Architectural Glass Artist – Deanne Mangold

I met my second cousin Deanne, whilst we were both researching our family histories – we share great-grandparents – her Grandmother, and my Grandfather were siblings. Deanne is an Architectural Glass Artist, so while I was in South Wales, it was with interest and enthusiasm that I asked her to show me some of her work.

She took me first to see a stained glass window that was originally in Aberdare Hospital but has now been moved to the new Cynon Valley Hospital (Ysbyty Cwm Cynon). The window is an impressive piece of stained glass art, set into an internal wall of the chapel. The outside of the window can be seen from the enormous entrance hall of the hospital, but the best view is from inside the first floor chapel. There is a vibrant mix of colours, balanced by green swathes of mountainside and the soft blue of the sky. The sun shines on a row of bright red poppies and two tall, upright blue Delphiniums. In the foreground, irregular patches of vivid reds, subtle ochres, dusky purple, vibrant cobalt, and restful greens; represent gardens bursting with flowers.

Next we went to see another of Deanne’s windows, in the Dare Valley Country Park, Aberdare. The Park, which opened in 1973, was built on land reclaimed from coal mining, in the wake of the Aberfan disaster of 1966. The slag heaps from two worked out collieries in the Dare Valley were removed, the Dare River itself was re-routed, two artificial lakes and a cascade between the lakes were created, and approximately 10.000 trees were planted. Deanne’s window is situated about half way up the stairwell of the Country Park Centre, and shows the striking contrast of a coal miner working in the mine below ground, and the beautiful Welsh mountains of the Dare Valley, the river, lakes and waterfalls above ground. In the top right hand corner is a Ringed Ouzel in flight, a symbol of the park.

We then unfortunately ran out of time. Deanne was booked to remove and renovate an old, round stained glass window, in much need of repair, from the front door of a private customer. But I do hope very much to see some more of her work when I next travel to Wales to visit her. In the mean time, if you are interested to see some more examples of her work, click on one of the links below.


And in the Silence…..

And this morning in the silence, I can hear: the chatter of birds, and the scrambling of a squirrel on the fence; a couple of dogs barking along the path; the faraway drone of traffic on the main road, and the distant rumble of an aeroplane engine. Closer at hand, I can hear my computer humming and my fingers tapping on the keyboard; the radiators clicking as they cool, and if I really listen, the incessant ticking of the clock.

But also in the silence I become aware of my body, my fingers trembling, a slight buzzing in my ears, and a gentle pulse in my chest. My heart is beating, I am alive.

Winter Wonderland

It finally snowed last night. We’ve had a few freezing days of heavy frosts, and this morning the world is draped in white. Every twig and branch is snow edged, fronds hang heavy, and the shrouded washing line, thick as a hawser, droops between the house and the hornbeam tree at the bottom of the garden.

There is more wildlife evident this morning than I’ve seen all week. A small flock of long-tailed tits flit through the hornbeam, tiny and grey, only noticeable as they dart lightly from twig to twig, shivers of snow crystals falling in their wake. Crows land ponderously, sending cascades of snow tumbling down. Black and white magpies, blackbirds, starlings, all starkly visible against the snowy backdrop. Squirrels dash through the branches, playing follow-my-leader, nose to fluffed-up tail. And tell-tale footprints along the path tell of foxes earlier escapades. In a garden across the road, someone is feeding the seagulls, I can see them wheeling and dipping and diving; even through closed windows I can hear them screaming for their food. A blackbird calls, and I can hear the crows impatient cawing and other birds chirping and chattering.

And then it all goes quiet, even the crying gulls are silent. The squirrels disappear into their dray behind the ivy covered trunk of next doors old oak tree. Do they know something I can only guess at? Is more snow on the way?

Space to think

I’m on holiday!  The view is different, the air is clear, and the sky is incredibly big. There is so much open space that I can almost see three hundred and sixty degrees around me, and it’s all fields and country-side. My head has been de-cluttered; there are no jobs clammering for my attention, no deadlines to meet, no pupils due to arrive, nothing that HAS to be done.  My mind has been liberated, all the normal worries are on hold and I can relax and unwind.  There is time now to mull over old ideas and perhaps see them from a different perspective, and I am free to explore and expand fresh new ideas. So now the only thing I’ve GOT to do, is sit down and get on with it!!