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New window "Dorcas and the Pauper"New window "Dorcas and the Pauper"

After several months of intense work my new window illustrating Dorcas in a gesture of giving cloth to a pauper was installed into one of the last remaining openings at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Nowra, southern NSW. The window fitted quite well and installation proceeded relatively smoothly, with only a slight adjustment in the height required onsite.

External scaffolding with existing windowsExternal scaffolding with existing windows

Pete Whittaker onboard the internal scaffoldingPete Whittaker onboard the internal scaffolding

Top arch removed, steel vent goingTop arch removed, steel vent going

Pete cleaning out stone chanelPete cleaning out stone chanel

New panels stacked in positionNew panels stacked in position

Adjustment to overall heightAdjustment to overall height

New window installedNew window installed

Outside shot of the new windowOutside shot of the new window

The subject matter of Dorcas was a request from the donors, in consultation with Rev Fred Monckton, Parish Priest, as best representing the generous and giving nature of John and Joan Coulthart whom the window is in memory of. There was also a requirement to portray the old Presbyterian Church of Numbaa, which stood on the Coulthart's property some 20kms to the East of Nowra. A lot of research went into the design of the window, as is often the case. It was over a year ago that I drove down to Nowra to meet with the four Coulthart sisters and visit the Numbaa property. The old corrugated iron shed with its cast iron pillars still stands but the weatherboard and shingle porch has long since gone and the windows to the shed have been sheeted over. The building was erected as a Church in 1885.

Detail of central figuresDetail of central figures

Detail of lower portionDetail of lower portion

Detail of top portion of windowDetail of top portion of window

I wanted my figure of Dorcas to be beautiful and compassionate and decided to attempt a recreation of an angel by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones', changing the colours a little, without the wings and giving her a headscarf instead of flowers. As was common for the studio, more than one window was created from this same design. My figure of the pauper is based on a frescoe showing St Cecilia by Renaissance painter Lorenzo Costa. It seemed particularly appropriate as St Cecilia is shown divesting herself of all her possessions.


Balmain residenceBalmain residence

Having completed a rather exhaustive program of installations in the last few months of 2016 I am taking a break for two weeks, with the studio closed until Monday January 9th. We have already begun work on the new jobs however: shown above are the full-size charcoal cartoons for a private residence in Balmain and a memorial window for Nowra Presbyterian Church.

Glass cut and waxedGlass cut and waxed

Glass cut and waxedGlass cut and waxed

Glass cut and waxedGlass cut and waxed

All of the glass for Nowra has been cut and waxed onto plates ready for painting. Most of the glass for the Balmain residence has also been cut and some of it already painted, with one small section built (below)

Fanlight mostly cutFanlight mostly cut

Small door panel builtSmall door panel built

Door panel mostly cutDoor panel mostly cut

Thank you for visiting my website and reading my blog. I wish you peace and good cheer for the holiday season, wherever you might be in the world. See you with renewed energy later in 2017: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Two exhibitions of interest currently showing in Glebe Point Road: firstly "Recent Paintings" by Jeff Manning at the The Shop Gallery.

Two panels by Jeff Manning & Greville WiltonTwo panels by Jeff Manning & Greville Wilton

Smoking AcrobatSmoking Acrobat

Jeff Manning is an accomplished painter, working primarily in the magical realist style. He has collaborated with well known leadlighter Greville Wilton on several occasions to produce stained glass windows for local Churches in the New England region and in this instance the two have produced a charming suite of stained glass panels illustrating acrobats, dancers and other figures from Jeff's oeuvre.

Pink AcrobatPink Acrobat

Blue AcrobatBlue Acrobat


Manning has learned much from his association with Wilton and their experience with Church stained glass work, clearly evident in the painted decoration deployed in these quirky glass panels. I particularly enjoyed the exploration of 19th Century floral backgrounds: these locate the contemporary, stylised figures within a traditional stained glass canon creating an interesting juxtaposition. Whereas the fisherman and the waitress are to my eye not as successful, harking more toward the naive style of 1970's leadlight revival which occurred throughout the USA. Merely my opinion, of course. The small detail of a bowl of spaghetti in "The Waitress" however is brilliant.

Delerium by Jaff ManningDelerium by Jaff Manning

Greville reveals secrets of the paintingGreville reveals secrets of the painting

About 12 months ago I removed all the stained glass windows originally installed into old Chapel of the Anzac Village, Collaroy Plateau, by Philip Handel. My task was to come up with a design scheme which would be suitable for the new Chapel, satisfying the requirements of the architects, Humel Architects of Dee Why, while paying respect to the original artwork by Handel.

I knew at the start it would be a difficult job, and it has proven to be so. But with 6x of the 12 panels installed, people seem happy with the result thus far. In fact the new leadlight material surrounding Handel's pieces gives them a new life.

Re-setting of Handel windowsRe-setting of Handel windows

Australian Commonwealth Military ForcesAustralian Commonwealth Military Forces

Panels 4, 5 and 6Panels 4, 5 and 6

These six panels are installed as highlights either side of the entry corridor. They are photographed here while standing in the scaffold tower. The following snapshots give you some idea of the installation process.

Pedro on the scaffoldPedro on the scaffold

Viewed from outsideViewed from outside

Tying rods in placeTying rods in place

My work station onsiteMy work station onsite

Painting copper tiesPainting copper ties

I am still working on the remaining six panels, to be installed early in May. One of these six is actually an entirely new panel to make up the set and provide a symmetrical format for the back wall of the Chapel. The RSL has commissioned me to produce a window based on the image used in their website Soldier On: an interesting challenge!

