Stained Glass is an ancient craft that is unique in that it is also a painters medium. It was invented in the late middle ages using the materials of hand made glass, lead came, stains and glass paints that are fired in kilns on to the surface of the glass. It was created to adorn the cathedrals and places of worship in Europe. The translucent glow and sparkle gave the ecclesiastical architecture an electrifying sense of awe, they also conveyed religious themes and messages to the mostly illiterate worshippers. Stained glass was costly to produce and contributed to the deforestation of Europe in the need for fuel to fire the kilns.
Stained glass has been in continuous use through the ages. It was used in the decoration of palaces, mansions, and even the humbler dwellings of the middle classes. Its unpainted version, lead light even illuminated workers cottages. Stained Glass and lead light travelled to the new world with European colonialists to give distinction to their aspirational architecture.
As an arts student living in inner city Melbourne I loved to gaze at the glowing Victorian style stained glass fan lights and and door surrounds that were lit up at night, their elaborate patch work designs glowing with ruby reds and cobalt blue. After finishing my degree I went to work for Stained Glass firm Kuzbikki and Asc. and was able to see up close the intricately made glass with swirls of different hues rolled on textured metal to give it movement and sparkle. It was while working at this firm that I first saw the joy that a custom made stained glass window can give. When a person has an idea and the artist can manifest it with their skills, it brings unique empathy and shared commitment to the piece.
Inspired by these experiences I began my own bespoke stained-glass practice and over the years I have had many opportunities to work with a great variety of people and communities. It is rewarding when together an artist’s and an individual’s self expression is transformed into the shared experience of artistic creation.