Monday, 28 December 2009

Migrate - New Gallery

Scottish Glass Society


December 2009

This year’s annual exhibition for the Scottish Glass Society is a show with a difference, as we are celebrating 30 years since the Society was first established in 1979. To honour this momentous anniversary we would like to introduce Migrate, which showcases the best of emerging and established Scottish glass artists. This contemporary art glass exhibition is based on the theme of Migration; and examines the different ways that artists express a sense of place and identity in their work; bringing together a collective of glass artists that actively challenge and contribute to the rich Scottish Art scene. The final leg of this touring exhibition is at the Broadfield House Glass Museum, in the West Midlands and will run until the 21st of March 2010.

The Exhibition features 30 selected Glass Artists; the range of work includes cast, etched, engraved, slumped, fused, blown, leaded, stained and painted panels, forms and sculptural pieces. The following artists' work is on show: Karen Akester, Kim Bramley, Nichola Burns, Keeryong Choi, James Denison Pender, Junko Eager, Rachel Elliott, Carrie Fertig, Dominic Fondé, Alexander Galloway, Siobhan Healy, Kate Henderson, Max Jacquard, Jessamy Kelly, Alison Kinnaird M.B.E., Emma Lindsay, Karen Liversedge, Tanwen Llewelyn. Julia Malle, Eilidh Mackenzie, Judith Ann McCrorie, Rosalynd McKenzie, Denis Mann, Keïko Mukaïdé, Stephen Richard, Alan Robinson, Liz Rowley, Angela Steel, Max Stewart & Jeff Zimmer.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Coupola Repair

Another of the things I accomplished over the last months was the creation of a balustrade around a skylight. The skylight has been illuminated by borrowed light from an window in the roof. This attic space has been converted to a bedroom and the previous box built over the skylight removed.

To make safe use of the room and still have the skylight illuminated by natural light I was requested to provide a glass balustrade round the skylight. With the help of others, the balustrade was finally completed. One unfortunate side effect of being very busy was to let another person take measurements. These proved to be wrong and so I needed to get the original wrongly cut and very heavy glass out and the new back up the stairs.

Another person helped to repair the broken pieces in the skylight and the whole now looks very good with the balustrade almost invisible.

How it will look when the light is on in the bedroom at night, I don't know. I hope the glass has enough texture to provide privacy.

The skylight illuminates a very large square central area leading to all the other ground floor rooms. It is to be used as a large dining room with much of the evening illumination coming through the skylight.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Larkhall Academy Windows

This project shows how long a community project can take. This was begun in 2005. The first element in the project was to get the funding from the Scottish Arts Council and the South Lanarksire Council to enable an artwork to be designed for the new Larkhall Academy school building.

The next task was to give the members of the Art Department and the students basic skills in leaded glass. A basic premise of the funding is that all 400 or so students would have a part in making something for the school. This became the creation in school premises glass tiles which were fired. Some were auctioned for funds, some kept by the students and some incorporated into light boxes.

The design task was to encourage the students from each department to present designs for an image to represent their department. From these designs concepts, groups of four students were chosen from each department to advance their designs at a three-day design workshop held in the WASPS Hanson Street Studios. The design concepts were refined and presented to the whole group.

The groups returned to school and developed work in conjunction with the Art Department teachers and presented Brian Waugh with completed images. Brian's job was to find a way to incorporate these images into a unified whole.

The original concept he developed was a double sided wheel that would be placed in steel and installed in the communal area of the school. Delays and changes in the building plans, lead to an interior version of this idea. After many delays and some problems, the school was ready to receive the completed panels.

Brian and I with the assistance of Charles Provan - the one who gathered all the funds and administered the whole long process - brought the 26 panels to be installed to the school the Friday afternoon 4 days before the grand opening.

It would have been grand to have photographs of the panels laid out on the floor to make sure we got them up in the right order - we had to take only one out to put it back in the correct place and that was before we fixed the next one in place!

