Updated: Jul 20, 2019
Took place on the 10th, 18th, 19th November and the 3rd December...
Did you approach the workshop as if you were contributing to the design of a craft project or an art project?
The project felt like more of an art response due to the level of creativity, ideas and concepts behind the work.
Our visit to Shrewsbury Museum on 10th Nov.
Not wishing to limit the project to the fact that Margaret Agnes Rope was one of the first known women in the world of stained glass art, the workshop was open to all, and to my surprise we were all of the same gender. How come?
The group of participants was made up of 6 adults who had responded to the promotion of the workshop and 6 students from Priory School (an age 11 to 16 secondary school with academy status first opened in 1939).
The participants knew nothing about the artwork of a stained glass window.
"Before the workshop I knew nothing about interpreting or creating stained glass windows. It was for me a wonderful eye opening experience and I can now appreciate how many different skills are needed. I get pleasure now in seeking out stained glass examples to admire or interpret." - workshop participant
"Art and design is a popular and strong subject at Priory School. The school has a close working relationship with our students and try to offer them a broad range of experiences in the Visual Arts beyond the classroom too.
At Key Stage 3 students have the chance to work with and learn from local art and craft practitioners. At GCSE topics are student led. The six students who took part were 14 to 15 years old and in their first year of their Fine Art or Graphics GCSE and will hopefully use the work they produce on this project as part of their coursework, which will go towards their final assessment." - Sian, teacher accompanying the students from Priory School
Our first day in Nathalie’s studio and the main hall at the English Bridge Workshop on the 18th Nov.
The essential choice for each participant of what their contribution to the design of the window would be lead to discussion and a presentation at the end of the day.
"The adults and the school group sat separately to work on designs but did share discussions and were all united in our concern to convey the ideas of continuity, circle of life and care for the environment for future generations." - workshop participant
"Great opportunity to hear others opinions and insights" - workshop participant
Notes about the themes selected by Priory School students:
Ishbel Newman, Tree roots
“I have drawn tree roots, being destroyed by pollution which is presented by bright, unnatural colours. This also shows that although the tree looks fine from the top and no effects can be seen yet, it will have effects later that we can not see yet”
Josie Ellmore, Spooky woods
“Woods’ spookiness. How Nature is spooky alongside of beautiful, nature pure beauty that is free. It comes with life and has the price of nothing”
Katie Hilbert, Plastic bottle
I drew this because I thought that it represents how our society has changed and how we use plastic more. It damages the environment and it leaves a horrible mark from our generation. I chose my design of plastic water bottles because it symbolises how our changes in materials affect the environment. We use plastic more and more nowadays and it damages the environment if we do not recycle properly and take more care with what we do with it. I did an oil slick design on one of the bottles to show the pollution in the ground and how bad it is. I made the oil spill a rainbow colour scheme because when the light shines on it in real life it shows all these colours and I wanted to reflect that. I picked dark purple because that was the main colour that I saw. I want to place it near the top of the geology part because it shows that it is our generation that is causing this to happen and that it is a recent change.
Livvy Swift , Ground level, Underground level
Rocks, stones, ground level, underground level, tree roots, everything is linked. The idea that with all modern technology, we still need to remember the foundations and sometimes take things back to basics to remember what our purpose is, where we came from, what path we have taken and what path we will be taking.
Neve Jones, Ground level, Underground level
Curls of Ferns Leaves that signify the changes of seasons and how everything is slightly different but we are all the same. The leaves fall and become the ground and when we die we become the earth that we walk upon.
The landscape is cast in shadow on one side. I feel that the sun would be shinning from the right, carving the tree to be dark. The tree looks as though it is eating and engulfing the rocks, which reflect the shadow that is being cast upon it.
Harriet Ford, Bee Hive
Finger prints and Bee hives, the idea that everything is personal and that we want to have our imprint on the future of the world and leave our legacy with the our relatives that are going to be living on what we leave for them. That it was our responsibility.
Sian Joao (Teacher)
Ripples of an ancient land, where enormous glaciers leave footprints of their journey, punctuated by a life now forgotten, fantastical shapes of prehistoric marine life.
