Monday, 11 December 2017

Methodist Church, Kilsyth

Some time ago, the Methodist Church in Kilsyth asked me to evaluate a circular window from their old church.

The congregation had decided that they needed to sell the too-large, too-drafty church building so they could build a new one more suited to their purposes.  They now wanted to make use of the glass they had been able to preserve from the original building.

We went through several possibilities ranging from refurbishing the round window and placing it on the wall; the use of the three colours to create a cross-like design in each of three windows on the uphill side of the new building and such like.  Each was an attempt to keep the costs as low as possible.

Further discussion within the congregation and between the property committee and me led to a more ambitious project.  It became clear that one of the objectives of the new building was to be open to the community in a variety of ways.  They also wanted the Methodist Church in Scotland symbol represented and, of course, the cross.  From the discussions, I suggested one of the windows should represent an open door.  I presented some sketches of how the existing glass could be used and combined with new glass to achieve the results.

The congregation considered these and came up with a modified set of images which I worked on.  These modifications were agreed, and I began building the panels for installation against the existing double-glazed windows.

Installation was not difficult, as the windows are not high in the walls.

The congregation is pleased with the result and so am I.

The complete installation

The image in the central window, using streaky glass for the colour and the existing glass for the background.

The right window image using flashed and acid etched blue and red glass. Streaky and original glass form the background.

The open door image in the left window using streaky, painted and stained glass together with the original glass.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


During the construction of "Destruction", the Grenfell Tower fire occurred.  This attempt at housing and then improving the structure at lowest cost, led to a series of disastrous decisions. In short, cost won over safety.

This is my inadequate response to that disaster.

Tower (Urban Distopia 2) from above

"Tower" from the side

"Tower" from another side

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Urban Distopia

Percolating away in my brain for some years has been a difficulty in finding a way of representing the destruction and violence at national levels.  At each stage something prevented me from continuing with any of the ideas.

Now after a visit to a conference, where there was some discussion about both techniques and expression, a new vein of thought and its possible expression began.  This is the first iteration of that thread of thought.  

Urban distopia is about the things that go wrong even when we - either as individuals or as a society - try to do the right things.  This first expression of the idea is based on the destruction being felt throughout the middle east.

Destruction (Urban Distopia 1)

The mirror is an attempt to reflect our responsibility for these things.  We are not just observers.  When we look at the destruction, we are reflected in it.  

Placed on a plinth at approximately eye level, the viewer is reflected amongst the destruction.