Updated: May 23
I am very much ready to celebrate the Centenary of the British Society of Master Glass Painters! The BSMGP has been operating since 1921 and is a forum for all lovers of stained glass, promoting “the highest standards of design, craft and creativity”.
Early this Centenary year, all members – including myself who has been a member for many years – were invited to create an exhibition panel measuring 30cm x 30cm (outside size). There was no theme and no restriction on techniques or materials, provided glass was involved. Entry for the virtual exhibition was free for members and all work was to be new.
First, an online exhibition was set up (https://www.bsmgp.org.uk/news-events/events/exhibitions/).
A touring exhibition September 2021 – August 2022
In August I received the news that the panel I created was selected by the BSMGP for the touring exhibition that will include a minimum of five venues (dates and venues subject to change). Couleurlive was among the selected exhibitors and my artwork will now be exhibited in the following very special renowned sites.
Ely Cathedral: 17 September – 31 October 2021
Winchester Cathedral: 4 – 25 November 2021
All Saints Church, Clifton, Bristol: 1 December 2021 – 30 January 2022
National Waterfront Museum, Swansea: 5 February – 8 May 2022
Wells Cathedral: 17 May – 13 June 2022
Worcester Cathedral: 14 June – 22 June 2022
Oxford Festival of the Arts: 24 June – 17 July 2022 (t.b.c.)
Lichfield Cathedral: 18 July – 25 August 2022 (t.b.c.)
International Festival of Glass, Stourbridge: 26-29 August 2022
Manchester Cathedral: September 2022 (t.b.c.)
My artwork is presented in 40 words
Nathalie Hildegarde Liege 'Are we becoming Medea or the Earth Mother?'
Painted, etched and leaded mouth-blown glass. 'The acid-etched glass was selected from one of many glass off-cut boxes that Jane Gray donated to my studio in 2020”. In 2021, we may build children a brighter future. Suddenly missing the outdoors, the urge to save our planet was so true. Listening to Medea by Euripides and reading about Earth Mother raised a question. Will we be creating and killing or creating and saving?'
It is a very short summary of the theme that inspired my artwork or its title. As such, it is valid for visitors at each exhibition. I tried my best to keep my 40 words as the succinct and to the point presentation.
Let me share more with you!
Medea, a Greek mythology woman and goddess
In April 2021, as I was still one of the many people who had to limit all activities to the very minimum. I was working from home on designs for new commissions, awaiting the first vaccination appointment.
I created a stained glass cartoon as I listened to radio programs; the French France Culture programs included. The window was on the theme of poppies.
I love listening to Les chemins de la philsophie programs. On the 26th April, the theme of the week was Tragedies, the first episode was Pourquoi Médée a-t-elle tué ses enfants? (Why did Medea kill her children?)
There is one thing that, above all else about her, remains horrific for each generation that studies Euripides' play Medea.
Medea kills her two children. Who is Medea?
The guest of this radio program was telling listeners: She is predominantly the divinity that makes destiny. In Greek mythology, Medea (/mɪˈdiːə/; Ancient Greek: Μήδεια, Mēdeia) means "planner / schemer".
The granddaughter of the sun god Helios, she is the absolute mistress of the scheme of her destiny.
She is also a woman, a very human woman, lucid but very passionate and suffering of her limited status as a woman who has to obey her husband.
She also doesn't know the fate of love until some of the most unexpected acts unfold before her. She gave birth to two boys, after which she declares “The fools! I would rather fight three times in war, than go through childbirth once!”.
In the first few lines of this tragedy, the character of the Nurse, says “But now her deepest love is sick; all turns to hate” and “Poor Medea rages at her loss of honour”. She is cast aside by her husband in favour of another woman – the young daughter of Creon, King of Corinth – who he arranges to marry for the status it would give him.
The guest of the radio show also told listeners that she is “an absolute mistress in absolute helplessness”; she masters her power of action without mastering the power of action of her husband Jason.
She has to come to terms with the fact that she is very human too. Indeed, she is the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, a niece of Circe. She also has connections with Hecate, who was the goddess of magic and one of the main sources from which she draws her magical ties to alter any stream of events that deny her Divinity. At the end of the play, the chariot given to her by Helios indicates that she still has the gods on her side, even after killing Creon, his daughter and her two young boys.
What does it tell us about the power of the tragic par excellence? A question raised in this radio program.
