Glass Design Blog



Today was my final couple of workshops at  Tarleton Academy. Its been a fun few weeks working with many, many students in years 7, 8, 9 and 10. The quantity of work produced has been astonishing and has given me such rich source material to work from.

For these sessions we worked with the cyanotype prints produced in earlier workshops, along with the wire drawings, copying them onto sheets of acetate and tracing paper. The students then used these to create new laminated pieces developing on from the earlier ones using just flat colour.

The glass laminating process is one which I will be using in the production of the windows, so an immediate and relevant process for the students to use.



For the next series of workshops at Tarleton Academy, I wanted the students to work with light in a different way. By using light sensitive paper, the students were able to print drawings and objects onto paper exposed to a UV light (which I would usually use to bond glass to glass with UV glue), creating blueprints.

Firstly we created wire drawings, mainly figures and flower motifs. I wanted these to offer a different line quality to contrast the bold cut outs which had been seen over the last few workshops. The students combined these drawings with found objects from the art room, fabrics and natural material. They tested out their compositions on paper before transferring the pieces onto the print paper.


The paper was exposed to the UV light and then soaked in a water tray and left to dry. As the paper dried the colour blue intensified, creating some wonderful imagery.

The next workshop sessions we will use this new imagery to create further laminated windows, printing it onto trace and acetate.



Todays workshops at Tarleton Acadamy, explored some of the issues that we need to take into consideration when designing architectural glass, the main one being the effect of light transmitting through the windows.  Transparency, translucency and opacity are important elements I will take into account for the windows at the Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk.

The students worked on a smaller scale using sheet materials which translated these three qualities. Card, tracing paper, tissue papers, coloured cellophanes and net fabrics were used to create images which which were laminated to create mini windows.


By layering the transparent layers of colours, new colours could be achieved. Frames, outlines were cut in card to create bold shapes and silhouettes. The tracing paper filtered the light, diffusing it softly but also blocking out visual interference from buildings behind. Students found they could draw onto the tracing paper to create more interesting surfaces. The cellophane could be scrunched and manipulated to get textures into the colour.



More workshops took place this week at Tarleton Acadamy, as part of my ongoing work for the Chapel Gallery!

We begun to investigate the theme of silhouettes further using architectural forms gathered from the gallery, rather than the figures we looked at last week.

I am really pleased with the body of work beginning to take shape. Lovely sense of layering and framing starting to develop using our primary source material from the Chapel Gallery. Some students re-worked their collages from the first workshop at the gallery, others used elements as a starting point. Repetition of forms and shapes are creating some interesting rhythmic patterns. Wonderful bold flat colour contrasting with some sophisticated media handling – great stuff!


Next week we will be starting to take our ideas off paper and introducing transparency, translucency and opacity to our work. Watch this space…………




This week I started a number of workshops at Tarleton Acadamy as part of my ongoing work for the Chapel Gallery window commission. It was great fun working with a mix of students from years 7, 8 and 9 and again some interesting work was produced.

I have titled the project, ‘ Looking in, Looking out’, and last week begun to explore this theme briefly with the year 10 students at the gallery.

The notion of looking – really looking – the various ways of seeing, is so important within visual culture. I wanted the students to think about what and how they saw and felt when visiting the gallery and continue to consider this in relation to the imagery they will produce.

Initial ideas were discussed around viewing work in a gallery. The students fedback  – physical responses such as posture, eyes, interaction, hands, touch, pointing. This formed a basis for this series of workshops.

The first workshop set the students the task of drawing the figure quickly, recording poses set by their peers. We were looking at the outline of the figure, a continuous line drawing focusing on shape and form. The need to be spontaneous, fast and make committed lines was hard for the students who wanted to work tentively, using an eraser at every opportunity! Some wonderful sketches produced which set the start of the next workshop session.

Here we began to focus on silhouettes. Taking the sketches as a starting point, the students used black paper to cut the figures, heads and hands. We looked at positive and negative forms, creating many images collaging over and behind envelopes with transparent windows.

Next, we processed these images a stage further. The students had freedom to colour the silhouettes or that of the background. They used found and made colour and pattern through wallpapers, tissue paper, old prints and wet / dry media. Composition, scale, transparency and opacity were considered.





Really excited! I am now underway with my latest commission for the Chapel Gallery in Ormskirk, Lancashire, where I have been asked to design and produce 6 new windows for the front and side facades of the building.  A significant part of the project involves me working closely with various groups of students from  Tarleton Academy, in Lancashire. Through a series of  workshops and visits to the gallery, the students will create exciting and varied visual imagery which will form the basis of my window designs.

Last week a group of 12 year 10 students met me at the gallery for a site visit. Most had never set foot inside a gallery before and it was interesting to hear their preconceptions of what they would find. Most associated a gallery with historic works of art, a place you had to be silent, to look and not touch. There was a sense of fear and slight boredom!

We set foot into the gallery space and were met by the colourful and interactive exhibition of Nick Sharratt. This quickly dispelled most of their apprehensions as they got stuck in. Lots of chat and excitement at the interactive displays. So what was the highlight? Getting dressed up of course! (Staff and students alike!)



The group then carried out primary research recording the internal spaces and architectural features of the building. Alongside photography, we worked on a small scale so the drawings could be supported on a clipboard giving the students flexibility to explore the spaces freely. Pencils and graphite were used and the students were encouraged to fill the paper with interesting recordings. As you can see, the existing internal stained glass windows offered interesting forms to sketch, alongside staircases, arches and signage. I am already planning to integrate these features into the final windows as much will change and disappear with the galleries new extension and renovation programme.


We then moved into the workshop area of the gallery for the second part of the session to process and develop these sketches into larger, bold, collaged pieces. I limited the materials to subtle coloured papers, envelopes, parcel and masking tapes, black and white paint. Students were encouraged to consider composition and scale to make the collages as dynamic and bold as possible.


The results were brilliant and already offer me such a fantastic range of imagery, bold, dynamic forms and shapes to work with. Here is a selection to whet your appetite.