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Glass artist shines a light on notable events

York-based stained glass artist Ann Sotheran has more than 25 years experience of designing and making stained glass for a wide range of locations. She works in the traditional English method of stained glass making, selecting and cutting glass from hand-made sheets sourced from English Antique Glass at Alvechurch, Lamberts in Germany and St Just in France, along with precious remnants of glass once made by Hartley Woods in Sunderland. The glass may be acid etched, painted and stained before being leaded.

Ann prefers to do all the work herself as then she can make artistic decisions at each and every stage of the process. Much of her work in churches consists of personal memorial windows dedicated to the memory of those who loved and served their own parishes and congregations. Examples of these can be found in locations scattered across North Yorkshire and beyond. However, not all of Ann’s work is connected to churches and some of her recent projects are outlined below:

St Margaret’s, Brookfield, Middlesbrough, Lady Chapel window 2014

3 lights each 400 x 1910 (16” x 75”)

The design is based on Psalm 1:3, the text is taken from the New Living Translation – “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season”.

The tree is standing with its roots in the water, with only a suggestion of a riverbank separating sky, land and water. The tree continues to grow up beyond the top frame of the window, giving the impression that growth may continue indefinitely, it is not just constrained to what we can actually see with our own eyes; thus it further symbolises a person’s spiritual growth in the presence of the Lord.

The window is made with a range of antique glass, painted, with some silver stain, and leaded.

St Peter’s school, York, Chapel window 2014

3 tracery panels: 2 each approx. 570 wide x 500 high, (22½x 19½) 1 at 600 x 600(24” x 24”)

The panels are above the south door to the chapel and contain the seven key values of St Peter’s school. The colour blue reflects the school badge and the design expresses a sense of growth, from the darkness of ignorance through an increasing light of knowledge and personal development to a golden green apex. The inscriptions are represented as seeds in golden pods on the branches of a tree.

The window is made with some precious remnants of chunky Hartley Wood antique glass and some Lamberts antique glass, and leaded with painted and silver stained detail.

St Mark’s church Marske, Aviators’ window 2015

2 lights each 470 x 1750 (69” x 18½”)

The window was commissioned to commemorate the life of Edward Petrie who was killed in an accident at Marske whilst attempting to fly from the Brooklands aerodrome to Edinburgh in 1912. The left hand light shows the east coast of England with the flight path shown as a red line, and Petrie’s Martin Handasyde monoplane flying in the sky above Marske itself. A small text panel on the glass at this point gives his name and dates.

The text “They shall mount up on wings as Eagles” is taken from Isaiah 40:31 and refers to Petrie’s strong Christian faith as well as the fact that the RAF uses eagle wings as part of its official badge.
The window also commemorates by extension all of the young men who learned to fly at the Marske RFC/RAF fighter school before and during the first World War. This is shown in the right hand light where a number of early types of aircraft soar upwards from Marske airfield (with Bessoneau hangars) at the base of the design, past Marske Hall, the old church of St Germaine and over the headland at Saltburn.

The RFC badge at the top of the right-hand light is balanced by the dove of the Holy Spirit in the left-hand light.

The window is made with antique glass, leaded, with painted and stained detail.

St Mary’s church Hemingbrough, east Yorks, Baptism window 2012

The design is based on the sacrament of baptism. The area of blue, white and green represents a pool of water with overlapping ripples spreading outwards, centred on the Holy Spirit shown as a white Dove hovering at the top.

The green areas in the pool represent growth and fresh life – a new life in Christ when a person is baptised into the Church.

The fish in the lower part of the design indicates the presence of Christ in the design, as does the golden cross which weaves through the whole composition, and the seven clear drops are the seven gifts of the spirit (Isaiah 11:2) which are bestowed by the Holy Spirit on the newly baptised.

The texts are taken from Ephesians 4:4&5 and the simple dedication is to the benefactress of the window.

The window is made of antique glass and is leaded with painted and stained detail.

Harrogate - Nando’s restaurant 2015

Single panel 655 x 3145 (25½” x 124”)

Due to the sensitive nature of this urban environment the architects, STAC Architecture, commissioned a stained glass feature panel to be installed inside the existing “shop front” façade in lieu of the more conventional signage. The panel was made of various textured glass with decorative additions, leaded with some painted detail. The lower part of the panel is only visible from the outside of the building, being concealed from within by a seating unit and is back-lit. The white frosted glass was selected to show up well under these conditions.

It was made in three sections which were encapsulated into a single sealed unit, and then mounted in a hinged steel frame within the existing window reveal. Encapsulation by Twinseal, York; frame by Martin Johnson & Co, York.

Domestic commissions

For a private house in York “Theo” 2013

530 x 530 (21” x 21”)

Panel commemorating the life of a rather sophisticated back alley cat called Theo. A leaded panel made with acid etched flashed glass, with paint and coloured enamel.

For a private house near York “Wise Hare” 2014

350 x 500 (14” x 20”)

Painted panel commissioned for a guest cottage near York, painted antique glass, nuggets and lead.

Further examples of Ann's work can be seen on her website at www.annsotheran.co.uk