Sunday, 23 March 2008

Community projects - Auchinlech

Not all community projects have a fully completed outcome. The project at Auchinlech, an ex-mining community in Ayrshire, was great fun. The people were enthusiastic. They learned a skill, and taught me a lot too. The project combined developing their skills through preparing a small panel for themselves (after the big project was finished), and designing and making a large panel for the centre. The photo below shows one of the early sessions when I was demonstrating the cutting of glass.

After a number of sessions where the community workers assisted ideas development, a plan was devised. The advantage of the pit wheel design was that it could be broken into a number of small panels that each person in the group could work on. Those who were faster, could tackle more than one panel. This photograph shows the elements drawn onto cut pieces of paper to arrange within the overall constraints of the pit wheel design.

There were many discussions on how the elements should be arranged. As you can see, some people engaged with this portion of the 13 week project differently from others.

Some people tended to be watchers at this stage, and others just drove the whole project forward.

Within a few weeks, the design phase was complete and the cartooning done. The glass selection followed and was governed by an overall background with the narrative elements fitting into this. Panels began to be completed relatively quickly.

People of all ages and abilities took part. As with the best of cooperative projects, those who were quicker or better at some elements helped others.

The project was nearing completion in the late Spring and a whole day of cementing was completed outdoors in brilliant sunshine. The downside was that a lot of us got sunburned!

This was a warm and friendly group of people who worked with determination toward the goal of having the panel established in the cafe area of the centre. However, the funding for the steel framework and the lighting was not forthcoming from the local authority. So the individual panels remain packed in a case waiting for funding to complete the project.

Community projects - Kirkintilloch

Among the community projects I have completed was one for the Hillhead Community Centre, Kirkintilloch just outside Glasgow. This picture shows the bleak setting for the work in the entry just the left of the wood clad structure.

The view from the inside is barely any better. It is not used as an access point to the paved area outside, but as a relaxing area outside the Relay area, as well as the creche to the right. It did not present a welcoming appearance, so a number of the group from Relay, consisting of people from 12-20 years old, prepared a number of ideas and came to me to help them realise the project of making this area much more welcoming and depict some of what the community centre does.

I took their ideas and worked them up into a unified theme on a large piece of photographic backdrop paper at full size. The picture below shows many of the ideas worked into a unified structure for the whole area. The astragals and door frame are represented here, so a flow can be obtained for the area as a whole.

The day of the presentation to the Hillhead Community Centre proved to be sunny. So the colours were vibrant for the community's first view of the glass. The central theme is the winged relay symbol spreading over the activities of the people of the area. A number of symbols are used to indicate some of these. The canal was an important part of the economic life of Kirkintilloch and still has a recreational use today. The houses of Hillhead overlook the canal. People of various ages and races live in the area and their relationships are indicated by the ribbons spread throughout the window. Among other images is one representing the musical interests of the people. The tune is represented on the amber ribbon and when played reveals the tune. There are a number of other symbols used to represent other activities also.

The completed glass on the day of presentation.

Community Projects - Queens Cross Housing Association

One of the community projects that I became involved with was for Queens Cross Housing association where a number of groups provided ideas for the entryways to the houses shown below:

A vew of the houses on Maryhill Road, Glasgow

There were a variety of themes from the various groups which ranged from school children's groups to adult groups of various kinds. The suggestions were arranged according to themes and styles. Some of these are illustrated below:

This entry has a transport theme

This entry has a theme relating to children and is done in a simpler style

For this entry a theme of buildings was used

For the final entry, the QCHA wanted a Mackintosh theme, so one of the banners he and his wife designed, was used to fill the sidelights of this entry.

Public installations 2

There has been a gap in my postings as several events have occurred. First my niece had a big wedding at which I got to wear a complete highland outfit, using the Flower of Scotland tartan. Next day was my birthday, so our side of the wedding party came to the house - hungover or not - and we had food and drinks. Third and I am sure it was nothing to do with all this, I got flu and spent several days in bed. Those are my excuses and I'm sticking to it.

To continue with some of the public installations I have designed.

The Scottish Football Association constructed a new stand round Hampden Park, the national football (soccer for the USA people). I was asked to design and install a ceiling for the reception offices of the SFA. Below are some pictures of it. Although I had asked for and was assured that a 1 metre high light box would be constructed, it in the end was only 300mm high. This means the light is not diffused as well as it should be, leading to a stripey effect.

The first photo shows the piece as installed on Christmas eve minus one day. Only the last panel remains to be installed. The lighting has no chance to diffuse round the whole of the installation.

This second photo shows the ceiling as it exists today. Extra lighting was put in place, but still the striped effect is visible. Still, I am happy with the images of the shapes made by footballers in action. I did sneak in one female footballer.