To kill your children is also to kill yourself, and she suffers that she has to give higher value to her life as a Divinity than to the life of her two boys who had the inheritance of this man who betrayed her in their blood.
Medea nearly gives up her plan to kill her boys. She also says “O misery! O my stubborn pride!” She has to be the permanent pride as a Goddess, while contradicting her human motherhood in killing her cherished descendants.
Learning more about Medea, I was also thinking of what it means to be a mother in the Spring of the year 2021. It was, and still is a time to call for protecting the lives of the closest people we know and love. It is a time for care and understanding of the impact of our habits, which would benefit from being shaken and interrupted.
We make all possible efforts against death in the time of a pandemic, while contradicting oneself because future generations are at risk of dying of our destructive ways born from pride, of our greedy ambitions to build, for our sake on, and from our planet.
Children and young people are being told each day to fight against a pandemic for the love of our neighbours or next of kin, for the good of all, also hear each day of the killing of all forms of life beneficial or necessary to keep us as human beings on planet Earth.
The powerless Goddess who has to revoke the love for her children, kills them in order to master the pride of her Destiny. It is a statement that seems to be applicable to the powerless Humans that revoke all their mastering of postponing the death of individuals, while increasing a global acceleration to the destruction of the many and of oneself because of environmental neglects.
A mutilation like Medea where she chooses to kill her children because she has no other choice possible for her to keep displaying herself as on a chariot: the one who is allowed to do horrific things as a declaration of power. Human beings live and are precarious forms of existence since the most ancient traces of their existence on Earth. For generations after generations willing to manage the precariousness of life by a mastering life on Earth, but now we suffocate, trapped in the durability of the objects we first created to keep us satisfied and reassured.
In the media we are seeing more and more discussion around the mental stress caused by Covid 19 or Climate Change on young people. This September 2021, at 27 years old, “frightened for the future on a fast-heating planet, Jacob Heinze decided to force political action by risking his life in a hunger strike”
He would rather choose The Earth Mother?
The Earth Mother archetype dates back to ancient societies, ancient civilisations. A personification of motherhood equated with the Earth, its world as one, its fertility.
In Greek mythology Chaos precedes Gaia. Gaia was the Greek goddess of Earth, mother of all life, similar to the Roman Terra Mater (Mother Earth).
This mother earth may resolve all ills. Would we let it all happen as it comes, and mother earth would give some means to keep us fairly evolving?
As a woman the question ‘Are we becoming Medea or the Mother Earth?’ came out of the blue to my mind.
Simply, do we continue to feel pride at reshaping our planet in a very dangerous way because of our past choices or do we cherish the Earth like our mother we understand in many ways to its deepest more and more? Do we make efforts of care even if we sometimes find it hard to cope with its power and the odds of implementations required? Do we wish to keep pride and reassurance by neglecting our awareness and fear of temporality?
My artwork presents a female figure, as if it is a mirrored image in the deepest depth of an eye. The eye of the Earth, the Blue Planet. She is there, held in time. She may also be positioned by the entrance of a tunnel she is about to enter, all ready to take in the mysteries of what will be. She is taking a pause for thoughts before the first steps in the unknown her choice will trigger.
It is meant to be technically like a first sketch of primordial elements.
I painted it with the spontaneity of the drawing of a child who needs to let the story come out on paper, but I did it as a kind of ‘collage’ of recycled acid etched glass pieces, very special glass pieces of my boxes of treasures, with no previous study of a cartoon. It is a piece not to demonstrate any mastering of techniques, it is some kind of breathing exercise that followed an introduction to a Greek mythology tragedy that gave birth to a new formulation, as a woman, for a day-to-day contemporary question: How do we perceive or live with our impact on climate change or environmental mass destruction and mass killing, as a modest individual who loves our Blue Planet?
Book of reference:
Euripides, Medea, A new translation and commentary by John Harrison, Cambridge Universtity Press 1999
 Line 239-240, page 17
 Line 15, page 3
 Line 19, page 3
 Lines 998 to 1016, page 73
Article to read:
Book of Divine Works, Part 1, Vision 4: Cosmos, Body, and Soul is a Medieval gold leaf painting created by Hildegard von Bingen in 1230. It lives at the Biblioteca Statale in Italy. The image is © Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, and in the public domain, and tagged illuminated manuscripts.