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A Tour of the Studio

06 Sep 2014

Last Saturday Diana Giese hosted a tour of stained glass in Sydney through Mosman Community College. The group looked at the beautiful windows of St John's Anglican Church in Paddington and St Benedict's Catholic Church at Broadway before heading to the Fish Markets for lunch. Then it was on to my place to view a stained glass practitioner in his studio and learn about the processes involved in making a window.

Mixed colour mouthblown sheetMixed colour mouthblown sheet

Discussing the design processDiscussing the design process

Mixed colour mouthblown sheetMixed colour mouthblown sheet

Karla Whitmore, who took the photo above, far right, was the stained glass historian accompanying the tour. She explained to the group some of the intricacies of the windows they were viewing. The other photos in this collection are by Daphne and Dom Gonzalves, the regular 'archivists' of the group. Diana leads 4x tours per year, each one focusing on a different aspect of Sydney.

A Glass Artist's bicycleA Glass Artist's bicycle

Teaching cutting of glassTeaching cutting of glass

Demonstrating glass paintingDemonstrating glass painting

A view of the studioA view of the studio

By all accounts the group of 30x people enjoyed themselves immensely. It was a bit of a squeeze but after tidying up the place all through the previous week I managed to accommodate everyone, explaining all the various processess involved, starting with the making of art glass. Although I was quite exhausted afterward, it was a privilege and a pleasure to show the group around.

Karla Whitmore is a very knowledgable stained glass historian with several articles published on Ray Brown's website Stained Glass Australia.

The lively Diana Giese is an accomplished publisher and historian, with a collection held in the National Library of Australia. The group were just as fascinated by the building itself, with some venturing up onto the roof to view the graffiti gallery there, although the weather wasn't so great.

Approach to my studio in Hibernian HouseApproach to my studio in Hibernian House

Gauge/Glass Artists GalleryGauge/Glass Artists Gallery

Just opened last weekend: an exhibition of 5x of my works alongside a collection of pastel drawings and prints by Bek Rice featuring the local Glebe and Leichhardt areas. The link is the vibrancy and colour of the works, echoing the vibe of the area.

The Director of Glass Artists Gallery, Maureen Cahill recently moved the glass exhibition area up one level while maintaining the street level as an exhibition space available for hire. She will also curate occasional shows there herself (such as this one).

Two large free-standing worksTwo large free-standing works

Diamond on the Wall No2Diamond on the Wall No2

Derived PieceDerived Piece

Gallery viewGallery view

Sunday 6th July saw a good number of people arrive at the gallery to join in conversation with myself and Bek Rice. The Director Maureen Cahill firstly introduced us both and explained some historical associations and the rationale for the show. This was Bek's first time speaking to a group about her work but she handled it with aplomb, clearly demonstrating the passion that she has for her practice.

After some questions I took the floor with a brief background to my life as an artist, followed by some detailed analysis of the works on display and the making processes involved. There was some lively discusion, with some interesting questions and comments form the audience- many of whom were of course themselves arts practitioners.

Bek Rice discussing her workBek Rice discussing her work

Audience at the Artists TalksAudience at the Artists Talks

I've been teaching stained glass and leadlight at Sydney Community College's Rozelle Campus for a year now; some very happy students have just completed the first term of 2014. It was a large class of 16x students but each one of them very enthusiastic and keen to learn the ins and outs of the craft.






















The class (wk 7)The class (wk 7)

The class (wk 7)The class (wk 7)

Taking a break now for a short while; next Term starts at Rozelle campus 15th July, each Tuesday night from 6.30pm till 9pm. Cost is $349incl. GST For enrolments go to the SCC website

Over the weekend of 28th, 29th, 30th March I took part in the Designers On Show exhibition held each year in the Turramurra Masonic Centre on the Pacific Highway at Turramurra. The centre has two exhibition halls accessed via a common entry foyer. It was my task to design and hang the entry foyer exhibition and then play host over the weekend, meeting and greeting visitors as they arrived.



Craft Arts MagazineCraft Arts Magazine

View from the elevatorView from the elevator

The entry foyer was my exhibition space; I didn't have a display stall in the show as did the other exhibitors. In this way I was able to integrate my work into the building and take advantage of discreet spaces not otherwise utilized. It made for a strong impression when entering and also when leaving the Show.

Last (and hopefully lasting) impression exiting the ShowLast (and hopefully lasting) impression exiting the Show

Other exhibitors in the Show included Mark Jones [leather], Carol Page [bespoke shoes], Alice Leda Pettirosso [merino woollen garments], Denise Smith [lampworked glass beads], Jane Stapleford [watercolours], Bob Taber [jewellery], John Hablitschek [jewellery], Jane Slicer-Smith [hand-knits], Lyn Hart [ceramics] and many other former exhibitors from the former Australian Craft Show run by Bibby and Shields from 1984 thru to 1999 at variou svenues but primarily the old Sydney Showgrounds at Moore Park. We were also supported by Craft Arts International who had a stand displaying their magazines in the foyer.

