Designed and produced for the Sunday School/Creche area of St. John’s Church, Read (Nr Burnley) way back in 2002, this was the first new “fully stained” church window project Lightworks produced. It features a depiction of the bible passage “Let the little children come to me..”.
While undertaking a number of plain glass repairs to the leaded windows at St. John’s in 2001, I got chatting to a gentleman who was carrying out odd jobs around the church grounds. I learned this gentleman, John Earnshaw, was St. John’s “unofficial” handyman; a position he had held for many decades. He had also been a parishioner at the church for over 70 years. It was during our conversation that the idea for the commission of a new window as a gift to the church was suggested by him.
The Sunday School/Creche area was overlooked by a plain leaded window that had had its natural light source removed some years previously following the addition of a new vestry extension. It was John’s suggestion that a new pictorial window be installed in its place and back-lit to introduce some colour, light and interest for the children; the chosen theme being somewhat of an obvious choice. Following a number of visits to our studio along with his wife Florence and having gained the necessary permissions (a far simpler task in 2001 than it is today), a formal order was placed for the project.
Looking back at our design with the hindsight of 16 years more experience, there are without doubt elements we would execute differently. The “custard splat” tree foliage is definitely one such area and our solution at the time as to how to produce red flowers with yellow centres (fusing red glass onto clear) would certainly now be undertaken in acid etched flashed glass.
This said, the window retains an innocent, children’s book illustration quality which given its position within the church was very much part of the brief we were set.
“The vestry is still used by children and their parents to this day during our Family Praise communion services and the backlit design is still well appreciated by all”.
Rev. Robert Fielding – Vicar of St. John’s
On its completion, myself and Deborah sat in the pews adjacent to the newly installed window for some considerable time looking at what we had created. I still clearly remember the tremendous sense of achievement we both felt over our first proper foray into the design a production of a stained glass commission on this scale.
It was no secret at the time that the two boys featured in the window were our own children. However a fact we hadn’t divulged was that in the photo we used as a source image, the larger of the two boys (my Son Zane) was actually holding a control pad for a Sega Megadrive and the smaller (Deborah’s Son Harry) was eating a chocolate digestive biscuit.
The Megadrive controller was removed however it is possible to make out the biscuit…..which wasn’t!