Sunday, November 2, 2008


text=03.11.08: I've been so busy of late that the digital diary has suffered somewhat. Early morning start to a new month of hard work, and I'm addressing that now. I have committed November and December to making a stained glass window for St Bede's Catholic Church at Pyrmont. It's a lovely stone church, the oldest in the district, with just 2x stained glass windows, beautifully decorated. The remainder are simple diamond leadlights, and the church is all the more elegant for that. The priest and I have been working on the design over the course of this past year and it is now at a stage where I am ready to run with it.

There is still considerable drawing to be done however, before I'm ready to cut glass, with the full-size cartoon having to be substantially re-drawn. The central motif of Christ in Majesty is fully resolved, a more or less faithful borrowing of a Romanesque design used on an altar cloth of the 12th Century. It's the images of the four evangelists which have caused me most distress, having worked through several changes already and devoted considerable time to research. I feel both the client and I are now of an accord.

Much of the business of the past few weeks has been caused by having to move house. The duplex I was in at Maroubra is earmarked for demolition (though having vacated, the owner is now stalling on the building project in light of the current financial crisis).The new location is vastly different: I look out back onto terraces and fences, interspersed by a few tall eucalypts. The frontage is the 'quiet' end of Elizabeth Street, in Zetland, with a bus route right outside the door and marauding late night revellers: a far cry from expanse of ocean and rocky outcrops.

The upside is I'm extremely close to my studio, about 7 minutes away if I drive. Also I'll be able to establish a lovely courtyard garden here. The environment out at Mistral Point was so harsh in terms of growing things: the ground is almost all sand and the winds are constant. (Great for kite flying!) Even buildings and especially vehicles suffered from the constant salt deposits. Inside the house my pencil sharpeners would rust in a matter of weeks! But I'll miss the sunrise over the ocean and catching an occasional moonrise. There's something unforgettably beautiful about a full moon rising over the ocean in a clear sky, and I managed to catch that experience only days before leaving.

I have several side projects that need to be worked on as well this month, which I should be able to fit into the program. Two severely damaged windows from the Catholic Church at Barmedman, NSW, a result of teenage vandalism, were brought up by Kerry .... of Dove Stained Glass in Wagga for restoration. Also a large window by Robin Seville, formerly of Bowral, in the monestery at Sutton Forrest and featuring Our Lady of Sorrows, which has suffered at the hand of vandals recently. So I'll get those going this week, but there'll be no new 'personal' artworks for some time I reckon. Already January is filling up with quotes for repair and restoration and it's looking doubtful that I'll be able to get away to attend the Ausglass Conference in Tasmania during that month.

Simultaneous with the Samjjana exhibition @ Global Gallery last month was the Art Sydney Fair (formerly the Affordable Art Show). A much smaller show than in previous years, it was nevertheless a valuable experience being a part of TAP Gallery's exhibit. I had only one major piece on offer: the large panel "It's About Life, Actually" which was made in 2005 for the Adelaide GAS/Ausglass Conference Members'Exhibition @ Light Square Gallery. It's a dramatic piece and as at that exhibition it drew wide attention, including a wonderful comment from an elderly gentleman as he exclaimed "Excellent! I haven't seen decent stained glass since Leonard French!" I've posted images of both exhibitions on my Red Bubble site.