Frozen KimonosFrozen Kimonos

Jones leather and Ken and Susan FlowerJones leather and Ken and Susan Flower

Lyn Hart ceramicsLyn Hart ceramics

Alice Leda PetrossinoAlice Leda Petrossino

Marion Matthews quiltsMarion Matthews quilts

Signature HandknitsSignature Handknits

Day 1: soldering the test panelDay 1: soldering the test panel

Tracing the cartoonTracing the cartoon

Soldering the test panel Soldering the test panel

Learning to cut glassLearning to cut glass

Design cut, ready to leadDesign cut, ready to lead

Day2: advanced studentDay2: advanced student

Learning to lead-upLearning to lead-up

Day 3: two finished worksDay 3: two finished works

Day 4: a leaded 3D object Day 4: a leaded 3D object

Ambitious project underwayAmbitious project underway

Correct handling procedureCorrect handling procedure

Two New Works

24 Oct 2013

I've been extremely busy over the last few months, undertaking a specialist cleaning project and assessment of stained glass at St Mary's Catholic Church, Concord, pushing on with a new window for St Edmund's Anglican Church in Maroubra and developing a design for St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Bowral (see progress shots in my ABOUT page) However during this time I have also managed to complete two new abstract stained glass panels.

Splash DanceSplash Dance

Splash Dance is a richly textured work, as much for the play of texture as the necessity for privacy: it is window to a toilet which backs onto a courtyard used for entertaining. And naturally some ventilation is also required. The stained glass replaces a pair of double-hung timber sashes which had a fixed vent installed at the top. I proposed to the client dispensing with the vent and instead incorporating expanded metal mesh within the artwork. This idea appealed immensely and allowed me to 'give vent' to my desire for found object: there are antique pieces of Meccano, metal mesh and a stainless steel drainage sieve leaded into the work which all provided a degree of ventilation as well as playfulness. The residence is located in Darlinghurst, NSW.

Lyrical WorkLyrical Work

Also relying heavily on found object, Lyrical Work is to be installed early November in a front door of a residential extension at Weston Creek, ACT. No ventilation holes in this piece, as outside temperatures around Canberra can fall below freezing at times, but a similar need for privacy and so much use of heavily textured and obscured or 'mechanical' glasses.

The lyricism of this piece is derived from classical string and piano works- Vaughan Williams, Debussy, Liszt and (a particular request of the client's) Scottish Airs. So as the design developed I found a need to incorporate floral and naturalistic elements: the painted acanthus leaf from a Church window, a treasured remnant of one of my painted rondels, some pressed "flannel flower" glass. Also there is quite a lot of iridised glass employed to enliven the work at night. A similar approach was used in Splash Dance, with the iridising both inside and outside.

Nov 10th: I've just returned to Sydney after installing the door panel yesterday. While the install didn't quite go according to plan, I have to say I'm very impressed with the quality of the timber joinery by Gino Monteleone of Select Custom Joinery in Hall, ACT. In fact the whole extension is quite impressive in its detail and finish. Its being built by Canberra firm ABC Constructions

Well not actually a new class but a new one for me: I've taken over from the previous tutor who had to disappear overseas at short notice. And it's going really well! We've just finished the 4th week and I'm thrilled with the student's progress. All 5x are beginners (though one chap has some experience with foil work) and they are taking to the craft with enthusiasm and dedication. I get home very tired of a Monday night but I do enjoy the teaching process.

Week 3Week 3

Week 3Week 3

Week 3Week 3

Week 4Week 4

Week 4Week 4

Week 4Week 4

Week 4Week 4

Each of the students have been able to spend time on their projects at home, which really helps with their progress. And being a small class I'm able to spend quite a bit of time with each person. As well as their individual projects I bring in items for discussion each week such as the Maroubra Anglican Church commission currently underway and magazines like Stained Glass Quarterly for them to borrow.

Wk 6: designing new projectWk 6: designing new project

Wk 6: tidy workWk 6: tidy work

Wk 6: discussing a stained glass commissionWk 6: discussing a stained glass commission

Wk7: building a lampshadeWk7: building a lampshade

We have one more week to go, then a two week break. Another 8x week Session begins 22nd July. Several of the current students will be re-enrolling to tackle more advanced work but there is plenty of space if you are considering learning the craft. Enrolments can be done online and all relevant information is available on the Sydney Community College website

Wamboin Entryway

05 May 2013

As well as window to the guest bathroom, fronting the approach to the new house, Ruth and Steve Lambert also commissioned me to design a three-light door and sidelights to the entrance. Ruth wanted soemthing with high impact, providing a real 'wow' factor, nd chose Lambert's mouthblown glass to fill the sidelights.

