A newly commissioned stained glass window designed by students from Elmfield School for Deaf Children goes on display at M Shed from Tuesday 24 November.
The students have been working with museum staff and artist Dora McCormack on the M Shed Stained Glass Window Project since June 2015.
The aim of the project was to create a stained glass window inspired by the collections of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives, Bristol’s important medieval cloth trade and the lost windows from the Weaver’s Chapel in Temple Church (which depicted St Katherine, patron saint of weavers).
Students studied images from Bristol Archives, handled medieval objects at M Shed, took tours of Bristol Cathedral and Temple Church, tried glass-blowing at Bristol Blue Glass and watched stained glass being made at The Creative Glass Guild for inspiration. In a series of artist led workshops they also created their own fused glass tile, experimented with colours, shapes and patterns and had a go at weaving. At the end of the sessions the students created the design brief for the stained glass window.
Kate Fogwill, Assistant Head from Elmfield School, said: “This Stained Glass Window Project has been a wonderful hands-on experience for our students. They have really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the history of Bristol and work very creatively with highly skilled and knowledgeable experts to create a beautiful end product for the people of Bristol to enjoy!”
It has taken stained glass artist Dora McCormack eight weeks to turn their ideas into a work of art referencing the medieval cloth industries and the Weaver’s Chapel dedicated to St Katherine. Details include the leaning tower of Temple Church, a woven background showing the warp and weft of cloth, wavy blue water signifying Bristol’s docks where cloth was traded, colours taken from the students artwork and much more.
The installation date is particularly significant as it was on 24 November 1940 that Temple Church was destroyed in the Bristol Blitz. Tuesday also marks the eve of St Katherine’s Day, an important event in the medieval calendar when the Lord Mayor and merchant burgesses processed to St Katherine’s chapel at Temple Church.
Laura Pye, Head of Bristol Culture, said: “This project has provided us with a fantastic opportunity to present information about medieval Bristol in new and exciting ways. It has brought together students, artists, glass-makers and heritage professionals, involved cultural sites across the city and created an amazing new exhibit for M Shed. I want to thank the Bristol Decorative Fine Art Society, NADFAS: Patricia Fay Memorial Fund and The Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives for their generosity and support.”
The M Shed Stained Glass Window Project has been funded by the Bristol Decorative Fine Art Society, NADFAS: Patricia Fay Memorial Fund and The Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives.
Marion Brown, Young Arts Representative for The Bristol Decorative and Fine Arts Society, said: “NADFAS are passionate about providing children and young people with exciting opportunities to get involved in the arts and this project is a brilliant example of what can be achieved. This work of art has been created by the people of Bristol, for the people of Bristol and is a fitting tribute to all that was lost during the Bristol Blitz”.