Had a wonderful walk with Clare Balding for Ramblings on BBC radio 4 – starting at Dunwich Heath and forming a circle via Eastbridge, the chapel and back up the coast.
The programme goes on air today Thursday 25th March at 3.00pm and is repeated on Saturday 27th march 6.07 am. It is of course available on BBC Sounds.
Huge Thanks to Clare for a wonderful day out and to Karen, her brilliant producer.
Tim Curtis (Life on the Deben) has made a beautiful short film. You can view it here to watch the installation process, learn more about the project and see stunning footage of Minsmere with its new glass resident!
Over 100 people attended an on-line project launch in late November where we were able to show the film for the first time. It is also available on YouTube.
The artwork was installed on 17th October 2020 The whole installation took nine days with the frame being fixed into position first and then the masonary being finished off around its base and left to dry. Fitting the glass was a nerve-wracking process from the moment it left my studio, having to travel over speed bumps, down twisty lanes and across muddy pitted tracks to arrive in the chapel field. Having got the first two smaller panels into position easily the large top section turned out to be hugely difficult. In the end I had to take myself away from watching the two glaziers straining every muscle to lift it high enough, the edges of the glass jerking perilously close to the jagged flint wall. They found a way and by mid afternoon the piece was in place! You will be able to see the process in the short film we are making about the project.
We held a last minute socially distanced Opening Weekend for local friends and supporters on 24/25th October. Thank you to RSPB and everyone who came along including the many walkers who saw the signs and came to have a look as well.
R&J Hogg (Conservation builders) were able to complete the first stage of the building preparation in September 2019. They have done a beautiful job in creating a more solid, as well as aesthetically pleasing, window reveal around the opening – using as many original materials as they could find on site and taking into account the existing features of the old chapel.
In October 2019 I paid a visit to the Bullseye Glass factory in Portland, Oregon where all the raw glass I use to make my own work is made. Founded by 3 glass artists they were the first to make the kind of glass that is so well suited to the way I work – fusing layers of glass together in a kiln. They still have the best range of colours to be found anywhere. I had always wanted to see exactly how the process worked and was not at all disappointed!
There was a compelling reason to make the visit at this time – I needed to discuss A Wing And A Prayer with technicians who not only make the glass itself but work with artists and architects to fabricate large scale glass art projects. I had been consulting with them via email for months of course but in the end you need to sit down with a real person to work it all out!
The glass artwork I am making for A Wing And A Prayer will be thicker than anything I have made before in order to withstand potential wind pressure and it will also be an irregular shape. This can increase the risk of thermal shock when the piece is cooling down in the kiln so it is crucial to create an optimim environment for controlling the temperature precisely.
The visit was brilliant and extremely useful but it became clear that I need to make one more fairly large test piece before I can actually start assembling the glass for the real thing. There is no doubt that it can be done – it is simply a case of getting the firing conditions right and this can take some trial and error! So it’s all good and the “test” piece may even become a stand alone work in its own right but this essential step adds time and costings to the project. I reckon it will have added a month to the time line.
So watch this space for installation date!
Work has begun with Worlingworth Primary School, designing a project for the years 5 and 6 children which will include a visit to the site, making art, telling stories – inspired by the history and the wildlife. We are also hoping to raise further funds to collaborate on making a window for the school.
After months of work and a nailbiting wait we were delighted to be awarded Arts Council England funding back in August 2019! This enables us to start developing all the other aspects of the project that we have envisioned – drawing workshops for all, schools workshops, festival walks, bringing together people who feel isolated and much more. The award will also enable us to pay a few people for at least some of the time, expertise and dedication that has been given to the creating of this project with absolutely no strings attached!
The feature in Suffolk Magazine is now scheduled for February 2020.