“To Dwell Alone…” – a window for Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire
This stained glass window was made in collaboration with Linda Norris. It was made for the Wildlife Trust, South and West Wales to celebrate the re-launch of Skokholm Island as an accredited bird observatory and was inspired by the history, wildlife and landscape of Skokholm Island. Taking into account that most visitors to the Island would prefer to see the birds from the windows, we decided to make a window for one of the humbler thrones – the outside toilet!
Linda has been a regular visitor to the islands off the Pembrokeshire Coast for the past 20 years wheras I made my first visit there recently and started to discover the rich history, geology and environment of this, one of several small islands off the west coast of Wales.
We spent time on the island researching our design in 2013 and decided on an underlying structure that referenced the dry stone walls and numerous animal and bird bones which are a feature of the island. There are many details located within this framework that reflect the history of the island from its time as a medieval rabbit warren, the life and times of Ronald Lockley, the wreck of the schooner ‘The Alice Williams’, and its establishment as Britain’s first Bird Observatory in 1933. There are also references to the diverse wildlife and the geographical topography of the island.
Having determined an approach whilst on the island together, we returned to our own studios and through workshop sessions we each produced painted, stained,sandblasted and enamelled pieces to combine in the final panel.The pieces were finally leaded and cemented in place before being transported to the island where we installed it in time for the celebration of the reinstatement of Bird Observatory status on Sunday 27th April 2014.
The video below was put together by Linda and shows the process of making the window and the final unveiling with the wardens, volunteers and visitors on the Island.