Design sketch for Soldier On Design sketch for Soldier On

Completed windowCompleted window

Left hand side installedLeft hand side installed

Right hand sideRight hand side

Camp Creative 2015

01 Feb 2015

On Thursday 8th January I loaded up the station wagon with glass, lead and tools from Australian Stained Glass Supplies in Leichhardt and headed North the next day toward Bellingen. I was booked to teach a group of 7x students the basic craft of leadlighting, aiming to instill a passion for stained glass; by the end of 5x days solid work I think I achieved that aim. Everyone enjoyed themselves and seemed to be pleasantly surprised by what they made during the week.

Our Classroom (Morning of Day Four)Our Classroom (Morning of Day Four)

Cutting underwayCutting underway

Glass all cutGlass all cut

Cutting underwayCutting underway

Glass all cut & laid outGlass all cut & laid out

Cutting in progressCutting in progress

Finalising designFinalising design

Leading upLeading up

Leading upLeading up


Checking for accuracyChecking for accuracy

Selecting glassSelecting glass

Cutting in progressCutting in progress

Laying out the glassLaying out the glass

Morning of the Final DayMorning of the Final Day

Completed workCompleted work

Completed workCompleted work

Completed workCompleted work

Completed workCompleted work

Completed workCompleted work

Completed workCompleted work

Camp Creative is held in Bellingen every year, with the whole town getting behind it. Around 1,000 students participate in everything from Chinese Calligraphy through Saxaphone and Drumming to making a fountain out of bamboo cut from the surrounding bush. Many students come back year after year, taking on different skills each time or pushing their previous course to new heights.

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

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

The Centaur Window

06 Dec 2013

The Centaur was an Australian hospital ship sunk by the Japanese off the coast of Queensland during WW2. A tragic event. But the window commemorating the lives lost is beautiful. It is located in the front entry foyer of Concord Hospital in Sydney NSW.

The Centaur WindowThe Centaur Window

Gum blossomGum blossom

Sturt's desert peaSturt's desert pea

I'v been writing up an Assessment Report for the stained glass of St Mary's Catholic Church Concord and needed to visit the Church once more. It happened that my good friend Bronwyn Hughes, a stained glass historian from Melbourne, was visiting Sydney and expressed a desire to see the St Mary's windows on her way to visit the Centaur window. And so it came to pass... I became tour guide for Bronwyn and was able to shoe her not only the Centaur window but also the Armed Forces Memorial windows in the Concord Hospital Chapel: a bonus, since Bronwyn's current research subject is War Memorial stained glass windows.

CMS added image

CMS added image

Native hibiscusNative hibiscus

Close-up of the shipClose-up of the ship

The ship goes downThe ship goes down

This window is not only beautifully designed but exceptionally well painted. Its certainly a very traditional window for Martin van der Toorn, who sometimes works quite loosely, but its a fine piece of work and a fitting tribute to a horrific event.

Later I showed Bronwyn around Hibernian House, as she is also quite interested in public art and 'street art', of which there are some excellent examples on the roof of my building. All in all a great day

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

Since Thursday October 13th I've been working onsite at St James Catholic Church in Woolley St, Forest Lodge, cleaning and restoring the three large stained glass windows behind the altar. Each set of windows is made up of three individual lancets, so nine windows in all, installed sometime around 1880.

Scaffolding over altarScaffolding over altar

External scaffold around the apseExternal scaffold around the apse

Rear of St James from the lanewayRear of St James from the laneway

The job entailed firstly removing the wire guards to gain access to the windows and then completely removing all the old overglazing. This was in a terrible state, badly cracked and scoured and in fact should never have been installed in such a manner in the first place. When these windows were rebuilt some 40 or so years ago, the installers glazed a layer of protective glass hard up against the stained glass at the same time and in the same rebate. Consequently over the years huge deposits of debris had collected in the tiny space between the leaded glass and the overglazing, obscuring much of the beauty of the windows from the inside.

Removing overglazingRemoving overglazing

Trapped silt and overglazingTrapped silt and overglazing

External build up of siltExternal build up of silt

Assisting me on the job are Clive Hillier (seen above) and Chris Wellwoood. Chris used to run Aurora Stained Glass at Narellan for many years. He currently runs a Life Drawing class for Liverpool Art Society. Clive operates Clive Hillier Stained and Art Glass at Mascot. He also teaches leadlighting for Australian Stained Glass Supplies at Leichhardt, so the windows are in very good hands. The three of us are taking great care with the windows, spending long hours painstakingly cleaning each pane of glass both inside and out. There are also many small repairs to be done and just one panel requiring reconstruction. The last task will be to re-cement all the windows firmly into their stone rebates and re-hang the wire guards.

Scraping away sludgeScraping away sludge

Obscured and damaged inscription panelObscured and damaged inscription panel

Restoration is a little like forensics or archeology and a good knowledge of many different studio practices is extremely useful in determining just what it is we are looking at. Painted stained glass windows tend to acquire an organic based scum which builds up on the actual glass paint over the years. But in addition to this scum and accumulated cement render and house paint these windows were also covered in patches of black sludge.

In the making of a leadlight the final stage is to putty the gap between the glass and the lead with a glazing compound making them waterproof and binding the whole fabric together. Many studios use a slurry method to achieve this but effective clean-up is crucial with such a method and often this doesn't happen. Such was the case with the St James windows. When they were rebuilt sometime in the 1970's whoever applied the slurry left large clumps of the stuff adhered to the glass. A careful reading of the fired glass paint is required here to distinguish between sludge and the painted decoration hidden beneath. Fortunately the paint itself is quite strongly adhered to the glass (not always the case).

An advantage of having been rebuilt relatively recently is that the lead fabric is quite sound so these windows should provide many more years of good service and the congregation will be able to appreciate their beauty anew once the scaffold comes down in a couple of weeks time.


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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