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Contemporary Stained Glass

When my first book “Contemporary Stained Glass” was published in 1989, noone had done a book like this before. It immediately became a worldwide success, selling more than 30,000 copies, mainly within the small glass-art world. In a single book, you could immediately grasp how this unique artform had evolved over the twentieth century. You could see the work of all the leading artists of the time and the works of their immediate predecessors. But, despite this success, the book did not arrest the slow erosion of stained glass into an increasingly marginalised industry.


Mouth-blown glass is made at Lamberts in Germany using the traditional ‘medieval’ technology.



Stained glass is a technique profoundly associated with medieval architecture and its nineteenth-century revival. But, contrary to these associations, stained glass can be a wonderful medium for the realisation of contemporary design. Due to being made with a completely hand-made material, it has the animation and the life, which we do NOT receive from industrially manufactured materials. Every single piece of glass has its own unique flavour, colour and texture.

Stained glass windows alive and full of texture



Stained glass remains one of those subjects, a bit like ceramics, that people love to take up as a hobby. The richness of the colours, and the way sunlight can bring a window so dramatically to life. Not forgetting the long association of stained glass with sacred spaces, all give the medium an almost magical appeal. But, despite all this sentiment, the reality is it is rarely used outside of churches, synagogues, and mosques.


The Patrick Heron window at the Tate Gallery, St Ives that we made in 1992.


This is sad because the medium is no longer bound by the restrictions of lead. We can laminate mouth-blown glass to float glass, and thus can make panels of almost any size. The biggest problem with leaded glass was that, without a frame, it has no structural strength. But, the addition of the frame negates a fundamental aesthetic of contemporary architecture which aims to create a structure that appears to have no support, that is seamless, frameless and transparent, where inside and outside start to merge into one.

One of Martin Donlin's enormous windows for Indianapolis Airport, using mouth-blown glass bonded to float glass.


By laminating the mouth-blown glass to float glass we can create large panels. But of course, the very purpose of this material is to create a separation between interior and exterior, to enclose the space rather than to allow the two to merge into one. Stained glass is a wonderful way to obscure an ugly view, create some privacy, and make a space more personal, safe, and enclosed.


matisse glass art work


For more information on developing and commissioning a public art project please don?t hesitate to contact Andrew Moor & Associates.

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