Top panelTop panel

Centre panelCentre panel

Bottom panelBottom panel

Thanks to Greg Piper for the beaut photos: I asked him to stop by on the return journey from the Ausglass Conference in Wagga Wagga where he delivered a paper on the merits of good photography. Wamboin is located between Canberra and Bungendore: from Wagga you can drive across country through Queanbeyan. Greg has been photographing my installations for many years now; I'm extremely happy with his professional approach and his attention to detail. He's prepared to go the extra distance to produce the best results.

View from kitchenView from kitchen

Close upClose up

Detail of sidelightDetail of sidelight

Overall shotOverall shot

While this is very much an abstract work there is substantial reference to landscape, in particular the bush surrounding the house and the wider environment. The interesting angles of the architecture and the architectural finishes were also considered in the design of the glass for the door.

view of the houseview of the house

Thanks to a referral by Seraphina Martin, a regular teacher at Camp Creative, I took a class of beginners in leadlighting this January. We were in one of the woodwork rooms at Bellingen High School and I had 15x very keen students, most of whom had never cut a piece of glass before. The results by week's end were nothing short of amazing.

Day 2: designingDay 2: designing

Day 2: cutting glassDay 2: cutting glass

A re-lead underwayA re-lead underway

Day 3: leadingDay 3: leading

It was pretty warm most of the week and for me very exhausting: with 15x students I was on the go constantly. But I did manage to enjoy the ambience of Bellingen, heading down to swim in the waterhole at beautiful Gleniffer late in the afternoon or chilling out in the excellent cafes and restaurants. And my gracious host made me breakfast each morning which was very welcome and a great start to each day.


Day 5: solderingDay 5: soldering

A free-form underwayA free-form underway

Soldering 2nd sideSoldering 2nd side

There is lots of interaction at Camp Creative between the various courses being run and the whole town gets behind it. The wife of one of my students was learning ukulele; my billet was studying solar printing with Seraphina; there were concerts at lunchtime and evenings and on the Friday students are encouraged to wander through all the classes to see the results on display. The whole shebang finishes with a huge concert on the last night

A free-form finishedA free-form finished

Finished workFinished work

Finished workFinished work

Completed ovalCompleted oval

Rather than dash back to Sydney in one hit I drove as far as Forster/Tuncurry and stayed the night there. Enjoyed a stroll along the sea wall Sunday morning, watching fishermen, pelicans and dolphins play, followed by pancakes overlooking the lake: heaven! The cool, rainy weather was no doubt a God-send for all the firies battling blazes around the State but it put a damper on my plans for a surf along the way back home. But I did take time to explore Cape Hawk in Booti Booti National Park (under an umbrella) and enjoyed the drive through the forest to Bulladelah.

Sculpture by the SeaSculpture by the Sea

Breakfast overlooking the lakeBreakfast overlooking the lake

Since I was passing Newcastle anyway I decided to detour and drive along the foreshore to Merewether, a short distance inland from Bars Beach. Now that the Wamboin window is complete I'm ready to launch into "Holy Orders", third in a series of 5x small windows for the side chapel of St Augustines Anglican Church at Merewether. This was actually the first time I'd seen the two windows together, since it was dark and I was exhausted by the time I'd finished installing Baptism and Confirmation, the left hand window.

Windows no.2 and no.1, Merewether Anglican ChurchWindows no.2 and no.1, Merewether Anglican Church

Breaking News

29 Jul 2011

I'm pretty excited to have one of my windows on the cover of Stained Glass Quarteerly Magazine, published by the Stained Glass Association of America. The window, which I gave the Latin name Majestas Domini, is based on an image of Christ in Majesty, a woven altar frontal from an early Twelfth Century church in Barcelona.

Pre-existing leadlightPre-existing leadlight

Hacking out the rebateHacking out the rebate

The window openingThe window opening

New stained glass installedNew stained glass installed

The photos above show some of the installation process, chopping out the old diamond leadlight and installing the new glass. The chap on the far left is Mateo, a traveller from Italy. He ran his own glass art business in the Canary Islands, specialising in copperfoil, before arriving in Australia. He started working for Sallie Portnoy on a large commission and then came across to assist me in the studio for a couple of months.

Full-size charcoal cartoonFull-size charcoal cartoon

Detail of charcoal cartoonDetail of charcoal cartoon

Detail of charcoal cartoonDetail of charcoal cartoon

Earlier version of cartoonEarlier version of cartoon

Early version of the HandEarly version of the Hand

As I mention in the Stained Glass Quarterly article, there was much revision of the charcoal cartoon, going back many times to my source material. In fact the whole design process took about ten months before a solution was reached which was satisfactory to both me and the Parish Priest, Fr Colin Fowler. The Hand of Christ in particular had me stumped (the original Romanesque version was found to be too open) until one night I had a breakthrough and photographed my own hand in an attitude of blessing.


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This blog is where you will find my latest news. It can range from posting images of progress of the current commission to art crit to political or social commentary, both national and international. Anything, basically, that's commanding my attention and I feel is worth sharing with you, my reader. Enjoy. My previous blog can be found at