surrounding stone working to remove the window without breaking the glass. It is a delicate job for such a term as ‘hack out’. As you get up close to the glass you can see how the window was made and it is here you make the connection with the original artist. The techniques of cutting, painting and creating the window using lead calms have changed little over the centuries. I will take the window back to the studio to clean and remake as the original artist would have done. Once repaired and restored the window will return and perhaps stay in place for another 100 or so years until the next artist returns to care for the window again.
There are many skills you need and some you develop but the skills for exhibitions are not high on my list. Working with stained glass suggests you have some good art and design skills. Moving this skill into a business means that you have then added a set of commercial skills to you art skills to develop you business. In a large business each of these areas have specialists departments to navigate the difficulties and skills needed. However, in a small business all workers need to have more than one specialism and the owner often needs to have many skills that they didn’t know we’re necessary. So now Stained Glass Studio have done a series of exhibitions and displays we have to be able to put up an exhibition in minutes. Our theories are; don’t rely on what they say they provide, make sure your display or stand can be put up by you alone, make sure you have power cables and extension leads and finally depend on yourself. Make it simple, and make sure you can cope is a small or large space as you don’t know what you will be given. After all this you will be expected, within seconds, to turn around and be happy and cheerful to meet the public. This is a role that learning your art skills and then your business skills did not prepare you for. Sometimes you must think about how comfortable it might be to be a specialist in a larger business. Alternatively, you are the modern explorer, inventor and creator, perhaps even a modern Isambard Kingdom Brunel!
GreenerHOMEevent Belsize/Hampstead. Inspiration and advice. 16 talks,
20+ exhibitors. Thurs 21 Mch, drop in 3pm-9pm, tinyurl.com/auokrcx
Stained glass studios will be taking part in the Greener Home Event in Belsize Park and Hampstead area of London this week. Lots of help and advice about a greener home and ways to make changes and improvements. Always a great event with talks and discussions and lots of helpful advice to think about. We can all make changes that if added together will make a big difference to our world. It can also save you money on bills in your own home. I hope you can visit the event, and if you do come for a chat. Matthew Lloyd-Winder, director of Stained Glass Studios, will be at the event. See you there.
I was watching a documentary about the recent meteor in Russia and after the film of the streaking fireball of light, came the noise and the shattering of glass. This mixed in my mind with a discussion about craft being about ‘handmade’ and not ‘digital’. So how was this all linked? Well at Stained Glass Studio we seal glass in a feature unit, a style of double glazed unit. This seals the stained glass within strengthened glass that can be placed in the front door for added security. Like a car windscreen, this glass breaks but does not shatter into the face of the car driver. In Russia many had been drawn to the window to look at the amazing light shooting through the sky. Thus when the noise and the explosion came, many were standing by the window receiving shatter injuries on their faces. Now the glass used in windscreens looks like glass and acts like glass but it has been treated to make it act differently when hit. Stained glass is a very old craft and we are used to seeing it as church windows of nearly 1000 years ago. We still cut and break glass as they did then. Leaded glass is still joined together as the medieval craft makers put it together. But today we can also use modern technology to protect the glass. We can use modern technology in the creation of new colours and techniques used on the glass. Creative techniques have been developed to extend what we do with glass. Shapes that were impossible to cut in glass can now be done with water-jet techniques. My conclusion is that the craftsman, the artist, adds creativity to the craft and will play and search and develop whatever techniques they can to create exactly what they are seeking to create. For me this is what every craftsman from every age will do. Mixing the craft with technology to create the art.
Glass is such a beautiful medium and at Stained Glass Studio we are working to push the boundaries of stained glass as far as they will glow. With our new designs we are working with modern convention, double glazing, to extend the design possibilities. We have worked for the last ten years sealing leaded stained glass within double glazed units. This allows for beautiful design and artwork to be used in a modern energy efficient building. We can also add security with the type of glass used for the sealed unit. This makes an ancient art form slip perfectly into twenty-first century engineering. Now we have moved this beautiful art form a step forward by using the idea of a double glazed unit, two pieces of glass in a spaced sealed unit, this gives us the opportunity to use two canvases, two pieces of glass. Working with two different complementary images sealed together, exciting three dimensional ideas are being created. The designs can be free flowing, moving and everyday new ideas are bing developed and tried. See some of the new designs below.
Stained glass is glass so it can get chipped or broken and leaded glass can be pushed but it is not difficult to get these things repaired. A window can be removed, stripped down and put back together with new lead. It is at this point that you could give added security to the window by sealing it within a double glazed unit. This will preserve the glass, give the door a strengthen exterior and also cut down on drafts. This can also preserve the glass for many years into the future. Stained glass can be very beautiful and decorative lasting many years, but sometimes,like everything, it needs some tender loving care. Stained glass studio recently restored a large window at the headquarters of The Retail Trust, in Mill Hill. They had a beautiful old window but unfortunately it had begun to leak and water was causing damage to the building as well as the window. Restoration has given the window a new life and the room behind is now a busy, warm and dry. When I went to the dedication one comment I remember was from a neighbour who said she had really missed seeing the window lit up at night with all the beautiful glowing colours. What more could we ask for as a comment on the successful completion of our work.
This is part of another restoration project.
So we are off to the Surface DesignShow in London, at the Islington Business Design Centre, from 5th to 7th February. Lots of preparations in hand, new windows for display being completed. It is surprising but when you think of an exhibition you suddenly realise you don’t have lots of spare windows sitting around. Most windows are made to measure for clients. As a studio we don’t do lots of exhibitions but Matthew has a new technique that he is excited about and so it was decided to launch it at the Surface Design Show. There will be lots to see and if you register for the show beforehand you can get great reductions, its free! It would be great to see people at the exhibition so come in and have a chat. Take a look around and go home inspired.
I have decided that today is just one of those days. One of those days when my computer has decided that every task will take twice as long. I have been editing our Google places this morning and it took ages to submit. I keep editing Google places as we keep moving! Well we don’t move, the studio stays in the same place, its a building and as yet I have not seen it pick up its skirt and take a country walk. However, this morning the studio had wandered over the M25 and off down the road for a quick wander. Eventually I have managed to bring it back only to find we are now a cattery! I have placed us back where we belong and the cattery now seems to be in the old compost heap at the back of the building. Is it just us or do other people find they have moved? Do many buildings creep around at night changing places and confusing visitors by taking them to a field of sheep instead of a stained glass studio. From now on I am keeping watch and any movement will be addressed with firm words and the movement of those mad little red markers.
Stained glass windows come in many shapes and sizes colours and forms. Each can be made for you to celebrate where you want to put a window. Sealed into a double glazed unit, stained glass can now be as warm and safe as any other window in your house. This is all before you have the pleasure of a beautiful piece of stained glass in your house. At this time of year, when it cold outside, stained glass can bring some warm glowing colours into your house or office. It is definitly time for a new window!