Finally, we could stand back on Sunday afternoon and look with pride at what had been achieved after such a long wait.

Left Window
Right Window
The opening night for the new school went off well, with many of the people who were involved in the design, returning to school for the evening. Students, teachers, councillors, important people from the community, and even the workers attended and enjoyed the unveiling and the tours round the school.

Monday, 14 December 2009


I have been away from the blogging for quite a while so instead of a log of activities, this should be a web retrospective - therefore a Wretro. I will in the next days try to catch up on activities.

A main element in this long period of providing thick glass for a public installation made from the glass inserted into steel has been the completion of the window for a listed historic building. I know this has been completed, because the developer is happy, the householders are happy and now the Glasgow City Heritage Trust is happy. Through them the Historic Scotland people will be assured of the quality of our work.

I included this picture to show that although the window on the stair faces north, on bright day there are faint coloured shadows on the wall. Brian Waugh has re-created the round head - almost completely destroyed - and the absent head to match the male figure. He also did all the grisaille painting that was required.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Glass Tips

I was tidying up the Glass Tips section and idly looked at the recent statistics for the site. I was very surprised to see that I have reached a point where there were more than 100 hits in a single day!

It was pleasing to see that recently 32% have stayed from over 30 seconds to over an hour on each visit. And 16% have returned more than once - 4% visiting more than 10 times.

I started the tips section in August 2008 after an abortitive attempt to establish something with the IGGA. I find that I currently have produced 321 postings on a variety of topics.

Well, it is something to do instead of watching television.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Innovative Craft

There is a nice series of pictures from the Innovative Craft project. It presents contemporary craft as it is not often seen. Below is one of the images. Go to see via the link above.

Christmas Show - First weekend

The first weekend of the Christmas Show organised by Parade Artists has now finished.

This shows two of the people who showed just outside and within my studio preparing on Friday afternoon for the Saturday and Sunday show.

Magda and Dorte
This shows the front part of the studio dressed for the show.
And here we all are at the end still smiling.

Now to take things down and do some work until we set it all up again for next weekend. I trust it will be worth it.

Monday, 30 November 2009

The "C" Word

I was at the launch of the craftscotland "C" Word advertisement launch on Friday evening. It was exciting to see lots of people enthused about craft - there I've gone and spoiled it for you! Lots of people talking about craft and their reactions to it and how to promote it.

The campaign has a nice logo too which you can see at the foot of the page. Follow the links for more information on this high profile campaign.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Christmas Shows

Parade Artists are holding Christmas Shows on the last weekend of November and the 1st weekend of December. I will be participating in this again, but changing things a little. As my studio is just off the main gallery area of the building, I am going to have an open studio, with work displayed among the working elements of the studio.

I do have to show you the post card that has been developed, as one of my pieces is on the front. You are allowed to guess!

The Show will be held on Saturday 28th from 11 to 5 and on Sunday 29th from 12 to 4. I know! artists just can't get up on Sunday morinings! The show will be open for the same hours on Saturday December 5th and Sunday 6th.
As you can see from the card there is a variety of things on display. There will be even more people exhibiting this year. If you can, come and enjoy a little tipple.

Friday, 20 November 2009

DIY Craft

I note Emma Walker’s encouragement for us all to embrace the DIY movement in the craftscotland website.

The idea of DIY craft has had to be explained to me. Emma gives a good description of what it is in the USA. My description is “Enthusiast”. Because craft is still largely an activity carried out by the person who imagines the object that they then create, it is still largely DIY. Technology increasingly plays a part in craft production and processes. But this is not about technology as far as I can see it.

It may be that I am being dense here, but I think I have been encouraging people to explore my medium for over 10 years. I have offered workshops and classes to many people. The studio I have been involved with, has offered open access facilities for people to create things for themselves. Some of these people have become dedicated workers – although not many have become full time workers. Most who have continued, make things for themselves and others. A few sell their work at craft fairs and through galleries.

