Tag Archives: Phil dutton stained glass

Rain didn’t stop play

Saturday we opened the garden in support of the National Gardens Scheme.


The day had a promising start with bright sunshine and not a cloud in the sky but the humidity heralded the torrential rain and thunder storm that was to hit mid-afternoon.


5070d7f8-de42-48de-8e08-f0e1fafb81e5Some came armed with umbrellas and rain coats and some with nothing but a positive attitude and much laughter as they resigned themselves to getting absolutely soaked through!

Huge thanks to The Pot Place for loaning five ’emergency’ hanging baskets. We had ordered some self watering ‘cup and saucer’ ones which have an inbuilt reservoir and only require watering twice a week,  but they didn’t arrive and the courtyard wouldn’t have looked as good without the lovely flowers.

Thanks go to Phil’s Mum  who helped with last minute weeding, tidying and ticket sales and his Dad who counted legs, divided by two and kept the visitors entertained in the garden.

cd2f57da-8d0f-4451-88cb-76ce86d20bbcThanks also to our lovely friends who paid to come in although they have seen the garden many times before.

We turned the summerhouse into a pop-up gallery to display some of Phil’s work.


And we get to do it all again for NGS on Sunday 11th June 12-5pm … hope to see you then!


That’s the Spirit !

This weekend the Village hosted The Spirit of the Eden art exhibition. This is the third show and the standard of work gets better and better year on year.

Phil exhibited his paintings ‘Lanercost Priory’, ‘Us and the Village’, ‘Armathwaite sunrise’ and ‘Why hast thou forsaken me?’ This last painting was inspired by a recent proposal to locate a massive wind turbine in the area. It’s an observation that when one is planted more will grow. The drawing and narrative for his stained glass window recently installed in the Church next door hopefully encouraged visitors to go and have a look.


The work of the mysterious local artist Goldy (the Banksy of Eden) was exhibited alongside and evoked mixed reactions. Some found it hilariously funny, others were disgusted, some just didn’t get it.


Perhaps the latter included dog walkers who don’t pick up …. Maybe they would if they were made of gold!

Return to Eden


In 2008 we decided it was time to move from Poole in Dorset on the south coast and relocate to the north. The purpose of the move was primarily to be nearer our families and then a job opportunity arose in the north which would mean less travelling for me me and Phil would also be in a position to pick up more restoration and church work at the Albion Glass studio. After much searching for the ideal place, we found Armathwaite and we knew without a doubt, this was where we wanted to be.

Phil started working  1 week in Cumbria and 3 weeks in Dorset while the house was on the market. Being 370 miles apart was difficult and so Phil painted a small watercolour incorporating themes of moving north to Armathwaite in the Eden Valley and returns to Eden as a focus for positive energy.

It took a year for the right house to find us. With all our ducks in a row and planets aligned, the house was finally sold and we began our own return to Eden.


Each year the swallows make their incredible long haul flight from Africa  and return to Eden, reminding us that summer is in its way. Last year we spotted the first to return on 12th April.


The river Eden is at the heart of Armathwaite and each year the salmon return to mate and spawn. I saw my first salmon leaping up the waterfall on my birthday in November 2009 which was the month we moved here.


A year later in 2010, we were fortunate to see dozens of wriggling elvers making their arduous pilgrimage up the Eden from their birth place in the Sargasso Sea. The water falls over an intrusion of igneous rock estimated to be 55.8 million years old.


On their journey the salmon and elvers pass through an ancient sandstone gorge with towering cliffs that have 5 faces, a salmon and a poem (a corruption of ‘The compleat angler’ by Izaak Walton 1653) carved into them. The carving of the poem is thought to be the work of a Victorian gentleman, William Mounsey and dated 1855. The faces are thought to be considerably earlier.


Trees are very close to Phil’s heart as you know! This one represents the first Eden.

And now it is finished and installed into the church. You can see ‘Spirit of the Eden 2015’ post for the preliminary design and start of the window.

A Better Vanished Time

Hand tools…….They don’t make’em the way they used to!


The process of manufacturing stained glass windows has changed little since medieval times. Admittedly an electric temperature controlled soldering iron is a vast improvement on a lump of copper heated in a fire and a tungsten carbide glass cutting wheel is also an improvement on its predecessor; the diamond tipped cutter.

The rest of the tools required are fairly standard hand tools but I prefer a tool with a bit of character and where possible a family connection.