Notes about the themes selected by adult participants:
Garden Section of Window – notes from Anni and Evelyn
We were considering aspects of Shrewsbury that are iconic including:
· The large number of Tudor buildings
· The ‘Quantum Leap’ sculpture near the Welsh Bridge
· The Welsh and English Bridges
· The skyline with St Alkmund’s, St Mary’s, St Julian’s and St Chads church spires
· The Quarry Park and Dingle
· The distinctive loop of the river round the town.
Much of this was not relevant to the garden itself, but some Tudor motifs / patterns from the buildings may be incorporated into the section above as may the skyline.
We used the loop shape that the river makes around the town to form a path leading across the garden, separating different areas and allowing a journey through landscapes with different meanings. The path could be represented as a gravel type path picking out colours from the geological section of the window. We envisaged a range of different people using the path, eg joggers, parents and children / babies, cyclists, dogs etc.
From right to left the path leads from a wild area of ferns, bluebells, wild garlic (growing at the base of a tree which leads up to the panel above) with mushrooms at the base indicating the recycling of nutrients back to nature.
Above it is a formal garden inspired by The Dingle and its formal planting. After discussion with Patricia we all agreed that it would be a good idea to use a labyrinth to represent this formal aspect. Around the formal garden we placed a lawn for recreational purposes, eg people having a picnic, playing football etc.
Below the path is an area of meadowland. Much meadow has been lost in the last 50 years as farming has been transformed by the use of chemicals. This could either be represented as an area solely comprised of wild flowers such as poppy, buttercup, mallow, clover, daisy, yarrow, campion, plantain etc or it could be represented as crops with flowers growing amongst them. Pimhill Farm north of Shrewsbury has been organic since 1949 and has photos of poppies and cornflowers growing in the wheat fields. This is an example of how we can do things that work and also address the needs of the environment. This area is bee (and other insect) friendly and is adjacent to the bees and insects on the wall.
On the right of the panel is an area of allotments. There are many flourishing allotment sites in Shrewsbury which are enthusiastically tended by hundreds of local people.
Beneath the allotments we have placed pictures of fruit as symbols of what can be grown in the allotments but also because Margaret Rope included similar imagery in her work.
We did not come up with anything for the area above the formal garden but discussed the possibility of some temporary land use such as a festival or fair.
At the bottom of the garden section there are insects portrayed on the top of the wall and also a beehive. In between these we have placed plants – ivy because it often grows on walls and nasturtiums which can also grow on walls (though not as often). Both have lovely shaped leaves that we thought would look good.
Notes from Pea, Water/Nature
A quote from Ovid: “Not for any one man’s delight has Nature made the Sun, the Wind, the Waters; all are free.” The theme of the Labyrinth.
I wanted to tell about the gingko and the power of nature healing itself the regeneration possible and the continuation of this beautiful potential in nature. The vibrant yellow of the gingko.
I wanted to talk of the basic need for water, that all is water, and to refer to the struggle in America to protect the waters.
God as a circle a golden ball.
In the original painting there is a central sculpture and paths to it which creates a circle with a perspective change that has it sat as a circle and I thought about paths and journeys and nature and cycles and considered a gold circle to refer to the sun and to the higher power and thought of the beauty of walking in nature and the power of prayer in nature so the labyrinth.
You showed me your work holding labyrinths deep within your glass, and it felt very powerful as a pointer to you, Chartres french nature God.
Sat within the garden within the river.
Ovid because of Metamorphosis and the study of change and nature and the pointer to medieval thought. So gold labyrinth of alchemy in light continuum of nature as God.
Our second day in Nathalie’s studio and the main hall at the English Bridge Workshop on the 19th Nov.
Each participant had selected their theme and positioned it in the design:
"I had expected to feel it as a craft project as the ultimate aim is creating the window. I was surprised to feel involved in a collaborative art project as the work required me to illustrate my ideas on paper." - workshop participant
"It was good to have young people in the group, in particular because their thoughts and feelings about the future are in a way more significant than my own as they will likely see more of it." - adult workshop participant
The time to test glass painting had come
Our last day in Nathalie’s studio and the main hall at the English Bridge Workshop on the 3rd Dec.
"It was totally a new learning experience, despite being involved in the creative industries my whole career, it was wonderful to discover a whole new approach to creative expression" - Sian, teacher accompanying the students from Priory School
We selected the glass colours for each theme looking at the sample boxes of St Just (French glass) Tatra (Polish glass) and Lamberts glass (our sponsor, German glass).