Friday, 10 March 2017

A touch of glass workshop



This workshop took place on the 9th & 10th February 2017

KAE Films filmed us on the first day, I did a few shots on the second day.  


Both days were at the Education venue of the Shrewsbury Museum.

We first viewed the film KAE and Nathalie had written together to offer the children a guided 'walk through' the Heavenly Lights exhibition selecting 
the artwork relevant to the artistic activities to follow.

A walk which took them for a journey in the stories Margaret Agnes Rope has painted.


Nathalie did then an introduction to the art of stained glass, an art form they may have seen in the Shrewsbury Roman Catholic Cathedral, as pupils of the Roman Catholic School.
It was a time to share the study Nathalie did
to identify the birds Marga had clearly cherished in her cartoons.
Two cartoons on show in the Heavenly Lights were the perfect display
of Margaret Agnes Rope love of birds.


Cartoon 1
St Winefride (Newport,Wales)

One of five high windows by Margaret Agnes Rope in Saint Peter and St Paul in Newport. The birds truly have a meaning in the landscape. A dipper by the well, a lesser redpoll in the woody leafy background, a kingfisher appearing by her arm in its flight which is an other bird of waters or a solitary bird, all placed in the sites a ornithologist will find them.

The school the participants go to is named after St Winefride
St Winefride is also meaningful to Nathalie who first went to St Winefride's Well in 1995 or 1996.
She had been for a major head surgery in France in 1994, 
before she moved to Swansea University to study stained glass art. 
She since then went back to the site nearly each year. 
She wanted to give her prayers to St Winefride to keep her head in good shape for many years. 


Cartoon 2
The Benedicte (Llandovery, Wales) 

Given in memory of Herbert and Teresa Vaughan, the nephew and niece of the artist, both of whom died in childhood and are depicted in the window.
Please read the full study on the post Feathered Regulars

I asked the children to work to a scale that will be proportional to the full size cartoon I had brought on site and showed to them. All glass pieces I had cut for them were to a size they were invited to keep as there reference once they had selected the piece of glass.

 KAE Films was hardly noticed by children all in the world of birds

 a few birds sketches before a first intro to glass painting

 they painted on a selection of coloured glass

 Two questions

st Cecilia Shrewsbury Cathedral

Was Margaret Agnes Rope a member 
of the RSPB at its very beginnings?

if she was alive today she would be shocked many of the birds she painted are on red list or amber list
the lesser redpoll, the missile thrush,  
dipper, kingfisher, bullfinch, tawny owl
Flickr link sent by Arthur Rope

A few of the birds painted by the children
 after they chose the glass they loved.
Which of their birds will be in the final artwork?

A journey to select the glass



It was time to select the glass!


Lamberts Glas many samples to guide their customers in their choices

Robert Christ _ Lamberts G

Very few 'no'_ many 'maybe'_ two 'Yes' it has to be

The choice of glass textures or colours was well advanced. The participants and I did some of it as the workshops took place.  
I have to stay true to the meanings of the colour scheme we all discussed, even if I have to alter some of the choices made to keep the budget right.

I made all efforts to have our colours/textures/patterns harmony kept, at the same time as reducing the number of glass panes purchased to seven. 
I have an allocated budget for this new order which also is inclusive of the special reduction because of the generous sponsorship by Lamberts Glas of this project. 

I also have to bear in mind which glass I have in stock at my studio that will be used for this design.

I travelled to Germany by train at the lower cost of the European InterRail ticket . 
If one travels from Shrewsbury to an airport, and an airport to Waldsassen, it is all much better to take the train with an afternoon/evening in London.
It was just about time to view the Paul Nash exhibition thinking of the next commission I discussed and had a meeting just before this journey.  It is for the Royal Air Force Centenary Anniversary. Hopefully it will be the next #journal.

I worked on my iPad as I travelled, enjoyed chatting in German now and then with the passengers sitting by me.

The peak times of the Lamberts Glas day were my all inspiring hours at their very special heritage building and as I was in the train leaving Marktredwitz. 

