Glass Consciousness Forget Church - Stained Glass Now Features in the Most Fashionable Houses. by Rhiannon Batten
Batten, Rhiannon, The Independent (London, England)
A FRIEND of mine recently bought a new house and, pleasant though the rest of the house is, if it were mine I would be tempted to spend all day in the downstairs toilet. This is not because of some nasty digestive disorder but simply because of the exquisite red sparkly window discreetly shielding the visitor from the outside world.
Glass seems to be in every fashionable new building at the moment but, for many, stained glass is something of a black sheep in this revival. Some specialist courses have closed down and, in an era of minimal furnishings, brightly coloured, glitzy windows are not hugely popular. Because of their unfortunately nerdish reputation, when most people think of good stained glass, churches are the thing that spring to mind. But, for those in the know, stained glass is now being reincarnated in a much more modern way, with soft, subtle colours and increasingly intricate techniques.
One of the designers at the head of this revival is 29-year-old Jenny Vyse, whose modern designs gleam out from houses and offices up and down the country. Despite working three days out of five as a design and technology teacher - she finds the lifestyle a good combination of solitude and sociability - Jenny first began making stained glass by chance when, as a student in Manchester, the house she was living in - including the front room's stained-glass window - got burgled. The cost of a replacement window was prohibitive so Jenny decided to buy a set of tools and have a go at replacing the window herself. After a frantic time spent reading up and pestering the guys from the local glass shop, Jenny set to work. Things went so well that she was soon moving on to the front door, and then her parents' front door, and soon a whole list of commissions and presents for family and friends, until setting up her own stained-glass business seemed the natural thing to do. The satisfaction that Jenny gets from her work is obvious. "Breaking into a massive sheet of glass for the first time seemed such a dangerous and exciting thing to do," she explains. "For at least a year it seemed mad, but now working with glass seems totally normal." One of Jenny's most popular designs is the bold marguerite window that glints out from her own house. In fact, the first thing you notice is the stained glass in the front door and, as she herself admits, "it's tempting to do everything in glass - I've even used offcuts from a lamp to decorate a row of tiles in the kitchen". Not only is the house a good advert for her work, it is also where the designs get made. When I visited her small north London …
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Publication information: Article title: Glass Consciousness Forget Church - Stained Glass Now Features in the Most Fashionable Houses. by Rhiannon Batten. Contributors: Batten, Rhiannon - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 24, 1998. Page number: 10. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.