SFA Offices. Fused glass in steel frame 4m x 3m

Earlier that year I finished another ceiling panel. This time it was a skylight. It is installed in Miller's Bistro, North Berwick. The theme relates to the hills and rocks around the area, and to the sea and the birds of the area.

Miller's Bistro upon completion, daylight. Fused glass and steel frame, 3m square

Another restaurant installation is at Rococo, an excellent Glasgow restaurant. This is based on Australian Aboriginal sand paintings. It is set out 100mm from the wall on bolts with copper spacers and illuminated with overhead spotlights.

Dream Time 1. Fused glass applied to sandblasted safety sheet glass, 1500mm x 800mm

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Public installations

Although I am new to the process of blogging, I have been involved with glass for quite a while as you can see from my CV posted earlier.

It seems appropriate to indicate some of the larger public installations that I have completed.

This one, entitled "Don't Rain on My Parade" is one of a series installed in a cocktail bar originally entitled Bloody Mary's but because of a legal dispute has been renamed with an anagram of the original title. It is made from a combination of fused glass and brass shim. This is located in Glasgow's trendy West End.

Another project which was much less intimate in scale was for the Glasgow City Parks Department. This piece is 4 metres high. The subject matter was determined by the Parks Department. The steel frame was made to my design, after the specifications for the whole installation were decided. This picture shows it installed at the Hampton Palace Garden Show with water flowing toward the viewer. It was later installed at the Glasgow Garden Show and is now permanently installed in Queens' Park, Glasgow.

This pair of panels was made for the Glasgow University staff bar. Is there a theme here about watering holes? The University decided to close the staff bar and use the space for lecture rooms. You would never think this could happen in Calvinistic Scotland, would you? I removed these panels just before the renovations were begun to make sure they were not damaged. They are pictured here before they were returned to the University and installed in light boxes.

Friday, 21 March 2008


During the week I created a shaped top for a dome.

This is 550mm in diameter and is 90mm high. The rim will be cut to fit the opening on site.

This shows the great flexibility of glass. This was done in clear glass, but can be done in any coloured glass. The method used allows a completely unmarked dome to be made. When looking through it, there are no distortions.

I am now asked to make another in etched and painted glass for the same client. This will be for a much more decorative part of the house.

For those interested here is a bit on how this dome was made.

The specification was for a 550mm diameter dome shaped piece with a height of 90mm. To do this I cut the required diameter hole from 10mm ceramic fibre board of 700mm square. I lightly sanded the edges of the hole and fired the piece in the kiln to remove the binders.

I then suspended the board on an circle of kiln bricks, looking rather like Stonehenge, but without the lintels. I placed the board on top and centred the 3mm float glass over the hole. I then fired at 250C/hr to 620C. It took a little over two hours at 620C for it to complete its slump to 90mm. Had the glass been thicker, it would have achieved its drop more quickly.

Friday, 14 March 2008

A Powder and Frit Fused Panel

An example of how the studio and equipment hire works in the studio occurred yesterday. A few weeks ago an artist from South West Scotland rang up and booked the kiln and a studio bench for a day. Thursday was agreed upon after discussion of her requirements. I essentially provided the space for her to realise her work in glass.

She worked with a sheet of 10mm float glass and powders which she over layed onto the glass with a small canister with a fine screen as the top. Throughout the day the image began to appear. The real difficulty in doing this work is judging the depth of colour that the powders will produce. Obvious piles of powder and frit will produce more dense colour, but it is not always easy to tell where the powder is thin, even when done over a light box.

This is the panel prepared and sitting in the kiln ready to fire.

We discussed the differing firing characteristics of our two kilns. Where she would go to 795C for a full fuse of float glass in her 400mm square kiln, I go to 835C for 40 minutes in my 2 metre kiln to get an invisible seal of two or more sheets of float. Since this was already a single layer, that temperature and soak was not necessary. She wanted a bit of texture, but not a rough one, so we settled on 825C for 10 mins. She was also unsure the effect of size, ca. 650 by 750mm and thickness in relation to the smaller work she does in her kiln. So we settled on a modification of Stone's schedule for 10mm glass - a little slower heat up and a little longer annealing soak (a lot longer actually).

I'm happy to say that when she came in this afternoon, she was pleased with the result.

The finished piece still in the kiln.

The piece came out of the kiln with a profile so that the frit pieces were noticeable, but not sharp or lumpy. Everything was fire polished and shiny. Notice how much brighter and more intense the colours are after firing. The variations in density of colour is related both to the thickness of the powder application and to the amount of frit applied. Some is more obvious than in other areas. Where she applied frit over the powder, small clear halos appeared. She had planned for this and compensated by applying more powder over the fritted areas.

