For Ruskin’s Love’s Meinie

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This glimmer of a project for Brantwood, Lake District home of John Ruskin, started one year ago.

Let me tell you how it came to be… ( a lengthy tale, but deservedly so, i thinks…)

November 2016 and taking part in Brantwood’s Christmas Fair for the first time I was lucky in that they selected my curlew image for their poster to promote the event. (Many thanks Helen!)

And so my work caught the eye of Howard Hull, Director there, who was just embarking on renovations for the Terrace Tearoom and Howard told me he was ‘hopeful’ that some stained glass might be included in this project. (So I became hopeful too!)

Anyway, Spring arrived and Howard called me. The project was good to go! (I think i possibly squealed). Then I gathered myself (!) and arranged a visit to site.

Howard and I talked things through and later I sat and enjoyed a scrummy coffee and scone on the terrace. Howard specifically wanted birds to be included in the panel, (that is why he had chosen me!) and the panel was to go above the entrance door to the tearoom. (I was blown away – really)

When you stand in that doorway, Coniston Old man and Coniston Water are laid out in front of you – breathtaking. Coniston holds real attachments for me. I was brought up in Kirkby in Furness, just a few miles south and as kids, we would cycle through the lanes to Coniston for an ice-cream. Coniston Old Man was a familiar contour on the horizon from my bedroom window.  A squiggly line with Black Combe to the front, wriggling over Corney Fell, skimming Caw to then land on The Old Man, standing above all to the north.

Dad was a climber and he told us legendary tales of skipping off work on sunny days as a ‘boy’ to hitch hike to Coniston for a weekend of climbing. The Old Man and Dow Crag were his playground, he said.

We were often dragged up Coniston Old Man as we grew up and so a few years ago, for old times sake, i dragged my brother and sisters and all our kids up there one Sunday afternoon…. ‘fun for free’. I said… ‘why does Debbie always want to take us on walks’…they said! Sunny to start, the clag was in on the summit and I had to play the alphabet game with wee Eva to distract and get her to the top for her wee square of kendal mint cake.. happy days!

Anyway, I ramble(!), John Ruskin wrote a book titled ‘Love’s Meinie: Three lectures on Greek and English Birds’ and Howard asked would it be possible to give a nod to this in my design.

I nodded.  And began to put some thought into the composition.

Sat on the terrace that first time I toyed with the idea of flight as swallows darted all around me. But back home at the workshop and contemplating the mighty scene that had been set before me, together with the comforting sounds and smells of the tearoom I decided to be bolder. Creativity and originality are really celebrated at Brantwood and colours used are striking and different. So, let me make this a jewel I thought!

A lovely domestic social scene is where I landed – chattering blackbirds on the rowan tree branch and mother thrush feeding hungry babies in the scot’s pine. Shall we take a look….

First thing (after lots of mulling and small doodles) is to draw out the panel at full scale. As you can see from the pics this is an evolutionary process. Lines refined and tweaked and stared at. Then, refined and tweaked and stared at some more…. until happy…

Happy to start cutting, once colours have been selected of course….

Then pop the cut pieces on the glass easel to once again check lines and colours. You can see that I made further adjustments at this stage too…

Happy!… time to add paint!

and make even further improvements to the design.. i decided upon adding another layer of foliage to the gorgeous blue background…. pale grey shadows to add depth (I really love these!)

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And the Scot’s pine…

And I even had time to design a ‘dc’ logo..(That’s me!)

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and add a ‘For Love’s Meinie’ for Ruskin (and Howard)…

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Time to start the lead work…

Then the finish and fitting into the casement..(where brother Duncan uses his skills)

Oh, and then the fun photo shoot where friend John kindly stepped in… here’s how he did it…

And the magnificent results that he got…. Thank you John Leech.

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Guess, all that remains is to pop it in place and that is just what Duncan and I did today!

A big long story… but i think deserving of it!.

And i rather more than a little bit proud of it … (ahhh, shucks!)

Why not come along at the weekend to see it when I will be exhibiting at the 2017 Christmas Fair there…

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Wedding Belles…

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My most recent commission was for beautiful bride Kirsty and husband Tosh.. a gift from gorgeous  bridesmaid Amy.

A vintage inspired wedding…. a doodle of an idea… a ratch through the crock box again and… yards upon yards of coordinating bunting …..

Personal details were added… Townsfield will be their home… St. John’s Church… vintage wedding cars… and of course the bunting. (bias binding worked a treat!)

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Congratulations! xx

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Foxgloves in place

Just thought I would bring you up to date on the Foxgloves in situ..  If you remember I talked you through the building of these before Christmas last year in the post ‘Debbie does flowers’

Taking the eldest back to uni last weekend, thought I would stick my head in the door and see how things were looking. Wow, beautiful house, but the windows, why, they even blew me away. A riot of colour in the stunning new hallway.

