Hel Goleuni.Gathering Light
In October 2009, Ellen Mandelbaum participated in the exhibition “Hel Goleuni.Gathering Light” at the National Waterfront Museum, in Swansea, Wales. She also was invited to demonstrate glass painting at The Welsh School of Architectural Glass.
Mandelbaum is an Active Accredited member of the SGAA and is the principal at Ellen Mandelbaum Glass Art (www.emglassart.com). The Welsh School of Architectural Glass, Swansea Metropolitan University, (www.smu.ac.uk) is the only dedicated architectural glass school in the world.
Chris Bird-Jones, Director of the Glass Masters program at the school, designed, curated, and exhibited in the exhibition.
“Hel Goleuni.Gathering Light” featured large innovative works by artists of the Women’s International Glass Workshop. Linda Lichtman and Marie Foucault-Phipps were the other American artists who attended the gathering in Wales.
MENFOLK: an Exhibition of Stained Glass by Debora Coombs
“I am trying to explore the world that lies behind the threshold of language. My series of stained glass panels titled Menfolk attempts to unravel the emotional complexity of ‘maleness’ from youth to old age.”
Debora Coombs exhibited Menfolk, a series of richly painted stained glass panels at the Cochrane Theatre Gallery, London, from October 8 to November 29, 2009; from there, the exhibit travels to the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, England, from January 2 to February 14, 2010.
The genesis for this body of work was an invitation by Laura Thompson, curator for Kidspace at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), in North Adams, Massachusetts, for Coombs to exhibit in a three-person show Boxed Sets: Assembling Objects, Images, and People. Five panels were on exhibition there from April to September 2007.
Another stained glass panel, Man With Bird, was among 100 works of glass art selected from 2,974 submitted from 43 countries worldwide to be published in the 2009 New Glass Review 31 as part of an annual event organized by Neues Glas/New Glass magazine in Germany and the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York. These works become part of the permanent public archives of international contemporary glass artists in the Rakow Library at Corning Museum.
Born and raised in Southampton, England, Debora studied at Edinburgh College of Art; in Swansea, Wales; and received her Master’s from the Royal College of Art in London in 1985. She went on to complete a series of successful public art projects and religious stained glass, including a memorial window commissioned by Sir Nigel Broackes, former Chairman of the Crafts Council of Great Britain.In 1995, Coombs was commissioned by Archbishop (now Cardinal) William J. Levada to create windows for the newly renovated St. Mary’s Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. This three-year project involved designing and making 20 stained glass windows — more than 1,000 square feet of hand-painted stained glass — on the themes of American saints, cultural diversity, and the sacraments. During this time Coombs and her husband, Richard Criddle, made the decision to emigrate to the US in 1996. They now live in Readsboro, Vermont.
Coombs’ stained glass has been exhibited in Europe, Australia, Asia, and the USA and is held in the permanent collection of the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral in England.Her work as an educator includes directing the glass department at Chelsea College of Art in London from 1994 to 1996, adjunct teaching at art schools on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, Washington; and presentations to professional associations such as the British Society of Master Glass Painters; the Stained Glass Association of America; and British Columbia Glass Art Society in Canada.
Elected by peers as a lifelong Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters in 1994, Coombs is one of just 13 artists with this status. Her commissions include two 25-foot figurative windows for Norman Vincent Peale’s church, Marble Collegiate, on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, New York; the design of 46 windows for St. Henry Catholic Church in Nashville, Tennessee; and the donor recognition window in North Adams Public Library.
About her forthcoming exhibition Menfolk, Coombs writes: “This series of work explores maleness, at various ages, and in different emotional landscapes. It grew from a desire to explore images of people that spoke to me in some way. Combining drawings and photographs of my own family with those of strangers, I discovered some interesting relationships. I handpainted people and patterns onto pieces of coloured glass to form a mosaic. Fixed together with strips of soldered lead in the traditional manner, these Menfolk are now preserved in stained glass, together forever.“Part of the allure for me is working with the real substance of glass and paint. The process feeds my need to make things. Sensual and tactile, craftsmanship is absorbing, technically challenging, and pleasurable. Making provides a perfect counterpoint to thinking.”