Friday August 07 2020



Village Art & Literature

Colour and light

Posted on November 22 2012 at 3:01:07 0 comments

Project at Woodside Community School, Dudley.

Hopwood-based artist Paula Hamilton shares her love for the Pre-Raphaelites and some diverse stained glass.

When I was an art student living in London, I often visited the Tate’s wonderful collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, and for several years I had a postcard-sized print of my favourite of them all pinned to my wall – the tragic The Lady of Shalott, painted by John William Waterhouse.

Now that painting has come to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) and is the jewel in the crown of Love & Death: Victorian Paintings from the Tate. This show displays famous paintings from the Tate collection alongside related works from Birmingham’s own collection, and it’s free! 

Because these paintings often “tell a story” and because they are so exquisitely painted, this would make an enjoyable family outing over the Christmas period – it’s on until January 13.

Birmingham and the Midlands have strong connections with the Pre-Raphaelites. Not only does the city have one of the leading pre-Raphaelite painting collections in the world, but Burne-Jones, a star of the movement, was born in Birmingham and has much of his work still in the city.

The stunning stained glass windows in St Philip’s Cathedral, Colmore Row in central Birmingham, were designed by Burne-Jones.

If you are doing your Christmas shopping in Birmingham and want a moment of peace with something beautiful to look at, consider popping in to St Philip’s to see the Burne-Jones windows there – they are very special and may help you regain the Christmas spirit.

I recently visited a modern day stained glass artist at his studio in Stoke Prior near Bromsgrove; his name is Steven Cartwright. Steven trained in this art form for several years, first locally and later at Chelsea Art School where he took a BA in ceramics and glass.

Employment followed college, firstly at a large London-based company – Fusion Glass - and more recently at AEG Glass in Alvechurch.

Finally, six years ago, Steven took the step of going solo and hasn’t looked back. When I visited his workshop he had so many exciting projects on the go it was difficult to know what to look at first – I’ll do my best to describe some of them.

The first thing I noticed was a vast quantity of brown and green bottles; I thought perhaps there had been a massive party going on or a bottled beer festival. In fact these were some of 4,000 bottles from the brewer SABMiller and Steven was working on a commission to make a large scale map of the world made entirely from coloured bottles.

On a previous visit to Steven’s studio I had admired a design he was working on to commemorate 30 years since the Falklands War, commissioned by 30th Signal Regiment.  Since then the piece has been completed and was unveiled at a special Remembrance Day service.

On his bench Steven held up a newly-completed commission for a window to fit in the apex of a private house. The colours used are a stunning variety of blues with slivers of red, orange and yellow to give the piece contrast.

Most recently, Steven has been commissioned to make a glass screen for Brookhaven Hospital in Bromsgrove, where he will work with patients so that the finished piece will reflect their ideas and interests. 

Working with people in the local community is a recurring theme in Steven’s work; he has been artist-in-residence and run design workshops with school children at primary and secondary level so that their creativity is reflected in the windows and doors that have been made for their schools (such as the project at Woodside Community School, Dudley, pictured above).

Fused, kilnformed and sandblasted glass techniques are often used on these projects.

Of course stained glass windows, such as we see in cathedrals and churches, form a considerable part of Steven’s work. T

here is a beautiful window made by him in the Chapel of Hammersmith Hospital, sandblasted glass doors in part of Sheffield Cathedral and a brilliantly bright window in St Mary’s Church in Stone, near Kidderminster. 

But much of the work Steven completes is on a more domestic scale. There are many windows and door panels with leaded lights that he has designed and made around the West Midlands and further afield, doors to make the lucky owner glad to come home and windows to light up the house.

On a yet smaller scale, bespoke glass bowls, wall features and even kitchen splashbacks are all part of Steven’s portfolio. New designs and commissions as well as repair and restoration of leaded light windows and stained glass – he loves it all.

Have a great Christmas and best wishes for 2013.

Please get in touch if you would like me to write about an art event near you. Contact me via The Village or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

What Villagers have been saying about this story . . . most recent comments first


What do you think? Share your views by typing in the box below.




Please enter the word you see in the image below (this keeps the spammers away):

Return to Front Page