This is one example of how I work with an experienced glass artist. Artists and enthusiasts who are not so experienced get a bit more involvement from me.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Verrier Glass Studio

Let me introduce you to my studio. It is a large one in the WASPS Hanson Street building in Glasgow. I will tell you about WASPS at some point in the future. I am on the ground floor and the official entrance is from the elevated ground floor. As you can see from the photo below, you go down stairs to get into the studio. The advantage is that the glass windows on the right slide open to give access to the car park outside. The windows are about 3.5 metres high, giving an enormous amount of light into the studio from the south. The disadvantage is that the low sun (56 degrees North) when we get it, is directly into your eyes. So you have to bring the shutters part way down for shade (in the Winter!).

Studio entrance

As you come down the steps, you get closer to the work benches - which, as you can see, I did not tidy up for this picture - and the glass storage underneath high level storage for all sorts of things. I finished these shelves only about 3 months ago, so they are not yet full of all my stuff. You can just see a pair of lobster panels in the far window. These are salvaged from our kitchen remodelling - my work no longer fitted into the new black , white and blue scheme.

At the back of the studio are two of my kilns. The others are in another part of the building. So these are my big (2.2metres by 1.03metres) and my smallest (.5 by .5 metres) kiln. The other two are about 1metre by .5metre and are in a special kiln room shared with ceramic artists.

This image shows some painted pieces sitting in the kiln just before being removed.

This final photo is taken toward the entrance from the main floor of the studio. It shows the current progress toward a display area for the studio, and possibly for other glass artists in the building. It shows a few pieces in cases along with shelves of supplies. The large structure to the right of the shelves is a piece called "Internal Landscape" which was prepared for the travelling exhibition "Cutting Edge". It is four sided, with lighting in the drum below the glass. It is based on the turning of things inside out. The projections are reminiscent of the polips in our digestive system, projected into a landscape under stress.

Enough "artistic" description. These photos give a flavour of the environment in which I work.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae of Stephen Richard

Stephen has concentrated on domestic, public and commercial decorative glass. His public installations and restorations include:

Theatre Lights, 1995 and Library and University Tower, 1997 meeting room screens, Glasgow University Library
Italian Design, 1998. Fused and back lit panels for "Made in "Italy", Edinburgh
Fused and shaped panels for Scottish Courage, Edinburgh, 1998
Commemorative panel, Daldorch House School, 1999
Dream Time, 1999, Fused and bonded glass, 1500 by 850mm, Rococo Restaurant, Glasgow
Light Wall, 2000. Fused and back lighted tiles, 2.25 square metres
Flight, 2000. Nine square metre skylight for Millers Bistro, North Berwick in fused glass.
Restoration of 9 painted and stained 19th century panels for the Talbot Association, 2001
Players, 2001. A 12 square metre ceiling for the Scottish Football Association reception offices in fused glass and metal.
Garden Display, 2001, for Glasgow City Council Lands Department. 2.5m diameter glass and steel panel.
Panels for Glasgow University Bar, 2002, 1.22 by .45 m.
Complete fenestration for St Andrew’s East Church, Glasgow, 2002 [Building and windows designed by Salmond, a contemporary of Mackintosh’s]
Windows for sets at BBC Scotland for "River City". Leaded, etched, and textured glass, 2002
Reminder, 2002. 450x380x40mm. Commemorative panel using a Mackintosh aphorism. Installed in Oxford.
Castleton House. Restoration of medallions and other glass, and setting them in new windows, 2002
Restoration of the painted and stained East window of the Episcopal Church, Ayr, 2003
Waving, 2003. 11.5 metres of back lighted fused glass representing the movement of sea and sky. Installed at Highgrove House Hotel, Troon.
Wall Panels, 2003. Decorative, fused panel for "Little Italy", Glasgow. 1.5 by .8 metres.
Internal decorative glass panels, 2003, for "Bloody Mary", Glasgow.
Spread Eagle Glass sculpture 700x300x40mm and lamp shades for Lazzio restaurant, Edinburgh, 2004
Re-glazing of Dowanvale Free Church, Partick, Glasgow, 2004
The Sky is Falling (610x610mm) Ceiling panel for bathroom, Motherwell, 2005
Albinoni’s Adigio in G Minor Fused panels, Partick, 2005
Installation of historic items in glass brick walls, Whitehill Community Centre, Hamilton, 2005
Figures Large domestic leaded glass panel, Jordanhill, 2005
Fireworks 1metre square fused panel for wall hanging, Dumfries, 2006
Installation at Corries Solicitors, Washington Street ,Glasgow, 2006
Glazing for Dowanvale Church, 2007
Restoration of Oscar Patterson window, Otago Street, 2007
Storms, a bedroom screen for a private house, Ayrshire, 2008
"Sand, sea, air", Fused glass skylight installation, 1830 x 1300mm, 2009
Complete restoration of windows in 1920's conservation area, First Gardens, Dumbreck, Glasgow, 2009
Coupola repair and protective glazing, Dumbreck, Glasgow, 2009
Restoration of stair window in 1850's listed building, 2009
Collaboration with Amanda Johnson on cast glass and steel public installation at Merry Street, Motherwell, 2009
Collaboration with Amy Stephenson on the incorporation of glass with garments, displayed on the catwalk at the London Fashion Show, 2010
Restoration of Wheel Windows at St. Serf's Church, Glasgow, 2010

