When I was researching the market before I set up Orchid Stained Glass, I came across a competition to have glass works of art shown at the lovely Cumbrian Arts and Crafts house, Blackwell. Having visited Blackwell a few years earlier, I was immediately inspired to design a new stained glass light shade that would fit in with this beautiful and stylish venue.
When, a few weeks later, I heard my lampshade had been selected for the exhibition, it seemed a positive sign that my new business would be a success.
The shade is named Marbellous as it features 500 clear marbles running in uneven tiers around the sides. It also has almost 300 white glass ‘shards’, which were individually foiled as part of the traditional copper foil method of construction. You may have heard of this technique as ‘Tiffany’, as it was pioneered by the stained glass studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany towards the end of the 19th century.
The approach remains almost identical to that taken over 100 years ago, except today we have pre-glued rolls of copper foil and back then they had to cut strips of foil from sheets of copper and use bees’ wax to stick the foil to the glass. Both then and now it remains a long and slow process of construction, but the results are always worth it!
Art Deco style
The design has a stylish Art Deco feel and I chose the neutral colour to contrast with the bold, linear design created by the blacked patina on the solder. The copper foil around each marble gives a subtle, warm glow when the lamp is lit.
I was delighted that this lamp was selected for the prestigious ‘New Glass – Ancient Skill, Traditional Artform’ exhibition in 2013. Judges for the exhibition included Reino Liefkes, curator of Glass and Ceramics at the V&A Museum, London, and Victoria Scholes, chair of the Contemporary Glass Society.
Since then, I have made many variations of Marbellous for private and commercial customers, in different sizes and colour schemes. It is my most popular design as it works well in both traditional and contemporary settings.
Why not commission your own version of Marbellous in a colour and size of your choice?