I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. When I landed on my career as a stained glass artist in 1986, I quickly learned that I had found my niche, my raison d'être as we say in English.
It all fell into place. The tools that feel clumsy and unyielding in one hand, felt and still feel at home in mine. I use them all, every day and have my favourites just like any craftswoman.
The process of designing a stained glass window hasn't changed. I was taught by a master, John Lawson http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2009/dec/08/john-lawson-obituary
who had followed in the footsteps of another, Mr Arthur Buss
I was taught how to draw a line for stained glass painting, how to shade, see colour and form.
Then I was instructed in the choosing of the glass and the construction of the final window.
These process went on for many years until it was time for me to strike out on my own. There are days when I hear the voices of the masters guiding me and others when I throw caution to the wind.
Most of the time I am chugging away in my workshop creating windows and thinking of the next windows I'm going to design and make. Its a creative process.
The design of a stained glass window is a piece of art work. It should be beautiful in its own right. My designs are hand drawn and painted thoughtfully with good water colour paints. These represent the glass like nothing else. I have designs I made 15 years ago that look as fresh as the day I made them, thats good water colour paint for you.
The thinking is done in the making of the design, the choice of glass is half made, the thickness of line and the style and overall impact of the window are all thought out.
The process cannot be replaced by a mouse and a computer programme. That is taking the artistry from our craft. If we loose that we loose the soul from our stained glass.
Yes, lets embrace the computer and design packages but leave them for other applications. Maybe a very simple leaded light?
I trained as an artist and I will stay as one. Creating beautiful bespoke stained glass designs by hand. Some of my customers request to keep the design and they frame them.