I had left the site all infatuated (nearly flying) by the privilege of the superb mouth blown glass I had purchased all advised by a knowledgeable gentleman sales director Manfred Mislik who placed it all in this 'trolley'. 

my 'trolley' at its very early stage

The memories for ever

15th February 2017! 
At my arrival

Robert Christ, Vice President, took me the closest possible to the masters of the trade all hard at work, mouth blowing and shaping the glass.

I filmed as I listened to Robert.

Fire, furnaces, agile moves of heavy metal rods, shaping, blowing, the synchronisation of bodies complementary one to an other, all fast, a rhythm and pace to keep.
A glass blowing pace and agile power of the craftsmen I wished to keep as true as possible in the film.

It will be hard to cut my glass without the memory of what I followed all live for about two hours.
The glass has been delivered to my studio since then and the handling has never been so 'loving and measured'!

KAE Films edited my films. Guest Artist for the project #margaandcollections #artscouncilengland. 
KAE Films is usually the one on site filming me in the making process of this stained glass project. (


For my departure
I had the delight of the company of a retired jolly lady who chose to come by me maybe because I smiled from my sit, my head turned towards her when she had entered the coach. She knew she had someone to make a conversation with.  

She was as chatty as my granny Claudinette was, same vivacity of mind one will read in her cheeks. For the most, like my granny, her ancestors had worked in the trade of glass.  

But even better in the skilful trade of mouth blown glass. She was confident, all very proud too, it had been a local skill for generations Czechs and Germans neighbours worked at together. 
She knew all of the filmed skills I was displaying on my camera. Of the mouth blown glass technique for stained glass art, she approved all what I shared with her. 

Her neighbour at home was a stained artist too! At Regensburg, we parted as if we'd known each other well. She waved goodbye behind the window when her train left the station, me waiting all in contempt for my next journey. 


Marga & Collections' glass panes and colours

I took two books in my luggage. 
I did find the quiet times to read.
I opened Outrun first. 
The job the character does for the RSPB speaks for a bond anyone may live with wild life UK birds, It refers to the lists the children and I worked from at the workshop A Touch of Glass.
To my surprise it inspired me for the cartoon's upper skies beyond the hills and the glass I had to select from the stocks at Lambert Glas.

A glass for this Noctulicent Cloud in a deep night blue 

Amy Liptrot's character of her novel The Outrun ( page 90, Canongate 2016 ) learnt to identify clouds and thinks:
"I become interested in a fairly recently discovered meteorological phenomenon: noctilucent cloud, literally 'night shining', the highest and one of the rarest types, drifting in the upper atmosphere. Unlike most cloud it is made of ice crystals rather than water droplets. It's usually invisible but just after the sunset around midsummer, in deep twilight, the tilt of the earth allows it to catch the last light of the sun. Sometimes known as 'space cloud', its first recorded observation was in 1885, tow years after the eruption of Krakatoa. It could be that the ice crystals have formed around specks of dust _ from volcanoes, meteors or space-shuttle exhausts. I like the idea of pollution creating something beautiful."  

The character likes "the idea of pollution creating something beautiful". 

Likewise, all young participants of the first workshop still wished to present the ambiguity of our reading of Nature or our environments, the odd source of new visuals we all commonly may encounter in the media, photographic materials or where we live each day straight before our eyes. 

Something that we may read "creating something beautiful" in our mind, even if we know how it puts wild life and humanity at risk.


Blacks and depth of woods, like Margaret Agnes Rope depicted
the duality of attraction and repulsion of the woods and their mysteries. 


The Uranium Glass, or Vaseline Glass was on display in the 
Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest. A rare chance to view it in full glow.

Uranium Glass in the exhibition In the mood for Colours Budapest
Czech blue glass Bohemia mid-C19th

A glass for Heavens of Noctulicent nights and Greens of lands to go for a pause


Ikea and the Alps on the way to Salzburg, consumers and offers to dream


walls to protect, to part, to hide, to paint on, to project images on


Reds for energies to slow down as autumn comes, 
for veins of blood to keep us going for years

Engraved flashed glass baptismal basin 1896
detail of the engraving


Colours, their source, our use or the message we receive
 from statements they place before our eyes 

Public sites like Szimpla  all to do with creative recycling