Short Course tutor profile, Sasha Ward
When asked I always say that the inspiration for my own glass came from looking at examples of old stained glass. I worked out why certain techniques and design features were used and this enabled me to invent my own way of doing things using modern methods and contemporary imagery. West Dean House is the perfect place to find some of this inspiration. I have three examples below showing different periods of stained glass at West Dean with examples of how they link to the work of my students on this winter's course.
Above the front door you find these beautiful women representing the four seasons. Their provenance is unknown; I concentrate on the pattern making in the background, the detailed clothing and the border. In the detail below left, you can see pale coloured glass pieces with stencilled and hand painted details; for people who don't realise that all traditional stained glass is also painted this is a good place to start. Rob's panel (below right) shows these same techniques, some of the pieces he has painted with iron oxide and silver stain (the origin of the confusing name "stained glass") have already been fired. The arrowed pieces, with a design borrowed from a Pre-Raphaelite gown, are about to go in the kiln.
The twentieth century glass in the bay window shown below depicts Edward James and uses more brightly coloured glass on a clear geometric background. The detail of the paintwork, again in opaque iron oxide, shows rough strokes with highlights scratched out. It reminds me of a rule that I was encouraged to follow when I was learning glass painting, which is to paint across the lead lines: in the detail (below centre) there are camouflaged lead lines between the green glass pieces. Sophia (below right) wanted to show a hare and a simplified landscape on similarly rich green glass. She painted the hare in tones of iron oxide using a stencil and drew the ears over the lead line to connect the hare to the rest of the composition.