Glass Easel Collective
Maggie Beal, James Cockerill, Rachel Mulligan, Helen Russell, Caroline Small, & Jessica Stroud

Riverside Café Gallery, Farnham Maltings
09 November – 05 December 2019

The Riverside Café Gallery is delighted to welcome the Glass Easel Collective, a group of six stained glass artists from Surrey who share a talent and passion for glass. Celebrating an art with a thousand-year history, this exhibition brings together a selection of their work with the use of lightboxes to showcase the beauty of their craft.Having lived in Farnham for over thirty years Maggie Beal wanted to make a panel depicting something of the local area. Intrigued by the ruins of Waverley Abbey and Mother Ludlam’s Cave, Maggie has incorporated the magnificent yew tree that grows in the grounds of the Abbey into the central support of the ruins and surrounded it with hops, which Farnham was once famous for. Inspiration to make this panel came from the Irish stained glass artist Harry Clarke, particularly his use of colour and pattern in his windows at Ashdown Park Hotel.

James Cockerill combines photography, graphic design and print with traditional and modern stained glass techniques to create unique works of art. He photographs urban environments, which are reinterpreted through collage. These new landscapes are silk-screened onto mouth-blown, hand-made glass then kiln-fired.

For Rachel Mulligan there is nothing more beautiful and beguiling than the night view of St Paul’s Cathedral from the Thames. It looms, majestic and mysterious, above the river. Pinpoints of light from the buildings in the City of London are reflected in the grand sweep of the water. Rachel included Handel’s Water Music in the river, music that was originally played on the Thames three hundred years ago accompanied by fireworks. The mouth blown glass has been cut, engraved, painted, stained and fired before being leaded up. Rachel’s second piece commemorates the centenary of the Great War, remembering the artists and poets who fought at the front and were able to create something moving and even beautiful from the devastation. She chose to illustrate the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, copying his handwriting from the original draft he wrote following the Battle of Ypres.

Helen Russell’s panel is titled the Seasons of Change, inspired by her love of nature and the changing seasons observed in her garden over the past year. The centre is a bejewelled spider’s web glistening with dew which was the start of the panel’s creation. The shifting seasons revolve around the edges of the panel, from the start of spring through to winter snows, including the trees, plants, flowers and frequent wildlife visitors to the garden. Helen has made this piece using mouthblown glass which has been cut, engraved, painted, stained and fired in her kiln before leading it up into a panel using traditional techniques.

Science is all around us and with a background working in neuroscience research Caroline Russell finds the construction of the natural world both fascinating and inspirational. The piece created for this exhibition is a panel inspired by the Crystalline structure of Vitamin C, using a microscopic picture of vitamin C as the starting point. The work is made entirely out of glass and lead created using traditional stained glass techniques. Antique hand blown flashed glass is cut and then engraved and some pieces have been screen printed on original bespoke fused glass sheets. The glass is painted and stained using silver stain, then fired in a kiln before being leaded up into the panel submitted using traditional techniques.

Jessica Stroud loves to watch birds flying in and out of the dog rose that rambles over the trellis outside her garden studio and wanted to make a stained glass panel featuring them. William Morris’s Trellis wallpaper and a line from a favourite poem by E E Cummings inspired the design. Mouth blown glass is used throughout and this has been engraved, painted and stained with silver stain.

Artist Bios

Maggie Beal designs and makes stained glass for domestic interiors from her garden studio in Farnham. Inspired by patterns in nature and the landscape, Maggie likes to combine traditional methods of stained glass and the more contemporary use of fused glass. From a background in teaching Maggie has been fortunate to have been able to incorporate her love of stained glass with teaching at a local community centre and is delighted to now be a member of the Glass Easel Collective. www.broomleafstainedglass.co.uk 

James Cockerill was First Prize winner of the prestigious 2019 Stevens Architectural Glass Artist of the Year Award. He is a Fine Art graduate and founder of HALTglass, a glass studio based in Sutton Green, Surrey. www.haltglass.com 

Rachel Mulligan is a stained glass artist who tells stories using the beguiling beauty of coloured light. The constantly shifting passage of natural light through the work reflects her passion for the changing seasons. Rachel is inspired by the quirky, descriptive depiction of animals, plants and everyday life found in medieval art. Working in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts, Rachel designs and makes the windows as a means of contemporary artist expression. From her purpose built studio in Farncombe she works on commissions, exhibition panels and also teaches stained glass to help keep the skills alive. www.rachelmulligan.co.uk 

Helen Russell works from her garden studio in Chobham where she uses traditional methods to create bespoke stained-glass pieces and is greatly inspired by nature and this is reflected in her work. She loves to use handmade mouth blown glass where possible because of its beauty and range of colours available and enjoys engraving and glass painting using paints, silver stains and enamels that are fired in a kiln giving extra depth and detail. Helen teaches classes and workshops from her studio as well as at the Guildford Adult Education Centre. www.helenrussellstainedglass.co.uk 

Caroline Small makes images in glass inspired from the patterns and structures in nature. She originally trained as a scientist and numbers are present in many natural settings from sunflowers, crystal structures, shells and succulent plants. Caroline finds the mathematical sequence of numbers pleasing and science creates amazing and beautiful structures, which act as the inspiration for her work. She etches the images into flash glass, paints and fires the glass, which is then leaded up into panels using traditional techniques. Caroline works from her studio in Chobham on commissions, exhibition panels and teaching workshops. www.bombinaglass.co.uk

Jessica Stroud has been working with stained glass for over 25 years. She designs and makes original pieces from small commemorative panels and hangings to larger window and door panels. Jessica also teaches stained and fused glass techniques. www.jessicastroud.com 

All pieces on display are available for purchase, with items available for collection at the conclusion of the exhibition. For all sale enquiries please visit the Box Office or email your interest to jackie.kirk@farnhammaltings.com.

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