Lightworks Stained Glass in Clitheroe
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
From glass for churches to a Roman god in Lytham, they’ve all been created in Clitheroe, writes Paul Mackenzie:
Neptune is soon to take up residence in Lytham. The God of the Sea should have a good view of his kingdom from his new home where he will be forever crashing through the blue-green waves with his three white horses.
The stunning new feature was created, not in ancient Rome but a small studio close to Clitheroe town centre. It was the work of brother and sister team Daniel and Deborah Burke who launched Lightworks Stained Glass just over 16 years ago.
The siblings, who also employ artist Abigail Fielding, specialise in the restoration and conservation of stained glass and do a lot of work with churches and listed properties across Lancashire.
And as well the Neptune window, they have recently completed a huge new window for the chapel at St Mary’s Catholic High School in Leyland, which is being rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire in September 2013.
‘The Neptune window has been a challenge artistically and it’s one we have really enjoyed,’ Daniel said. ‘It can take over your life and it certainly took over the studio. We were working on it for about 18 months. Although the window for St Mary’s is larger, there’s not a lot of hand painted detail in it so in those terms it is an easier piece to produce than the Neptune and it only took us about two months.’
Daniel and Deborah appeared in Lancashire Life 10 years ago shortly after they had removed and re-made eight nave windows for St Peter’s Church in Fleetwood and Daniel added: ‘Without wanting to sound too pretentious, we have developed as artists and learned a lot in the last ten years. We have been challenged as artists and that has allowed to develop and to be able to produce pieces like Neptune which we probably couldn’t have done ten years ago.’
Although they work on commissions for private clients – anything from a door panel or a fanlight to larger pieces like Neptune – much of their work is still for churches and they will this month start work on windows for churches in Haslingden and Bispham. ‘That will take us from January up to the summer so that’s a great position to be in, not to be worrying about where the next job will come from,’ Daniel said.
‘Those two commissions will provide a good solid base of work and that allows us to pick and choose what other jobs we take on. In the last couple of years we have had more enquiries and that may be down to people having more money to spend or it may be a result of the new website casting our net a lot wider.
‘Having ridden out the recession, we have been steadily busy since 2011. That was the worst year. We had to scale back and let a couple of people go and we did think we might have to look at something else but we made a concerted effort. We put a lot of effort into revamping our website – that seemed to do the trick and the threat had passed by the end of 2012.’
Indeed, things have picked up so much that Daniel is now hoping to take on an apprentice. ‘That would mean I could step back from the on-site work and concentrate on other aspects on our work. I spend as much time on the website as I do designing and making stained glass windows these days. It’s a job in itself, and important one that we have to keep on top of.
‘Another thing that made a difference and helped us to pick up was that we started running courses for beginners which is something we should done from the start. It’s a great way of getting in and they take away new skills and a piece of glass they have made. We run the courses every other Saturday from February to November. We have had some great feedback and met some very interesting people from all walks of life.’