A sharp blade (Leading knife) for cutting lead calme. I made the one pictured thirty three years ago by burning and pegging a standard putty knife blade into one of my grandfathers woodworking boxwood gouge handles. You can still just see his name  J Dutton stamped into the handle. This one was retired many years ago as the blade has become to short for practical use. It was reemployed for the leading of the Armathwaite window purely because of its historical family connections.

The oil sharpening stone was a recent inheritance and is stamped with my great grandfathers name  J W Dutton.

The strange shaped piece of wood is known as a Lathekin and is used for opening the channels of the lead sections. I made five or six thirty or so years back out of an old teak table top. It is decorated with my monogram combining the initials P S J D.

Horseshoe nails to hold the glass and lead in position on the bench before it is soldered and a hammer to knock them in. Although l mostly use the handle of the leading knife for that purpose. The hammer is a fine specimen bought locally from ‘Hillarys Antiques’.

The small plane is used to adjust the lead profile, tapering leads purely for aesthetic effect. I made mine in school metalwork class when I was aged fourteen or fifteen. The body was cast into sand moulds in aluminium (a kindly donated greenhouse), the blade was made of steel and hardened by a process l recall as ‘Case Hardening’.





Spirit of the Eden 2015

Last weekend was August Bank Holiday and hosted the Spirit of the Eden open arts and crafts exhibition here in Armathwaite. I took some hand knitted tea cosies with teapots and thought if they don’t sell, well that’s several friends sorted for Christmas. I sold 2 hedgehogs and spent the evening knitting another. I’ve been asked to make one with a Highland cow as a Christmas present. I will have a go and let you know how it turns out.


Phil has started work on the stained glass window for the church where we got married 2 years ago last April and exhibited it as a work in progress, together with the drawings and a resume of the story depicted. It’s currently assembled on a piece of toughened glass made to the same size as the final window. The individual pieces of coloured glass are temporarily held in place with ‘Blu-tac’.  This enabled it to be displayed on the light box so visitors could see it more easily but also allows Phil to take it to the church periodically to see it in context and make changes to the glass if required. The theme of the window is ‘Return to Eden’ and the symbolism can be interpreted in both religious and secular context. The idea came about whilst we were looking to move North. We chose Armathwaite which is in the Eden Valley and focused on finding a suitable home to buy. We were living on the South coast and Phil was working periodically in the North, a journey of about 270 miles each way. We did a find a property but the sale wasn’t progressing very fast so Phil made this little painting of the house to focus our positive energy on making it ours. The house is still for sale four years later!

'Return to Eden'. This is Eden Villa, the house we wanted to buy and our offer was accepted.

‘Return to Eden’. This is Eden Villa, the house we wanted to buy and our offer was accepted.

The rainbow angel is me being dragged North by Phil from the South coast which had been my home for over twenty years. The ‘signature’ bottom left looks like Phil’s however it actually says BH15 which was the first bit of my post code. The plant beside the front door is actually our bay tree which was still in Dorset at the time. The salmon come up the Eden river to their original home every year without having to be dragged! The Goldfinch is often used in religious context to represent sacrifice; here it reflects the sacrifice I made to sell up and move with Phil. The red dots and blue lines at the bottom left to right represent the motorways and junctions of the journey from Poole to Armathwaite. The bottom right corner is blank as the story was ‘to be continued….’ This is written on the back of the painting which was put on the mantel where I could see it every day.

We finally succeeded in our return when we bought our home in November 2011. Phil offered to make a window for our village church, The Church of Christ and St Mary, Armathwaite and the offer was received with great enthusiasm by the Church Wardens. The plan went before the Diocese Advisory Council last year and was approved, so we have until March 2016 to complete the project. Here is the progress so far.

Preliminary drawing for 'Return to Eden' window

Preliminary drawing for ‘Return to Eden’ window

There’s a way to go yet; painted detail to be applied, hydrofluoric acid etching and painted pieces to be kiln fired.


Design overview: the theme of the window is ‘Return to Eden’.

1. The swallow.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries when interest in the apocryphal books of the Bible flourished, artists were quick to incorporate the themes from these stories into their work.