This is what I understand the DIY movement people do too. I am not sure what has changed. Is it the volume of people newly interested in making things themselves? A number of suppliers of materials for various craft forms have long been kept alive by these enthusiasts/DIYers.

I guess I just don’t get it.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Window in a Listed Building,16 - even more cementing

This panel is just below the round head of the window. The purple/blue marks the boundary of the rectangular panels with a horizontal row of leaves and flowers not elsewhere in the window.

Previous posts are:

Monday, 10 August 2009

Window in a Listed Building,15 - more cementing

This is the top of the window cemented and polished. It was photographed in full sunlight with a diffusing sheet. As the window is facing north, this is the only time the top will be seen with so much light.

Having been cleaned and the missing parts recreated by Brian Waugh, the brilliant warmth of this panel glows with sun rise (or sunset depending on your view)
Previous posts are:

Friday, 7 August 2009

Window in a Listed Building,14 - cementing

The cementing has begun! This is the bottom piece cemented and polished with sunlight coming through.

The cementing is done with a brushable mixture of linseed oil, white spirit and whiting, with colour to make it black. This is brushed under the leads to seal the window. It also -with appropriate amounts of brushing - blackens the leads and solder to give a counterpoint to the glass.

It now needs to rest for a while. During this time it is important to continually clean the piece to avoid any cement "drips" or other movement of the cement while it cures.
Previous posts are:

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Window in a Listed Building,10 - Start of the Leading

While the painting of the pieces is progressing, glass has been selected for the perimeter and cut. This allows the beginning of the leading to be set out in preparation for the pieces as they become available. The image below shows the beginning of the leading for the central panel.

The bottom panel has fewer pieces to be prepared and so the leading can proceed a little further than the others.

Previous posts are:
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Window in a Listed Building,9 - Central Panel

This shows the central panel with glass cut and ready for painting. The glass was selected on a light box and also presented to the sky for comparison. I chose a good match in full light, but when cut and placed on white background the glass appeared too "blue".

So I selected a slightly paler glass with less blue in it and cut the new pieces for painting. Another lesson - look at the glass on white paper as well as in the daylight. While viewing over white paper does not give the true colour and tint as viewed in natural light, it does show subtle variations.

The glass that is to be painted, although appearing to pale at the moment, will be altered by the addition of paint to blend with the other glass. The original glass, as you can see, has a range of variation too.

Window in a Listed Building,8 - Central Panel

This is the central figure glued together and resting on the rubbing of the original panel.

It has been difficult to remove the stains from the overlaying leads. I have decided to stop at this stage to avoid removing any paint. The mark does not show when held up to the light, but is clearly visible on the rubbing.

The previous entries in this series can be found at:

Monday, 13 July 2009

Window in a Listed Building,7 - Central Panel

I began the dis-assembly of the middle panel last week. This photo shows the early stages.

The outer borders on the left have been taken away and prepared for cleaning. This panel was in the best state of the four in terms of amount of obvious breakages. However as dis=-assembly progressed, more broken pieces were revealed. The clear replacements added in the past are very obvious now that the panel is on the bench.

This photo shows the pieces on the left after cleaning with some of the gaps marked and the areas of clear replacements.

This photo shows the panel completely taken apart and cleaned.

This shows the variations in colour on borders, which ranges from deep flashed red to a brownish purple. Many of these narrow pieces are broken and will need to be replaced.
This also shows some of the mild variation in colour of the grisaille that forms the main areas of the whole window.
Comparison of the painted head in its cleaned state with the leaded panel shows a major variation. In the original state it appears that the head is in two pieces - the line running across the neck of the figure. When taken apart, this is shown to be a line overlayed across a break. Also in the grissaile surrounding the head there are lines of overlayed lead. The purpose of these is not apparent to me, as the glass was sound underneath. Although one piece has a couple of breaks near the cloak.
These pieces will be glued with Araldite 20/20. This is a clear resin that does not discolour in sunlight and is impervious to moisture.
The previous entries in this series can be found at:

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


Among the other things I have been doing is developing an idea I had last spring. As you can see my ideas have a long gestation period! The idea was to develop something a little different for seaside places. Many galleries and gift shops have two dimensional boats for sale.

