The Illumination Window: The Making

In the last blog in the series, artist Mel Howse describes the process of making our newest cathedral addition.

Over a period of 25 years my skills as a designer and maker have evolved into taking on some large-scale projects. I was fortunate to have had commissions coming in on graduation as a student, and my experience of transposing drawn designs to full-scale glasswork has grown along with my portfolio. I am not daunted in this respect by scale, in fact, I relish it, and the development of commissions that take years to unfold is all part of the territory. My focus as an artist is in creating unique pieces of work, that explore the opportunities afforded by my medium, keeping it relevant to our era.

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The Illumination Window: The Cartoon

Artist Mel Howse discusses the process of cartooning for our newest piece of glass art

In the stained glass tradition, the working drawing that an artist uses to create the final glasswork is called a cartoon.  This cartoon is a full-size drawing at 1:1 scale and can be in either colour or black and white.

It conveys the essence of the glass work to come: the size and the shape of the glass pieces, details of applied techniques such as paintwork or etching. Quite simply, it is the glassmaker’s guide for the coming stage of creating the art in glass.

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The Illumination Window: The Design

Artist Mel Howse gives an insight into the design process and reading of our newest cathedral addition, The Illumination Window.


It has been a great privilege to be both designer and maker for the commission to create The Illumination window. It will stand as an important experience in my lifetime. As I write this in Spring 2019 this work is about to take on a new role. It will be leaving the intimacy of my studio, and travelling into the future as part of the Cathedral.

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