Meet the Maker: stained glass artist Linda Banks

5th February, 2020 | 0 comments

In this regular feature we speak to one of the members of the Wessex Guild to find out a bit more about them and their craft, techniques and inspirations.

How did you start doing your craft? What inspires you?

I had the opportunity to work with glass as part of my degree course and loved the medium straight away. I am inspired by how light brings the colours and textures of the stained glass to life. Each artwork changes magically through the day. All of my designs are unique and my philosophy is to make pieces in a style that I like and hope that customers like them too. 

I am influenced by the Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Deco periods. I also love Oriental art. A feeling of flow is important to me and helps my work stand out from the crowd.

What experience or relevant qualifications do you have?

I hold a BA (hons) in Art and English from the University of Surrey and completed additional courses in particular techniques, including copper foil and lead for windows.

Where do you work? Do you have an interesting workspace or location?

I was very lucky to find a home with a converted basement when I moved to Hampshire. This separate space is ideal for a craft that inevitably creates lots of glass splinters. Most of the time I manage to keep the cat out of the room, but she loves to try to get onto my studio chair! 

What is your design and making process? Can you explain a little about your techniques?

Happily, I have never had a problem coming up with creative ideas. I draw little sketches of what I want to achieve and then translate the best one to a full-size drawing. I make patterns to draw around when I am using solid coloured glasses. For traditional windows I build up the design like a jigsaw, wrapping lead strips, called cames, around each piece of glass and spot soldering the joints. For stained glass lampshades I use the copper foil method, wrapping each piece of glass in foil before soldering them all together on a fibreglass mould. Whichever technique I use, it is extremely time consuming – and the cleaning after each stage seems to take about as long as the construction.

What is unique about your work? Do you use special methods or make unusual products?

Every piece I make is different, owing to the variations in the glass and the fact that everything is handmade. I have always liked adding texture, with glass marbles and wire details 

Have you won any awards for your work or exhibited somewhere prestigious?

The first lampshade I created when I set up Orchid Stained Glass was selected for a specialist glass exhibition held at Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House in Cumbria. Showing my lamp alongside the work of some of the biggest names in the glass world was a great boost for my new business. I have also had work exhibited at the Vessel Gallery in London, The Lightbox Gallery in Woking and AppArt Art and Sculpture Trail in Surrey.

Can you tell us the story behind a special artwork you made? Who was it for and why is it memorable?

I have been lucky enough to receive many special commissions over the years and they are always fun to do. Recently I worked with Cassie Nicholas, who won the BBC2 TV series Interior Design Masters in 2019. Her prize for winning was to redesign the vast Jin Bar at the Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush Hotel in London. She chose me to make a set of rich green, Art Deco-style standard lamps as part of her design. Her inspiration was the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz and she created a sumptuous feel in the space. That was a particularly memorable project.

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