One artist we have worked with over many years here at Daedalian Glass Studios is Mark Cazalet, a celebrated artist who often works on ecclesiastical commissions. In 2010, Mark contacted Daedalian about two large glass screens sized 3.5 x 5.5 metres for Mirfield Abbey in West Yorkshire. At the time that Mark contacted us, the church was undergoing a major refurbishment and the two screens around the Ascension Chapel were on their wish list. In September 2014, we heard from Mark again about the project and he informed us that sponsors had been found and the project was now live.
Mirfield Abbey is a seminary (a training college for priests or rabbis) and in the days of the British Empire, the Anglican Ministers who were working in South Africa at the time came back to report on a developing political system called apartheid, which they didn’t like. In 1922, they started the anti-apartheid movement at Mirfield Abbey. Several people have donated to the cost of the screens but last year a major sponsor came forward – none other than Bishop Desmond Tutu who is well known for his opposition to apartheid during the 1980s.
Mark’s style is to depict biblical stories in a modern context, the designs are usually very complex and this project is no exception. Here at Daedalian Glass Studios, our Creative Director, Davia Walmsley, works very closely with Mark and our graphics technician, Andrew Threlfall, to split the original artwork into two layers; one for the front and one for the back of the glass. This is a particularly demanding, detailed, artistic and technical task which, for this project has taken about four weeks to complete. Davia is particularly skilled at this technique and it was way back in 1999 that she first developed the process on our very first project with Mark Cazalet for the Worcester Cathedral Millennium Window. Once the layering is completed, stencils are produced for each side of glass. Mark works very closely with Val Taylor, our senior glass technician, “weeding” selected areas for sandblasting. First the background areas, then more “weeding” and blasting for the middle and the foreground creating multi-depth sandblasting. This same technique is then used on the back of the glass which results in a multi-tonal, three dimensional design.
We’ll have more updates in the following weeks and look forward to showing you all the progress.
The first update we have for you about the Mirfield Abbey project is here. We’re progressing nicely with the glass sandblasting.
Our second update it here and we’ve now moved on to hand etching glass panels for the Ascension Chapel in Mirfield Abbey.