Amanda, the owner, tells me that they wash her walls and rug with colour when the light floods in at the right time of day. And her Mum apparently insists on dragging everyone through to see the windows before any thing else! Lovely. (Gosh. i quite proud!).

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Happy Days…

..are what these two latest personal commissions are all about.

Amy commissioned me for her own special birthday… “You know what I like Debbie, and I like your glass… chickens and tractors… I trust you,” was pretty much how it went!

Aww, a dream of a wee job. Amy lives in Silverdale; her family farm at Gibraltar Farm and, live on the Green in domestic bliss. I wandered around her wee patch of paradise and without having to use too much(!) artistic license came up with her idyllic scene.

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I like to use local crock and found bits stuff in my work if I can, so I was delighted to hunt out some perfect pieces of pottery and salvaged metal bits. The lead geese and gates were found whilst ratching in an antique shop. The trailer and ‘wheel’ were excavated by Dave, my metal-tecting neighbour and the crock was found by me down on the shore over the years… How cool, I found a bit of pot with Amy’s hubby’s name on it – James! (from an old Keiller marmalade pot).

And I had fun making the wired washing flapping on the line…my favourite bit.

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Detail was added with paint.. Gibraltar Farm offer raw milk from their lovely dairy cows and Amy also ‘invented’ the delicious Gibraltar Farm ice-cream.. It doesn’t get any better than a scoop of their vanilla, sat on the bench overlooking Morecambe Bay.

Happy days.

Oh, and I gave you a sneak preview of my other personalised commission at the end of the previous post…

A 25th Wedding Anniversary gift that pulled together lots of important places for the happy couple.  Hee-hee… quite a bit of artistic license needed here to link home and Rivington Pike in Lancashire, Stirling Castle in Scotland and the Prom and holiday home in Arnside. Even managed to squeeze in a couple of cyclists as they are mad keen on biking too!

Even more happy days….

 

 

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Summertime and the living is easy…

Time for a catch up i think…

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These sandals have seen some hammer… Just back from an Italian adventure pounding the city streets of Florence and Rome, the sandy beaches of the Cinque Terre and the Island of Ischia… Beautiful, beautiful sights and sounds and smells….

Heat and paint and stone

But before i kicked up them heels i had my favourite Art Trail yet (although I say that every year!) Here are some pics of the stuff I had on show over the weekend.

Brother Duncan exhibited at mine this year too and we had a grand time (he’s good company) (and stunning craftsmanship)(and he ate a lot of cake!)

Lots of birds..(well they are my favourites)(new and old)

and other stuff too… works in progress… commissions… and a riot of colour in the front window.

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I am now busy working on orders and commissions but, you can still get to see some bits of my work by calling in to Debbie’s Shed of course. Or visiting the Pier Lane Gallery and Gallery H in Arnside; Northern Lights in Keswick; Brantwood near Coniston; and Witherslack Community Shop for the month of August.

These wee things are going to Pier Lane next week….

And this goes to its new owner tomorrow (Congratulations!)

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A special 25th Wedding Anniversary commission featuring special places… Sirling Castle, Rivington Pike, Arnside prom’… and of course, the beloved bikers.

 

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Curlews in Flight

It was lovely to meet this family and a delight to find they wanted curlews…in flight!

This is an internal window panel giving borrowed light to a dining area. A lovely artwork viewed from both sides.

I do enjoy working out the patterns that the birds can make…. Happy with the lead lines flowing through this one too…

Not much more need to say…so let’s work backwards this time….

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Penny and Tom live at number 5!

‘Are you sure you don’t just want a number five’ I asked, of Penny and Tom, my ultra-enduro-ironman-BG holding friends…

‘No way,’ they said!

Ha-ha, so, the only five in their panel is the pair of size five fell shoes that are leaping off the Knott..

‘Something that reflects us’, they said, ‘and where we live….’

(A friend of theirs visited from the south this week and he found their house from the stained glass panel. Hee-hee, he knows them well)

So, here is what I gave them…

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The panel is a fanlight above their front door measuring 740mm wide x 390mm deep.

Drawing first… I wanted to capture movement and a sense of the place… (the viaduct helps with that!) And Penny and Tom’s beloved Cumbrian hills to the north.

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Then cut glass… apply paint….. build up layers and details…

Fire and fire again for depth of colour.

Relaxing leadwork, soldering and grout.

Then polish and polish till it gleams. (I make it sound so easy don’t I. Trust me, it is dead tricky!)

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Yeah, they live at number five!

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