Detail of "Mathematicians" a stained glass portrait of Sir Roger Penrose and student by Debora Coombs

Mathematicians: new window for Open Studio, Oct 4th & 5th, 10-5


Here’s my latest stained glass piece, a portrait of British mathematician Sir Roger Penrose. A cloud of his famous tiling patterns and a’ film strip’ of Superman images connect a bemused looking Penrose to his student. I made the panel for a recent show in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It marks the start of some new work (drawings and 3-D glass structures as well) that have mathematical underpinnings.

The site in the gallery for “Mathematicians” provided an interesting technical challenge because there was so little natural light available. More than half of the area behind the stained glass is white painted wood, with 4 small square window panes in the center. So I used a fair bit of opalescent glass (shirts, books and tablecloth) and laid smooth mattes (umber, sepia and bistre brown) over all the flesh areas to hold the light and prevent transparency. The white background areas are cut in old factory glass (like Luxfer prisms) that is transparent, but has deep ridges to scatter the light.

I’d love the chance to talk about my latest enthusiasms, so do come and visit if you can: Sat Oct 4th or Sun 5th. Please spread the word.

I’ll also be assembling the petals of a 5ft rose window (fitting the painted, fired glass into a soldered lead matrix); showing videos; and cutting glass for two new stained glass windows for Trinity Episcopal in Branford CT.

AND -if you’ve ever wanted to learn to cut glass- stop by at 11am or 3pm for a demonstration and free glass cutting lesson. I will have tools and scrap glass available.



Fall Open Studio Oct 4th & 5th, 10-5pm


Visit me and other Southern Vermont Artists in their studios on Saturday Oct 4th and Sunday Oct 5th from 10am to 5pm. Download a map of all participating artists at Vermont Crafts Council Fall Open Studio event page.

I’ll be offering free glasscutting lessons at 11am and 3pm both days and there’ll be glassblowing demonstrations at Readsboro Glassworks (10mins further north on Rt100).

Do invite friends and help us spread the word.  All are welcome!

Glazing the Middlebrook plank

Photos taken in the studio today, starting with tack-soldering the copper-foiled glass into the steel frame.

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and the flip side of the plank, with glass in place and ready to be soldered tomorrow morning.

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Plus one last photo of our fancy gloves…

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Read other posts about Jason Middlebrook‘s stained glass plank: the early drawings; welding and fabricating a steel armaturereinforcing the armature, cladding with copper foil, modeling the tree bark, taking templates and cutting glass.

Or come to Open Studio tomorrow, Friday Sept 5th, from 4-6pm

Open Studio Friday, Sept 5th 4-6pm

My latest artist collaboration: a stained glass plank for Jason Middlebrook. Come and visit my studio before it leaves for Chicago. All welcome (details below).

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photo 3 Above, still wrapping the armature with copper foil. Below, glasspainting.

Read other posts about Jason Middlebrook‘s stained glass plank: the early drawings; welding and fabricating a steel armaturereinforcing the armature, cladding with copper foil, modeling the tree bark, taking templates and cutting glass.

photo 4The glass on the left still has one layer of contact paper from the sandblasting. I’m painting enamel into the areas that were blasted.

photo 5Removing contact paper masks. After a little cleaning up, I kiln-fired each piece to fix the enamel permanently into the surface of the glass.

If you’re really interested, and live near enough, do come and visit my studio on Friday to see the plank before it leaves for Chicago.     Time: 4-6pm, Friday Sept 5th. Where: 359 Rue Madeline, Readsboro VT 05350. Email: or call me, area code 802, 423~5640.

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Open Studio this Sunday, Oct 20th, 2-4pm

You are cordially invited to stop by and visit this Sunday afternoon to see my stained glass window for Trinity Episcopal Church, Branford CT, before it leaves my studio. Date: Sunday October 20th, 2-4pm
Location: 359 Rue Madeline, Readsboro VT.
click this link to send me a message

Stained glass apple blossom for Open Studio

Almost ready for Open Studio! Everyone is welcome to come and see work-in-progress on my stained glass window for Trinity Episcopal Church in Branford CT. Today I’ve been painting branches of apple blossom onto little pieces of pale pink glass.


How to paint delicate apple blossoms? I use an uncontrollably trembling paintbrush, then smudge the petals with my fingers.

Here you can see the first layer of glasspaint photographed on a light table. Note that there are white spaces where the lead will go when the window is fabricated. Tomorrow I will add more paint to the flowers, kiln-fire the glass for the second time, and fix the pieces onto my stained glass easel for viewing up against daylight. Come and critique my work-in-progress!

Painting patterns and landscape


Steady Progress on the top part of the window last week. Here’s the Star of Bethlehem.


Painting tracelines around the clouds…


Painting salt marshes took up a fair old hunk of last week too. We tried to video the process of me actually painting this piece but could only capture 8 seconds at a time and don’t know how to join them together. Oh dear, where’s our son the film-maker when we need him!


Here you can see the grassy areas in context behind the figures. I’m really enjoying glasspainting and it’s exciting to see the window progressing so well, but the photographs are horrible. The glass looks like paper cut-outs on the light table -no sparkle or movement. I’m really looking forward to seeing it against the daylight again soon. Hopefully I’ll have several panels waxed up onto the easel for my Open Studio visitors next weekend. I’m also exhibiting eight of my Menfolk panels and will be demonstrating glasspainting.

Open Studio is on Saturday May 25th and Sunday May 26th, 9am to 5pm each day. There are dozens of other artist’s studios to visit nearby, and hundreds statewide this same weekend during an event organized by the Vermont Crafts Council. Find out more, and 10 ways to plan you studio tour here and at the Vermont Crafts Council Spring 2013 Open Studio Tour webpage.