One such story was found in the ‘Pseudo-Matthew Legend’ known in antiquity as ‘The book about the origin of the Blessed Mary and the childhood of the Saviour’. It tells of the Christ Child playing with toys or clay birds which His companions brought to Him, and which He miraculously brought to life. This ‘bringing to life’ quickly came to stand for the idea of Resurrection. The swallow, long considered as a sign of spring and the rebirth of the year, was assumed to hibernate in the mud through the winter and then become revitalized with the advent of warm weather. The similarity between the idea of the dormant mud-encrusted swallow and the clay bird is obvious. Its connection with the Resurrection theme (and thereby with Christ) led to its being called in parts of Germany, the ‘Madonna Bird’.

The swallow is depicted in the window with outstretched wings against a stylised sweeping cross to suggest the crucifixion. The constellation of Cygnus at the top of the window, also known as The Northern Cross, is positioned above the swallow to further represent the crucifixion. Swallows normally migrate at the end of summer however this bird has remained even when the leaves have fallen from the branches suggesting that Christ will not leave you.

2. The salmon
The fish represents a return to Eden as the salmon return to the place of their birth to spawn in the tributaries of the river Eden. The fish also echoes the IXTHUS symbol of early Christian faith.


3. The elvers
In 2013 we were fortunate enough to observe elvers climbing the waterfall on the Eden at Armathwaite over a geological feature known as the Cleveland Armathwaite Dyke. This is an intrusion of igneous rock estimated to be 55.8 million years old. 12 elvers represent the 12 apostles and their struggle up the dyke symbolises the arduous journeys made by the Apostles to spread the word of God.

4. The sun moon and stars
These are symbolic of the first day of The Creation when God said ‘let there be light’.

5. The tree
The tree is a symbol of the first Eden and the three fruits represent the Holy Trinity.



6. The river Eden
This water is symbolic of life force and the central feature of Armathwaite


7. The sandstone cliffs

These are part of a sandstone gorge carved through 250 million year old fossilised sand dunes by the river Eden. The towering cliffs have five faces, a salmon and a poem (a corruption of ‘The compleat angler’ by Izaak Walton 1653) carved into them. The carving of the poem is thought to be the work of a Victorian gentleman, William Mounsey and dated 1855. The faces, one of which is represented in the window are thought to be considerably earlier.

8. The viaduct arches
These may be seen as bridge arches or an open doorway through which the swallow has flown. Armathwaite was probably most densely populated during the construction of the railway and the viaduct connects the village with the wider community.

The glass is all hand made using traditional methods  by artisans. The majority was sourced from English Antique glass, Alvechurch, Birmingham. It’s the last remaining manufacturer of hand made sheet glass in the UK. The rest was from Lamberts which is a German manufacturer.

We will post further images as work progresses.

Floral stained glass

The 28 day period for anyone to object to the proposed new stained glass window for the church is up tomorrow ……. So far not a murmur. I have already made a start on the Panel as it had always been my intention to make it anyway and we would have found somewhere to make use of it in our own property …… Fortunately it looks as though that won’t be necessary!


I will post some photos of the design and work in progress soon. In the meantime here are a few photos of stained glass on a floral theme.

Floral stained glass

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I made these panels several years ago after making enquiries with a supplier of grave goods in the Midlands. The idea had been that they were to be encapsulated into toughened glass double glazed units and then fitted into purpose cut openings in granite headstones. We were in the process of moving North and the idea was never pursued …… One day perhaps?

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These two panels were to be window ornaments slotted into freestanding oak frames ……. I started putting a bumble bee into most of the floral designs at this time ….. This now ties in quite nicely with the Buzzshelter theme.

Detail of bumble bee in stained glass

Detail of bumble bee in stained glass

Detail of sunflowers

Detail of sunflowers

Seasonal Stained Glass

Phil Dutton Stained Glass Logo

Phil Dutton Stained Glass Logo

It’s Christmas Eve and the waiting is almost over. Not long now until the scent of mulled wine and mince pies drifts over from our awesome village shop Eden Stores Armathwaite.

I have intended to post something in relation to stained glass for some time but have failed to take the relevant photos. So with the spirit of the season almost upon us, I thought I may as well post a few photos of seasonal stained glass that I made several years ago.

the Adoration of the Magi is a replica of a window in Cologne Cathedral. The Nativity is a composite of various Medieval panels with my own Star of Bethlehem  loosely based on Halley’s Comet from the Bayeux tapestry.

Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

Stained Glass Nativity

Stained Glass Nativity

Stained Glass Robin

Stained Glass Robin