In the last few years he has increasingly turned his attention to heat formed and sculptural forms.

Community activities have included:
Hyndland Stained Glass Survey Project.1997-9
Jordanhill Secondary School, artist in residence, 1998 and 2002
St Charles Primary School, residency, 1999
Larkhall Millennium Project, 1999-2000
Queen’s Cross Housing Association, 2000
Hillhead Community Centre, Kirkintilloch, 2001
Workshops for local primary schools, 2002 & 2003
Community Artist with National Museums of Scotland and South Lanarkshire Council for Whitehill, Hamilton, 2004
Joint artist in residence at Larkhall Academy, 2003-2005. Scottish Arts Council funded project.
Mosaic with pupils of S4 at Golfhill Primary School. 2010
Discussion and shortlisted with Caringorms National Park on provision of large scale sculptural boundary signs and objects reacting to the views at various points throughout the Park.

He has exhibited:
Selected for "Migrate" A travelling exhibition organised by the Scottish Glass Society, 2009-2010, various locations in Scotland and England.
WASPS Open Studios, October 2009
National Museums of Scotland and others – "Cutting Edge", 2007, a travelling exhibition.
Lillie Gallery, Milngavie, 2007
Scottish Art Market, May 2006
Park Gallery, Falkirk, 2004-5
Strathearn Gallery, Crief, joint show, 2002, 2005
Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh, 2004
Celtic Connections at Wasps, 2004
Compass Gallery, Glasgow, joint show, 1999, 2001, 2003
Collins Gallery, Glasgow, joint shows, 2001, 2002, 2003
Q2 Gallery, Dundee, joint show, 2003
Peter Potter Gallery, Haddington, jopint show, 2007
Currently represented in Arran Gallery, Coach House Gallery, Culross Gallery. Torre Art Gallery

The Cutting Edge, Scotland's Contemporary Crafts edited by C Baird and R Watban. National Museums of Scotland, 2007
"Made in Scotland"pp.10-12, Art Mag, Feb/March 2011

BA, University of Kansas, 1965
Dip Lib, University of Strathclyde, 1966
M Lib, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1990
HNC, Glasgow College of Building and Printing. 1997
Paul San Casciani, at West Dean, 1988 and at Oxford, 1992
Bohle, at Glasgow, 2001, 2004
Northlands Master Class with Klaus Moje, 2005

Additional activities:
Craftscotland (an SAC funded information, marketing, and web resource), Board of Directors, 2004- ; Chair 2006-
International Guild of Glass Artists, Vice Chairman
Association for Applied Arts Scotland, Advisory Committee, 2002-4
Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Crafts Website Steering Group 2002-4
Consultant, Kibble Palace interpretative scheme, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, 2003-5
Joint Curator, Scottish Glass Society Exhibition 1999
Selection Panel for Exhibition at Strathearn Gallery, 2002
Administrator for Scottish Glass Society exhibitions, 2006 and 2007
Member, Children's Panel, Glasgow, 2003-
Member Scottish Glass Society committee in various capacities, 1999-2006

Contact details:
Stephen Richard, Studio 8, WASPS Studios, 77 Hanson Street, Glasgow G31 2HF.
Tel. 0771 883 1117 or 0141 556 5700
Fax: 0141 554 7330

Introduction to my studio

My studio is in a large arts building with 86 studios and approximately 130 artists. Among the painters, textile artists, photographers, ceramicists, cabinet makers, interior designers, picture conservators, are glass artists. There is a large collaborative studio of which I am the remaining founding member, that has 16 members including me. Much of the big equipment is there and I maintain my membership to make use of it, but I have my own studio also.

This setting makes for a lively working life and great support from other glass artists, allowing larger projects to be taken on. It also is a source of advice on many topics and techniques, as well as support in areas where my skills are lacking, such as cabinetry, painting, etc.

I will attempt to show some pictures of the studio in the next post.