A few weeks back, Rachel Phillips and I installed our five stained glass windows in Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey. The castle was built in the late 1200’s by Edward 1st, and our work celebrates the design and the masons who built it, while referencing manuscripts pertaining to the use, ownership and state of the castle through the centuries.
We have been living and breathing this work for the past 8 months, and are delighted to see it in situ, casting light and colour back into the building.
I have also been making some glass squares for Strata Florida Abbey in Mid Wales. These pieces have been incorporated into a metal gate and were commissioned by sculptor, Rubin Eynon. They are based on encaustic tiles found at the abbey and also contain fragments of manuscripts written by the Welsh poet, Gwilym ap Dafydd and other scribes who wrote at the abbey.
In other news, I have had a piece accepted for the British Glass Biennale, which takes place in Stourbridge in August. This piece is about global interconnectivity on social media and will be an installations of ‘iPhones’, which I am making from mirror, each of which feature the silhouette portrait of one of my Friends on Facebook. Anyone who is my Friend on Facebook can take part and I want to feature as many people as possible. All you have to do is send me a photo of yourself in profile, head and shoulders, taken against a light background, and I will do the rest!
Now I am taking a well deserved break in preparation for all my new projects!
Rachel Phillips and I are busy making five stained glass windows for Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey. The windows are commissioned by Cadw and are based on the floorplan of the castle and contain references to manuscripts, heraldry and other elements which tell the story of the castle. They also contain specially commissioned text from Welsh poet, Damian Walford Davies. The windows will be installed in the castle in March 2017.
I am just back from the celebration of Skokholm Island’s reinstatement as a Bird Observatory. Skokholm was Britain’s first Bird Observatory, established by Ronald Lockley in 1933, and has just celebrated its reinstatement as an active bird ringing station. Rachel Phillips and I have made a window for the island toilet (the only place we could persuade the ornithologists that maybe privacy was more important than bird-watching!). The window is inspired by the history of the island from its days as a medieval rabbit warren through to the early naturalist years of Ronald Lockley to the present day, and celebrates the unique flora and fauna found there.
Time on the island researching the window last year has opened up many ideas in my work and has inspired me to compile a proposal for future work on the island. Once again, working with Rachel was a fabulous experience.
This video documents the making process. Thanks to Ceri Owen Jones for kind permission to use his music on the video.
It was great to see the windows in place, free of scaffolding and looking part of the fabric of the place. We are pretty chuffed, to be honest! It has been a fabulous collaboration on every level, and, most importantly, we are still speaking!
We installed the windows yesterday. It is amazing to work with a 700 year old building, and I can safely say we have improved it! We are very pleased with ourselves and with our excellent team of installers, scaffolders and lead workers.
This morning we are going back to see the work in the space without the scaffolding. Biggest compliment so far…”it looks like it has always been there”.
The windows are pin the capable hands of Stacey Poultney and Owen Leutchford, under the watchful eye of Alun Adams, at the Architectural Glass Centre in Swansea Metropolitan University. They are all leaded now and are being cemented as I write so that they will be ready for us to install next Friday!
We decided to invite our family to make a small piece each by way of a thank you for their part in supporting us through this project, my daughter, Ruby, painted a fragment for the window, a design of bees taken from a medieval manuscript.
We have had a busy week in the studio getting the glass finished, besides having the visits from Maenclochog Primary School, and filming an item for Welsh language TV programme, Wedi Saith (the item is 14 minutes into the clip here). About 30 local people came to our open studio hour on Sunday afternoon, it was an opportunity for people in the village to see what has been going on in here for the last six months. Then the kilns were in full use over weekend in a bid to meet our deadline and have the glass ready to be leaded by Tuesday.
Rachel put the final piece of glass was put into the design late on Monday, it was an emotional moment, to have actually finished the painting part of the work. We are exhausted but very pleased with the way it has gone and looking forward to installing it in 3 weeks time!
The panels were dismantled and taken to Swansea yesterday to the Architectural Glass Centre, where they are in the capable hands of Alun, Owen and Stacey who are going to do the leading in the next three weeks.
I have left the strangely empty studio and headed off to London to see the Grayson Perry, Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman show at the British Museum. On Friday Rachel and I have booked to attend a study day on Royal Manuscripts at the British Museum – Wow, do these girls really know how to celebrate!!!