John and Laura Gilroy’s beautiful stained glass artwork reflects their masterful talent. To see more of their traditional and contemporary pieces, visit their website.
John and I (Laura) have been involved in producing stained glass since 1984 when we began an intensive six year apprentice education in one of England’s oldest studios, James Clark & Eaton founded in 1788. There we mastered the traditional glass painting and craft skills used to create and restore authentic stained glass.
It was a natural progression to set up our own company, Gilroy Stained Glass, and we started out in England before moving to Vancouver, Canada in 2005.
We enjoy opportunities to demonstrate the versatile beauty of authentic stained glass; what has become synonymous with stained glass in today’s culture is only the beginning of what it is possible to create within this extraordinary art form. We know that our art is always evolving. Each commission is an exciting opportunity to use the traditional artistry of glass painting within a vibrant, contemporary setting.
We are honoured to be an elected Associate to the British Society of Master Glass Painters, and to be regularly featured in the Journal of Stained Glass, published in London. We have also been featured in Sotheby’s International In Residence magazine and in the Stained Glass Association of America Quarterly magazine.
All of our work is uniquely designed for the client and the location, and ranges from highly figurative to pure abstract. Mouth blown glass and painting techniques that effect how the light is refracted through the glass greatly influence an architectural setting.
When we undertake a commission, whether it is for a church, a home or a commercial location, we have skills that overlap and areas in which one or the other of us will take the lead. We begin by looking at the project from different viewpoints. Then we come back and find the point at which we meet in terms of what we want to achieve; this combination gives us the special quality we strive for.
I draw the preparatory sketches, the watercolour scaled designs and the full-sized cartoons in pencil and India ink.
At the glass painting stage, John will use the cartoon as a loose guide, creating complex depth of tonal values and contrast of light and shade which emphasize the inherent jewel-like quality of antique mouth blown glass. Our technique is almost a reverse pointillism. Working in the negative, we take paint off to create our semitones and highlights using brushes and the point of a needle for extremely fine work such as faces and hands.
We really enjoy the diversity of the commissions we undertake; there is always a new challenge in each one. Where do we see ourselves in the future? If we’re lucky we’ll be like our mentors–in our late 80’s and still painting.