Project Development

Plain English & the Chapel of St. Nicholas

Feedback on my initial Work in Progress Portfolio suggested  the ‘it may be worth exploring the possibility of showing details or fragments in order to communicate other aspects of their importance.’ 

While I am confident that the Plain English Campaign could host a symposium on English language and its use in art critique, I rather relished investigating this suggestion and hope that my interpretation of its meaning is true to the author.  To that end, I have investigated the finer detail of the stained glass in order to demonstrate the various associated processes – something already done in part, but perhaps overlooked, during Module 1: Three dimensions? in which I demonstrated the unexpected three-dimensional nature of parts of some of the lights, with two layers of painted glass providing greater depth as well as increased saturation to areas of the installation:

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With illumination being so critical to stained glass window photography, I conducted numerous visits to the Chapel of St. Nicholas covering most lighting conditions, (overcast; partially cloudy, clear skies; morning sun; midday sun; afternoon sun and evening sun). in order to find the most opportune time to demonstrate best the macro world of stained glass.  Countless hours of lab time spent examining assorted geological samples during my graduate studies taught me that oblique illumination is typically best for revealing the rather more hidden stories.  Stained glass windows typically found on all walls of places of worship – certainly the case for the Chapel of St. Nicholas, but on a clear day, the late-afternoon/early-evening sun resulted in the most revealing illumination of the north and south aspects.

Some 140+ images later, interesting an revealing detail of the quality of the glass, nature of the painting, together with the structure of the windows became more apparent.  I rather like the images and undoubtedly, these abstract, out of context, colour panels could be displayed in their own right.

The glass clearly shows its age with impurities, inclusions and many vesicles throughout:

Fine relieving (removal of paint from the surface of the glass prior to firing) formed the final process.  In this case needlework was used:

The painting at times is far more akin to pen and ink, with precise, controlled lines often not more than 1mm thick, providing the patterns and textures:

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In close-up, the order of events can also be identified particularly when looking at pale washes of colour… bold lines – shading – colour – dry brush:

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Beyond the glass, the quality of the metalwork is exquisite, with the calmes that hold together the pieces of glass being soldered together very cleanly and precisely:


Creative interpretation

This micro-project also presented the opportunity to be ‘creative’ with the exquisite artwork… undoubtedly Henry Holiday will be turning in his grave.

12x12 composition (low res)

Contemporary Tiles

NEW Composition (low res)

Abstract Tiles

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