Tinker Tailor 2020

Series of eight stained glass exhibition panels, sketches and linocuts

The stained glass panels were inspired by the old fortune-telling rhyme ‘Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man or thief?’ We used to count cherry stones when I was young to foretell who you would marry. For boys the question was ‘what will  you would be?’ How things have changed!

During Lockdown I was reminded of two sketches I had made almost 20 years ago of stained glass panels illustrating Tailor and Soldier. I posted the sketches on Instagram and discovered they were made in the 1920’s by Charles Paine and Daisy Luther and Tinker and Sailor also existed. While sketching them I began thinking about how the theme could be retold with a contemporary twist to reflect the tremendous effort of the community during the Covid crisis. From the building of the Nightingale hospitals to the cleaners in care homes, and from Thursday night clapping to supporting those people who suddenly had no income, the eight panels reflect daily life in 2020.

Inspired by the graphic nature of Charles Paine’s designs, I wanted to use line more than tone in the panels. I have always loved linocuts and dug out my old tools and some scraps of lino that had been in a box for the last 25 years and I began to explore how the designs would work in black and white. Silver stain is an important element of stained glass, and gives a yellow colour when fired in a kiln. I decided to add yellow watercolour to the linocuts as it helped tell the story.

In the summer of 2020, as Lockdown eased, I travelled to Lamberts in Germany to buy the sheets of mouth-blown glass in colours that are not available in this country. The trip took three days and when the glass was shipped back it was as exciting as a Christmas when I was a child. Packed inside two crates were over forty sheets of beautiful glass full of bubbles and textures and in glorious colours.

The series of stained glass panels were on display at the Stained Glass Museum in Ely during 2021. 

Click through the images to see the sketches that inspired the work and the linocuts that followed.

Dimensions: Each stained glass panel measures 40cm x 25cm unframed



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