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.