I am Debbie Copley and I'm a stained glass artist living in Silverdale on the edge of Morecambe Bay, Lancashire. From my studio named ‘Debbie’s Shed’ I design stained glass bird and animal sculptures and undertake commissions for leaded windows, panels and other bespoke items.
Well. Never had a commission quite like this before.
My initial response was to say no, oh no, i don’t do folk. But when Laurie sent me her photos and i saw the wonderful glamour of Goldie and the gentleness of Ouli. Well, I said I would give it some thought.
This piece is to sit in a meditation corner. They are special individuals. And I have done my best to do them justice.
I am really happy. Sometimes when I finish a piece I may think, ach, I’d have done (that) a little differently. But this time. Well i think I gave it the best I got.
And how did i do it….
Laurie said red lippy and glasses… and big ears… and I’ll have nailed it. (Glad I didn’t get confused!)
So, thanks to Jo Vincent down at The Factory for her feedback and loan of her shot blast cabinet. I made Goldie using flashed glass and a hand cut stencil resist for her lippy smile and gorgeous red frock (I had two shots. It is a fine line indeed between red blush being there… and then gone!) And hand painted above. On a rainbow of amber golden tones.
Yep. Shot blasting is all about courage but knowing when to stop. And then of course you have to keep it clean through all the other messy processes. (Thanks to Jo for the tip of firing it to smooth the surface and make it bit more resistant to smears)
Ouli was hand painted too with the images united across sweeps of vintage muranese glass. All put together using traditional leadwork techniques.
So when i got asked to do a panel to work with existing leaded lights… and i saw the colours… and i saw the classic shapes. I thought I could make it work again.
I presented my ideas to the customer and apparently a slow smile spread across Hannah’s face as it dawned on her what she was looking at. (Jamie her Dad had commissioned me to design the panel as a surprise for his daughter. I sent Hannah a drawing for Christmas. And now she has the real thing in her home).
Red and yellow goldfinches I presented. On spiky spiky teasels. And oh how these resonated with Hannah. She grew up in the cotton towns north of Manchester. Where teasels and goldfinches danced in abundance.
Here i show how this one came together….
Lovely old muranese glass and some gorgeous reamy clear (that came from somewhere!)(wish I knew where. I’d like some more) that complimented the reds and yellows of hand rolled tatra glass.
Painted in shades of sepia and tracing black.
And i loved them goldfinch so much i made a whole charming lot…
Sunflowers and swallows and Blackwell inspired this installation… (and lovely to get a bit of help fitting from my wee brother)
And back on the bench, these lovely commissions went out..
fox and badgers for granny’s… coots for friends… swifts for daughters… a wren that must be wee!.. oh and wiry wagers for auctions… and angels just because… oh and crazy feet on bouncy shoe stretchers…!
Katherine and Iain are art lovers. Their home is filled with beautiful colours and textures, I had previously captured their woodland garden in glass and now it was time for the flower garden and the view from a different aspect. A place where goldfinch feast on the evening primrose…
We want your paint this time..and can it be abstract they asked…
It seemed simple to me. I envisioned flashes of vibrant red and yellow amidst the chaotic hedgerow and soaring seed heads.
Small birds. Big space. So I broke the panel down into chunks fielded by the vertical lines of the cow parsley’s and evening primrose with the sweeping curves at the bottom to mimic the dark dark undergrowth.
Every ‘chunk’ I planned to do differently. Same subject different paint application. Fun fun fun with the paintbrush. And then side by side the jumbled pieces come together and make the eyes dart around the picture that is punctuated with splashes of the red and yellow. goldfinch.