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.
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.
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.
After weeks of rain and rain and guess what…..more rain at last we have summer and summer light. As we have early summer morning sun the light comes in through a stained glass window with bright jewel like colours. Sometimes we don’t have a large area of glass that can be changed so even a small porthole can still let the light in. Using very light glass and patterned glass can throw great light inside a building giving a little piece of the summer inside.
There are days when you want to walk into you house bringing colour and light and this hall window helps you do this. A glorious splash of bright colours spreading across the wooden floor. Who would not want this in their house especially for those dull days when the morning needs a bit of help.
How can you describe how light coming through a stained glass window is changed, coloured and moved. We use all those phrases of, ‘out of darkness into light’, ‘the light of our life’, ‘bringing light into our lives’. Each of these phrases suggests that light is good, positive, special and even magical. We also use the term ‘light’ in a spiritual or revelatory way. In the Christian church turning to the light is see as turning to God as this is from where all light emanates. The way of the light is linked with the way of truth as in the true religion. However, we also talk about someone, ‘seeing the light’ when they finally can see the truth. They can finally see what others have seen for weeks, months or years. So we see light as good but we also describe light as soft or harsh. Soft is the light of the candle, a moving dancing light that is not strong. Harsh light is the fluorescent tube that reveals us all in our bare angles, wrinkles and creases. Sometimes the early morning light can be clear and sharp and harsh, especially in the winter when the angle of the rising sun is low. So what happens to light when it comes through a stained glass window. We use the colour and texture of the glass to create different patterns and forms of light. I wanted my window in the front door to accentuate the feeling of sun coming through the window. The sun comes in the front windows in the morning and I wanted the hall to continue to glow with warm light. I therefore chose colours that would help with glowing yellow and red colours. We also have a line of small cut glass shapes that send small shafts of light into the hall. At night the light comes from within the house and shines out from the door. Again having warm colours in the door makes the house look warm and welcoming. This house and it’s occupants welcome you into its warm comfortable interior. Stained Glass Studio.
I have a new lamp that has four panels of fused glass made from tiny drops of small glass. The glass has then been heated to cause fusing and produces this amazing textural surface. New colours are created as the glass either fuses with the same colour or different coloured glass. The best part it hat it has been done so well that the glass still retains that unique translucency of glass and seems to glow with the light. Each panel is slightly different going from dark blue to a lighter blue, mixing to become a blue green then finishing with a lighter green going to yellow and this area is dotted with tiny bits of red and blue glass. To me it is a beach reaching to the dark blue sea with that magic shining colour of only the best days at the seaside. There are four panels around the four sides of the lamp each telling their own slightly different story of the beach. With the light coming from within the panels and balancing on a small mirror base the lamp is a glowing area of colour. This one of 3 different designs that have each been hand made to create these tactile lamps that each tell their own story of colour.
When is a window not a window, when there is no opening behind the panel of glass. Sometimes buildings do not have the window opening that you would expect even though visually your eye expects there to be one. This was true of a church in Harrow. As you look towards the altar, the focal point of the space, the Christian tradition normally has a large East Window. Unfortunately for years this church had kept a long textile hanging behind the altar as there was no window. Matthew Lloyd-Winder decided that with the clever use of painted glass, not using lead lines and the expert advice of a lighting engineer, the illusion of a large East Window could be created. Instead of fitting into a window this would be a free-standing panel, supported by a frame fixed to the roof beams. This allowed the ‘window’ or stained glass panel, to go from floor to ceiling, dominating the space. Each individual pane of glass was then painted and treated, working in a style that would use as much light as possible.
Although this was a large piece of work the same techniques could be used in a smaller space or home. Not every panel of glass needs a window opening behind it. Lighting can be placed behind the glass to bring that glorious illumination of colour through the glass. It is that quality of light that is so special.
Even a window opening sometimes has to obey different rules. Instead of letting you see through the window, stained glass can create a barrier keeping the inside private. Allowing you the freedom of internal coloured light coming through the window but ensuring that you cannot be viewed from outside.
A stained glass window can also be used to pretend there is a view whereas there might be a brick wall only feet away. A window with a good use of exterior lighting can create the illusion of a window looking out onto a view when there is no view available.
Therefore you don’t need a window or a window onto the world to create light and colour into an internal space.
It is all done by magical stained glass.