Commissions come in all shapes and sizes and take me down artistic routes I hadn’t considered before. Now I love birds in branches and I have made quite a few windows featuring our native species in various seasons. But I had never considered a window with exotic birds before taking on my latest commission.

The design for a window can take a long time to resolve. It has to satisfy both the client and me, the artist. During the design process I am thinking about how I will make the window – which pieces will be cut, engraved and painted, and how they will be leaded together. I’m also thinking about colours, filtering the light, and how the window works with the architecture.

The design doesn’t always work first time. In the case of my Birds of Paradise window, the first design (above) needed some more colour, so it was back to the old drawing board. But nothing is wasted in art. It is all part of the learning process. I intend to make an exhibition panel from this design, as I got very excited about the yellow and white of the bird’s tail and the Frangipani flowers. It is much easier to resolve a window on paper rather than changing it when glass and lead are involved. And it is important to get it right so that everyone is happy with the finished piece.