Artists opinions

David Pearl

Lamberts mouthblown glass is a fabulous and unique range of glasses for the architectural glass artist.

I first saw Lamberts glass as a student in 1977, while on an Ontario Crafts Council sponsored tour of post war stained glass in Germany. Uniquely memorable and influential were Ludwig Schaffrath’s Cloister windows for Aachen Dom. This way of working with reamy and seeded clear glass, in which the environment beyond the window creates the dynamic of the visual experience, was very impressive. That and the use of the leadwork as drawing was particularly striking and influential. On the same trip I was also impressed with the opak colours used by Johannes Schreiter and Georg Meistermann. The way in which the glass soaked up the light and was saturated with colour in Schreiter’s work affected me deeply. Also, the eccentric and witty Meistermann’s opened up new worlds of expressive possibility for me. This was a revolution in stained glass design that was to have profound influence at Swansea College of Art, in Wales, where I was studying. A revolution in design and glass use which seemed to totally pass by the English studio tradition, but inspired a generation of international designers in Architectural Glass coming out of the Welsh school, myself among them.

My first public commission, was while artist in residence at the European Centre for Folk Studies in Llangollen, and I used Lamberts glass throughout the triptych. The window takes as its theme and background, the humble ruled notebook page, combined with runic text, Europe’s first written language.

I was influenced by Schraffrath’s use of opal whites, transparent figured glasses and leadline drawing, in a window I designed for Missenden Abbey in 1988. I used Lambert’s reamy and echt antique in other windows throughout the abbey as well. I used Lamberts glass for a window in the entrance area, where I included historic renaissance roundels from the Abbey. These were fortunately saved from the fires that ravaged the building in the early 1980’s.

Years later while doing works throughout the Grand Theatre in Swansea, Wales, I had the pleasant experience of having glass made to my colour specifications. This was a great experience because I was able to visit the factory in Waldsassen and was very impressed by the welcome, I received. It was tremendous watching sheet glass being made. An added pleasure afterwards was finding more sheets of the colours I had ordered in the stock at Bendheims in New York (Passaic); all identified with my initials DP 1 through DP 6; a range of transparent blues and bluey greens.

Later, on a project for the Sisters of Providence Motherhouse in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, I created works for all the windows in the Motherhouse, using opal whites from Lamberts, to create a meditative atmosphere for the sisters.

I love the range of glass that Lamberts produces and the quality of making that makes cutting and handling easy and reliable. Much of the above work was made in my studio in Swansea, but I also had the pleasure of using Lamberts glass on projects made at Derix Studios, Taunusstein. The dining room window at Missenden was made there. As was my public commission for the Channel View Centre in Cardiff, Wales. There I used Opak colours in the suite of windows to recreate satellite images of the United Kingdom. Later, in a project made in my Swansea studio, I combined Lamberts glass with dichroic fliters and cut metal sheet, for the Tower of The Ecliptic, a public observatory in Swansea, Wales. Many of these works have been published; The Tower of the Ecliptic appears in Robert Kelhmann’s ‘Twentieth Century Stained Glass – New Directions’

David Pearl, Artist