I thought I could do something different by adding a shape to the pieces providing a sense of movement. This has gone through several refinements and many mould variations until I came up with these.

This picture represents the first of the "just beyond prototype" pieces. I am about to to round galleries to find out if my enthusiasm is met with theirs.

The two sails on this version - there will be others if these are of interest - are shaped, while the hull and mast remain a single plane. As one sailing acquaintance said to me, they are sailing pretty near the wind and should be leaning toward the viewer. I think it is better to have them vertical until the public tells me differently.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Window in a Listed Building,6 - Bottom Panel

This is an image of the bottom panel taken apart and cleaned. The panel as it came from the window can be seen in a previous post. This shows how extensive the damage to this bottom panel has been. The female figure has been lost, probably to theft, as only a little of the glass around it has been broken. It does show the amount of painting and replacement that is required.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Window in a Listed Building,5 - First panel down

I know it is independence day in the USofA, but the rest of us work on. It doesn't seem such a big deal out side the borders of the USofA.

This shows the first panel down from the top of the listed window with the leads removed. It has been cleaned and the badly broken panes removed from the stock of glass to be re-leaded.

This image shows the pieces from the panel that are being prepared for gluing. I use Araldite 20/20 as it is a strong two part resin that does not yellow and is impervious to moisture. The cracks do show as a fine line, but the glue will not deteriorate in the light and moisture.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Window in a Listed Building,4 - Round Head

Now is the time to start working on the panels. I have started with the round head of the window that has been covered with two sheets of fibreglass - one inside and one outside. There has been a replacement with clear textured glass on the right and there is extensive breakage on the left. The central portion is in tact.

This image shows the glass dismantled and some of it has been taken to be put into the water for soaking. All the glass except the red flashed is relatively thick. But the red flashed glass is very thin - less than 2mm sometimes, but still intense in colour.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Window in a Listed Building,3 - Glass Cleaning Tests

It is clear that the glass needs to be cleaned, but the concern always is about the stability of the paint, especially as here where the paint has already corroded. I took fragments of glass that will have to be replaced to do the tests upon. Then image below shows -from the left

- a piece of glass taken from the panel with no other work done upon it

- in the middle, a piece of glass soaked in plain water overnight and scrubbed

- and on the right, a piece of glass further scrubbed with soap.

These show no visible paint loss. So the decision is to soak the glass overnight in plain water and scrub with a nylon brush, using soap if needed.
The previous entries in this series can be found at:

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Novar Drive, Hyndland

A client had me put reproduction windows into the internal fanlights of his house. He was so pleased that he decided to have a similar thing done in a flat that he will be renting out. In this case I took the pattern in the bathroom window and adapted it slightly. My interpretation of the small mound at the bottom of that window is reflected in the door opening below the fanlight.

This window was installed by the joiners working on the flat. After inspection, I needed to add putty, as the panels had been installed dry, and so rattled each time a door was closed. Another lesson on the need for experienced people to do even simple jobs.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Window in a Listed Building, 2

Now that the window is in the studio, a really good assessment can be made. This is the bottom panel with the missing portrait. Among the other jobs on this window is to research and create an image of a woman in period costume facing the male figure.

This image shows the male figure in transmitted light. You can see from this image how corroded the tracing lines have become. The shading is better preserved. This makes it obvious that the image was created using tracing and shading paints, a few enamels, and stain.

This image shows the male figure in reflected light. This makes clear not only how dirty the panels is, but also how the paint corrosion has mace the tracing lines pale rather than strong and dark. This is a characteristic of the painting done in Glasgow at the time. There was a need to produce stained glass windows quickly to meet the demand. So - it is speculated - the practice of adding more borax to the paint mix was brought from the Morris studios to Scottish practice.

