Spreading the Word – Worldwide

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This is my class from last week’s workshop in Oregon, and my most recent opportunity to spread the word. It’s been exactly 10 years since I started teaching glasspainting with propylene glycol (read the story here). I’m proud to see my techniques adopted worldwide now, with a huge following in 45 different countries.

It’s especially rewarding to see how many artists have adopted my methods and made them their own. In particular I’d like to thank Williams and Byrne whose generous sharing of my video three years ago brought several new students to study with me. Soon after they published this wonderfully helpful comparison between oil and propylene glycol as part of a multi-layering technique, which I highly recommend.

Coming soon, a dropbox folder of last week’s workshop. In the meantime, check out my January 2015 Williams College student’s work – all phenomenal first time glasspainters, or professional development workshops, this info folder on my website or teaching resources page.

Portland Oregon: Monday’s talk at St Mary’s Cathedral on stained glass, 3pm

I am so happy to be in Portland, Oregon staying with my friend, Jocelyn Bates O’Brien, one of the architects I worked with on the remodeling of St Mary’s Cathedral 20 years ago. Jocelyn was part of the committee that selected me to design and paint over 1,000 sq ft of figurative stained glass and an etched glass screen. We were still living in London at the time, so the project was life-changing.

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I’ll be bringing my students from next week’s workshop in Newburg, Oregon, and answering questions about design and glasspainting techniques.

If you live nearby, you’re welcome to come and join us at St Mary’s Cathedral at 3pm this coming Monday, June 15th. The address is 1716 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209

Or, if you’re far away, you can visit the cathedral virtually here via an online self-guided tour, or scroll through a folder of images of the stained glass at St Mary’s on my site.

The Mohawk, last window installed

My last window was just installed at the Mohawk Tavern in North Adams, Massachusetts.

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The developer, Dave Moresi, and his team – especially Chris Loyd, have done a beautiful job of restoring the building and I’m proud to have played a part. Besides the new signage and Luxfer prisms, I repaired light fixtures, cut recycled glass for doors and lanterns, and spent most of yesterday soldering seams on the zinc bar top.

The Mohawk is an important piece of local history and right opposite MASS MoCA, so of course, we’ll be patrons. It will re-open on June 19th, in time for the Solid Sound Festival when we’ll be jostling for elbow room at the bar with 8,000 or more Wilco fans.

Richard is super-happy. He has wanted a decent, English-style local pub right next to where he works since we arrived in 1996. Here’s a 2 minute video where you see him briefly, plus some of the extraordinary work he has done at MASS MoCA. It explains why, despite the pub-less-ness, we stayed.

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Lunch of a Lifetime

I was giddy with the delight of meeting Sir Roger Penrose yesterday at a small luncheon for artists and scientists at Yale University. His extraordinary tiling patterns have obsessed and inspired me since I was a student at the Royal College of Art in the 1980’s. Recently I’ve been experimenting with 3D tilings using Baroque decoration to enforce Penrose’s mathematical rules. I took this model with me yesterday and had a wonderful time talking with others who are obsessed with his work.

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I also took the very last panel in my Menfolk series to show Dr. Penrose. It shows him looking down at a student through one of his aperiodic tilings, a string of Superman images, and a copy of Grunbaum and Shepherds textbook, the definitive taxonomy of tilings.

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Thanks to Laura Clarke and Site Projects Inc (who organized the events), to the Physics Dept. at Yale (for lunch), and my friends Lisa Nilsson and Denise Markonish (who tipped serendipity for me).

Three Weeks ’til my Oregon Workshop

There’s just one last spot available in my summer glasspainting workshop in Oregon, June 15-19 More information from Fusion Headquarters or contact me directly via my website.  I’m so looking forward to being on the West Coast again and sharing my techniques.

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Above, some of my students’ glasspainting, all done during past workshops. You may also check out my first-time stained glass students at Williams College, find out more by scrolling through this folder which includes a brief history of my technique, or watch a 2min real-time video of me painting glass with propylene glycol on my vimeo page.

The Mohawk prisms

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I have a lovely project underway at the moment: new 1930’s style signage for the Mohawk Bar in North Adams, Massachusetts, to tie in with their original windows made from ribbed glass tiles. Designed to bring more daylight into the interior of stores and factories, these pressed/cast tiles were widely produced and very fashionable in the days before electric lighting.

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I adapted the classic typeface Broadway, adding ‘etched’ lines (decorative parallels on the wide strokes) to provide positions for leadlines that wouldn’t interfere with reading the text.

Thanks to colleagues David Guarducci in Great Barrington, and to Scott, Fred and Sue Shea at Stained Glass Resources (sometimes it takes a village!) I managed to get ahold of some French Verierre de Saint Gobain ruby-on-white flashed glass. The ruby surface of this two-coloured sheet glass can be etched away to expose a clear or amber underlayer.

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Sandblasting was done by my good friend and neighbor, sculptor Bill LeQuier, who also carves ocean waves in glass.

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I used black masking tape on top of contact paper to mask out the areas to be sandblasted. Next, each pane is painted and fired. My proprietary glasspainting recipe is great for obtaining solid blacks first time over the ruby background.

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Careful measurement and old-fashioned geometry.

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The existing windows are simple grids of 4″ squares. Washed and polished, they sparkle like new.

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Using a portable band saw to cut the zinc profiles.

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I’m seriously enjoying working with a new material… cutting miters, filing to precise dimensions. The zinc behaves quite differently to lead. The first panel is now assembled, ready to be soldered, puttied, patinated and polished.

More about the Mohawk project and project developers Moresi & Associates

June Workshop in Oregon

I’m very happy to be teaching a 5-day glasspainting workshop at Fusion Headquarters in Newburg, Oregon, June 15-19. It’s a long time since I visited the West Coast and I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting some new ones.

Stained glass by Debora Coombs for St Mary's Cathedral, Portland, Oregon 1995-98

“Old Friends” includes 18 Catholic saints and blessed, several of whom have been canonized since I painted their portraits in St Mary’s Cathedral on NW Davis in Portland in 1997. It’ll be curious -and wonderful I hope, to revisit the project that spurred our immigration to the US.

Go to Fusion Headquarters for workshop info or to register.

Watch (a much younger) me painting the saints for St Mary’s Cathedral