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John K. Clark : Stained Glass Art

image, Glasspainter John K. Clark. Click image to view ARTerrain gallery.Scottish artist John K. Clark studied stained glass and mosaic at the Glasgow School of Art from 1976 to 1981. His mentor was teacher and artist Alfredo Avella. After the early death of Avella, and shortly
after his own graduation, Clark became lecturer for the Glasgow School of Art Murals and Stained Glass Department.

In 1984, he established his own studio and began work soley as an artist. Most of Clark's work has been commissions for stained glass, or architectural glass—what Clark calls 'glasspainting.' He lists his profession as glasspainter, and shares much of his completed and in-progress work at www.glasspainter.com.

image, John Clark at Derix Glasstudio.
The glasspainter at Derix Glasstudio.
Photo courtesy John K. Clark.

Through commissions, Clark is asked to create designs for specific locations, projects, and themes, and usually within a set budget and time frame. "I have found," he says, "that being commissioned sends me into areas of study into which I would not have expected to venture. I find often that I have to study intensively and read extensively before the actual design process can begin." The awareness of the amount of research he undertakes for projects was recognized in 2003, when Clark was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Paisley University, Scotland, where he once studied mathematics and computing (the study of which made him realize he'd rather pursue art).

Because he likes to develop an idea with clients and other project stakeholders, he is "not keen on" competitions. "It is mostly my intention that a work should feel immediately right in a location," he says, "as though it has always been there." Preparing for competitions, however, does not allow the exploratory process to fully develop.

The drawing stage of the glasspainted window has become very prominent in his work: he creates the drawings, makes the working drawings from them, and then hangs them in the studio. From there, surprisingly, he doesn't look at them again because "the process has been gone through and it is inside you."

image, The Derix Glasstudios at night.
Derix Glasstudios at night.
Photo courtesy Derix Glasstudios.


From 1984 to 1990 Clark worked at his own studio in Glasgow. Since 1990, most of Clark's work has been completed at the Derix Glasstudios, in Taunusstein, Germany, where can finely control the most demanding parts of his craft: glass selection, etching, painting, and silverstaining.

Andrew Moor, author of Contemporary Stained Glass and Architectural Glass Art, says: "For [John Clark] research is not about collecting fragments of data and then stuffing references to them into a picture. It is about trying to come to understand an experience and then finding a way of capturing this in a two dimensional visual image, while at the same time bearing in mind the surrounding architecture, the shape of the window itself, how the lights falls and so on. A stained glass window design can be quite a complex synthesis of requirements. John Clark invests the time into the subject, so that both the form and the content of the window become self-evident." (Read the full article.)

For more information, visit John K. Clark's website at www.glasspainter.com.


Stained glass art by glasspainter John K. Clark

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All photography in this ARTerrain Gallery is copyright © by John K. Clark. All rights reserved. No work may be used or reproduced without consent of the artist.



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