By the turn of the century this problem had been recognised and many efforts were made to find a solution. Oscar Patterson even went so far as to avoid using paint whenever possible. He created fine images by etching and grinding the surfaces. The results are often difficult to distinguish from painted images.

This image again shows the dirt encrusted surfaces. In this case the inside of the window shows a build up of dirt on an apparently sound leading structure.

However, much of the panel is in need of re-leading as a result of damage over the years. There have been low cost repairs - inserting clear pieces of glass in various places around the window, for example. There are a number of breaks on the borders, and throughout the panels.

The superficially sound lead is extremely soft, with very thin inner and outer leaves. There are a number of broken solder joints, and the lead light cement is failing in places.

The decision has been taken that the whole will have to be re-leaded to ensure that the window lasts for another century and a half.

The previous entries in this series can be found at:

Monday, 29 June 2009

Window in a Listed Building, 1

Months and months ago, estimates were given on the restoration of a large stair window in a building dating from the third quarter of the 19th century.

At the time of the estimate, I did not know the building was a grade A listed building. This means that the internal and external features are protected. Although the developer had dealt with a number of listed building consents, nothing had been done about the window. Thus, I had to put in a planning application through the developer.

The initial investigations were not encouraging. Previously, all that has been required is to get the approval of Glasgow City-Wide Heritage Trust and work could begin. Now, I was told planning consent has to be given to ensure - among other things - that I did not abscond with the window. What an insult to my integrity! I swallowed my pride and made the application, indicating the method I intended to use to preserve what was left and restore the rest to a functioning window. I submitted this in early January.

In April my wife who is on an architectural amenity society that covers the area, told me that my name was on a planning application which she had to review. Finally, approval was given at the beginning of June. Now, of course, everything is a rush. The buyer wants to move in, but not until all the work is done. Really, all that needs to be done is the window. No pressure then.

I intend to follow this project through with descriptions of what was done to preserve and restor the window.

The window has been protected for a number of years by a fibreglass sheet screwed to the outsied of the opening. This has provided the window and interior of the building from the weather. It has done a good job of protecting the remaining glass from further impact damage. It also has lead to a lot of dirt adhearing to the outside of the glass.

This photo shows the opening with the fibreglass removed from the outside (there still is a sheet on the inside of the round head of the window). The broken pieces hanging from the came are taped to keep them in place while removing the panels and to keep the workers from being cut on the points and edges of the broken glass.

This photo shows the opeining with all the glass and glazing bars removed. The window was constructed in four panels. The largest panel - about one third of the window - is the one with the roundell with the portrait in it.

I omitted to take a picture of the window as we left it with the fibreglass sheet again screwed to the framework. It is very ugly.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Royal Terrace

This is a great address isn't it? I just recently helped to install this entryway by Brian Waugh. This is a total height of more than 3 metres. Brian presents a night scene - a very unusual theme for any entry. But as an entry for a day spa, it has the appropriate calmness.

Brian is in the process of developing a website and when completed will be able to show much more of his painting and stained glass works.

Thursday, 25 June 2009


I was asked a few months ago to create a side light. After discussions it was decided that it should be an image that reflected some aspects of the Tuscany area of Italy. It was also requested that light colours be used to allow lots of light to continue to come into the hallway. Other requirements were for fields of sunflowers and poppies along with a Tuscan style house with smoke coming from the chimney.

This was a difficult set of requirements to fill. First, the opening was a little over 12 inches wide and 66 inches tall. It also is to be placed in a double glazed unit for installation. This was an advantage as the piece would not require glazing bars to stabilise it, even though turning the panel during construction would still be difficult.

The Internet is so useful in these kinds of situations. I have never been in Tuscany, but I could look at pictures of Tuscany and get ideas of the countryside without leaving my chair. This meant that I could use a composite of images to create my own interpretation. Estate agents in Tuscany have taken to promoting houses for sale over the Internet and in English. This allowed me to get an idea of country houses in the area and create a terracotta roofed house for the clients.

