Have you been following my progress…?
Well. It’s finished. It’s in. (My Church window).. and I really couldn’t be any prouder.
What I pictured…. what I wanted to achieve… well, I feel i did it.
That lovely Kendal townscape as a backdrop to that tapestry of colour…And the detail i was really pleased with, (thanks to the skills learnt on my glass course at Swansea with Jonathan Cooke)… was how i held the light using a final oil layer of paint on the townscape outside of the golden cross. (I worried in the workshop that I had made the old town too dark. But that isn’t the case) The golden cross with its lighter more transparent areas of paint just glows like a strong shaft of light, right down through the window. And the grey areas sit beautiful and flat in comparison.
And once all the panels were leaded up and cemented to make them waterproof, I let them dry and set then polished and polished before sending them off to Lee at Furness Glass, to get encapsulated within double glazed units.
At the end of April my brother, Duncan Copley, began preparing the window. It needed some rotten areas sorting out, the beadings trimming to accommodate the deeper units and redecorating. We were lucky with the weather. Fitting them, watching them go in, and take shape was a grand day.
Throughout each stage of the build, (leadwork after glass painting!)… I was only ever able to really see two panels alongside each other at a time. 4 at a push with artificial light.
So it was pretty staggering for me to watch my brother carefully put these into place.
We startled the reverend who had come in to ‘count the chairs’! And every now and then someone else would come and pop their head in…. the guy from the bible shop… the lady who had leant me the tea towel.. (to inform some of my painting detail of the presbyterian old church)…it was really great. A new friend even came and played her fiddle…”I want to play a tune for your window” she said.
On Sunday May 14th the window recieved its ‘dedication’. Which is really the acknowledging of its existence within the worship space…. in the context of a church service. It was a very good day, and I am really very grateful to Rita Hogarth for sponsoring this project in memory of her late husband. And extremely grateful for the trust that the United Reformed Church at 106 Highgate placed in me.
This really has been my best job (so far!)…
Below are a few words about some of the details in the window. The Church requested them of me so that they can put some information alongside. It’s only a guide though. Folks can read their own stories into this window, as indeed they already are and I quite like that.
The leaded window was commissioned to represent a new beginning for 106 Highgate within the new worship space. It sits gently and offers somewhere upon which to rest your eyes.
‘A village with a church in the valley of the river kent’… was the inspiration for the design and it comes from the old name for Kendal – ‘Kirkby kendal’.
The window has many different layers and in the grand tradition of ecclesiastical windows the picture also tells a story.
The hand painted detail, although imagined, feels familiar and gives a comforting sense of place. From the distant Kentmere hills to the tumbling rooftops and houses that spiral down the steep valley sides, to the flowing river Kent at its base.
The lead lines which form the structure of the panels are overlapping cross and fish motifs; the logo of the United reformed church and strong Christian symbols. Woven together in different sizes they create a rich tapestry of colour and texture.
A huge golden cross emerges from these crisscrossing shapes creating a strong shaft of light that beams down into the town and community in which it is firmly rooted.
The window was built not only to represent this new beginning but also as a tribute to the life of Alan Hogarth from his wife Rita.
There are two churches pictured in the window and both were important buildings in the spiritual lives of Alan and Rita. The lower right is the Presbyterian church which no longer exists and that once stood on Sandes Avenue. The other, middle left is the old United Reformed Church and if you look through the transparent top reaches of this new window you can catch a glimpse of the old church architecture for real.
Look carefully again at the spire of the old Presbyterian church where it punctuates the middle right panel and tucked behind it, in the streets, you will see the distinctive crisscross iron facade and swinging shop sign of ‘Hogarth’s Jewellers. This was Alan Hogarth’s family business, which this year celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The symbols at the bottom, by way of a hallmark, offer further dedication to Alan. They represent his keen love of badminton, the Hogarth’s business logo and the bible.
The small cross on the hill, up above the houses, is from the artists imagination. And was placed there purely as acknowledgement of the great sense of importance she felt for this symbol from the congregation at 106 Highgate, as she was creating the window.
And. I am really loving these little souvenirs. Big thanks to my friend John Leech photography for capturing and supplying this image.