This morning I went into my bathroom and was inspired again by the light coming through the window. We have a stained glass window in the bathroom, that’s an advantage of working in glass, and the sun was catching the colours and making them shine. It does cheer you up in the morning, all those colours and shape and light flowing into the room. So often a bathroom window in obscured glass, well we don’t want to flash at the neighbour, but the introduction of colour is so great. So I wandered in and out this morning and felt better as I washed that colour was flowing into my life and making my day have a better start.
This is a beautiful piece of glass that has been created at the studio for a new project. The colours seem to float across the surface folding and melting into one another. In recent years most people working in glass have been dependent on manufacturers for the colours and textures of the glass they use. Now we can create the colours that we want and need. Looking at this piece of glass I particularly like that right hand side with the blue and magenta floating into one another and then dropping down into the heavy scarlet below.
Glass has such great qualities and can be used in many different ways. Used in windows it lets light in but with colour this light can be diffused. Colour can hide what is behind the glass. Now you can light the glass from behind creating a window where no window exits. This is why this piece of coloured glass is so exciting. Lit from behind, in a room with no windows, we can now create the illusion of a window and the room becomes more open and somehow airy. You know there is now window but somehow it better with the false window rather than no window at all.
There are some new tiles at the studio creeping out from the kiln and decorating various areas. We have been working to create a glass feature that can be used as a spash-back in the kitchen or bathroom. These are our small colour palettes that will be made into one full size panel to the size needed. At the moment we have been working with blues and greens and the tones that develop from this. But they have been great fun to play with, as we having been laying them out in different colour grades, then dark to light, those that match and the others. The reds are a big contrast with these colours and we need do more in the red and warm colour palette.
Every time someone passes the tiles they move, sometimes a small change but others seem to move them all round until there is a totally new order. They also make a very satisfying noise as they are moved around. There is that slight ‘clink’ as they knock into one another. It should almost be made into an animation as object move and change shape and seem to walk across the screen. There is something so tactile about them that they just ask to be touched, moved and played with. We just hope our clients have as much fun with them as we are having!
Well I seem to have lost a whole set of posts and I can’t work out why. All the new posts seemed to have disappeared. Is there some vast blog monster creeping around eating up stray lists of words? Were the words I had written so bad that they had to be erased? It is all very strange. Perhaps if I go away and the look back quickly they might have returned! Be prepared, there is something strange going on.
I have been looking at the rain and have been inspired by the way colour runs as you look at colour through the window. Colour seems to smudge and mix as the rain comes down between the glass and the colour. When designing glass windows, especially when using lead, the design has a strong defining line or edge. This can sometimes mean the subtle flow of colour does not happen. The use of a very thin line of lead or the shading or painting of glass can also have an effect. However some of the beauty of a glass window can be the way small pieces of glass catch the light. This image is like a watercolour with the delicate use colour and moving colour and sometimes this can be found within a sheet of coloured glass. Colour can added to flow through molten glass and this flow is then frozen in the cold glass to be used by the artist for its variation. I supposed you could think of it as pre-smudged glass.
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.
I have had lots of things changed in my kitchen. A wall has come down which created a small space between two rooms. A small gap between two cupboards where the wall used to be. This was a sort of redundant space and at first I thought I might just hide it behind a cupboard. But then with the magic of stained glass and a rope of small led lights, I suddenly had a celebration of light and colour which really celebrated this small space. The pattern on the glass in free and abstract and this helps in a room where the many cupboards make a lot of straight lines and square boxes. It is still to be fitted into the gap but it still looks great.
Stained glass is often seen as quite a formal art form especially as there is the association with Churches and formal State buildings. But stained glass can also be witty and funny and make you smile. Recently there were the Hippo’s. Now when you think of a Hippo it might make you think of vast muddy pools in Africa with a large round animal with its mouth open. They have some resemblance to a pig in the short tail, short legs, round tubby form and a distinctive nose. In real life they are a dangerous wild animal that should not be messed with. However, as an image they are round and cuddly and swim very well. When I went to the studio and saw some painted Hippo’s all those images of dancing and swimming images of cartoons and picture books came back to me. These smiling Hippo’s are wonderful and make me laugh. They also made me think of creating my own coat of arms. Perhaps for me it would not be Hippo’s, but I could see a pair of hedgehog’s rampant with a witty motto for the family……something to do with glass, colour and light perhaps?
We all use colour all the time but do we know what we are talking about? Two people can look at the same colour and see it in totally different ways. Red is just red except when it is crimson. Red can be a brick red, which is almost orange, to a dark red that has blue shades. And we all know the madness that is white or white with a hit of ……… We prefix colour to try and identify what we mean, as in lemon yellow, pale yellow, buttercup yellow. Blue is even more extreme as in indigo blue, royal blue, navy blue and midnight blue. This is all before we start to mix the colours together. For me lilac, violet and purple are quite blue colours while maroon is much more red moving towards the pink colours. All this is fine until someone says they like red and you choose a brick red and they want a dark almost maroon red. Then the words we use become very important. This is also before you lay one colour against another and change how the colour looks. Colour is in the eye of the beholder and we all see colour differently, but colour is also something that can bring joy and happiness to the viewer, changing how we feel and think.