The poppy fields were created by etching away the red glass flashed on a green base. You can see these at the bottom right and two thirds up on the right. The fields of sunflowers were created by using brown and green paints on a yellow glass. The trees lining the road were also painted to give some idea of the variegation of the tree foliage.

The whole is, of course, graphic rather than realistic. It does convey the hilly nature of the terrain and the brightness of the countryside.

This is now in the glaziers shop being put into a double glazing unit and will then be installed in the house in Dunoon.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


After a long absence from the blog, I return. It is not that I have been doing nothing, just that there is lots to do in the rest of my life too. Family changes, new caravan, visiting other studios during the Spring Fling, etc.

But things have been happening in the studio too. Last winter I was asked to consider doing a ship for a person who has recently celebrated his 80th birthday. He was part of the RNVR just at the beginning of the Second World War. Both he and his wife felt a sailing ship would be a suitable piece for their house.

Of course he did not go to war in a ship like this, but felt this kind of ship gives a notion of the freedom within the constraints of the sea that you can get in any vessel.

This was completed with deep sand carving, area etching and shading. It is fixed to a mahogany base and will be screwed to the sill.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Migrate with Crate

As you may remember I was accepted along with others on the basis of a proposal to exhibit with a travelling exhibition organised by SGS. I have now completed the piece:

This will be packed and unpacked by other people at least four times during the next year. My experience with helping to pack up the Collect work exhibited by craftscotland showed me the need to prepare the packing properly.

At the conclusion of Collect we had three large and heavy objects to pack away. One weighed approximately 30kg. It was of glass with some delicate undercuts. The crate to contain it was lined with polystyrene sheets. Some foam was included and the rest of the space was filled with polystyrene peanuts. The other works had similar arrangements. It just did not feel to be a secure way to transport the works.

So for this work I decided to build a crate with custom fittings to cushion the work from any damage. I felt when I finished that it was such a simple arrangement that others may benefit from a description. So if you don't want a description of crate making and cutting and forming polystyrene, skip to the next thing.

The crate can be made from a variety of materials. Wood is easiest for me. I used some plywood offcuts to form the base and sides. The ends were formed from 3 ply plywood with 19 by 45mm timber cut and nailed to it.

The side rail does not have to be so large as I made it - just too lazy to cut it down, I guess. The side rail allows the top to be screwed to the sides holding them from expanding or bowing with the pressure of the packing materials.

I then cut 50mm. thick polystyrene sheets to fit the case. These were attached together with "U" shaped copper wire stuck into them. The shape to fit the glass was cut with a heated cutting tool. It is a bit smelly and smokey, but does the job. When the shape for the glass was formed, a 10mm sheet had a collar cut out to go around the rim of the glass.

Note that the packaging is also numbered so that each piece is put back into the crate in the order required for transport. When the base layer and cradle for the glass are placed in the bottom of the crate, the glass is added.

Now the crate is ready to have the wooden part of the work packed. This shows the piece with the glass in the wooden cradle with the packaging around the "slipway".

The packaging for the "slipway" is put into the crate separately from the glass and packaging. You can see there is a layer of polystyrene between the glass and the wood.

Then the "slipway" is inserted into its cradle.

The polystyrene had holes made with the hot cutting tool to correspond to the supports for the glass. The holes are larger than the supports, so there is no pressure on them during transport.

Again the packaging is numbered. The final packing pieces are to be added now. Still each has its number!

The major pieces of packing are now added ready for the topping out!

Next add the essential tools and spares. In this case the tool is a two way spirit level so the piece is placed horizontally and level.

Then there is the necessary photo to show how the piece is to be displayed.

Finally the list of contents and instructions on installation.

Now the lid can be put on and screwed down. Note the locating marks on the lid to show how it fits without having to run new pilot holes for the screws. The screws to be removed are noted with an "X".

All screwed together solid and ready for delivery.

If the instructions are followed everything should be secure for delivery to the buyer!