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Wilson, Cheryl

Cheryl is a glass artist from Muswellbrook.


What is leadlight?
Leadlighting is the craft of scoring and breaking glass and then joining it together by using lead cames. The lead has a channel in both sides like a sideways H and the glass slides into the lead making it one single piece after it is soldered at the joins. The tiny space between the glass and the lead is then packed with black putty which is cleaned away leaving a waterproof and rigid composition much stronger than a single sheet of glass the same size.
What attracted you to leadlight?
Churches. In particular the Anglican Church in Muswellbrook. I became obsessed with stained glass leadlight as a child because I could understand the beautiful stories in the windows better than I could comprehend what was being said.

When I was able to do a course through TAFE in 1994 I realised I loved everything about creating it as well. I love the cutting, breaking, grinding, hammering and soldering. I enjoy the challenges of working within the perfect drafted measurement and also the freedom of design. I like the quiet contemplation of the concepts and their development. A few kind words from a friend made me think that this could be a passion I should pursue.

How have you developed your skills?
I did an extension course with my TAFE teacher, Diane Coady and a copper foiling course. Mostly it’s been practice, practice, practice. I have a quote in my workroom which says,

“When you buy something from an artist you’re buying more than an object. You’re buying hundreds of hours of errors and experimentation. You’re buying years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You’re not buying just one thing, you are buying a piece of a heart, a piece of a soul ….a small piece of someone else’s life”.

How long have your been creating leadlight and what keeps you inspired?
I did my first course 23 years ago. I had always kept my hand in but I really started doing it as a part time distraction in 2005 when I discovered my love of restoration work. My favourite projects are panels that are old and need some respect and an experienced soft touch. From 2012 I began to do large original projects.

I like to challenge myself. If I don’t know how to do something, I will work out a way. I like to use a lot of different and original techniques and teach myself along the way. I’m inspired by the belief that I can bring to life anything that I can imagine. I make gifts for friends and family and I love to make things that are individual for them.

My biggest projects are my doors. They both took about 50 hours to complete. The 4 panel door is a representation of my spiritual anatomy.

The purple door is inspired by the T.S Eliot poem. “We shall not cease from exploration and at the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”.

I created this door after my Dad passed away in 2013. Each of the 15 panels represents two words of the poem reading from the top left.

Not only is glass beautiful, but it helps me express myself while I’m enjoying the focus, meditation and calming effects of doing what I love.

What is the difference between leadlight and stained glass windows?
The process of making windows is the same. Stained glass refers to the application of metallic oxides to either plain or coloured glass in the form of painted designs. These oxides are then kiln fired onto the glass so that they mature to a colour and become permanent in the glass. Stained glass is what you see in churches. The finer details allows for faces and clothing to be more distinct. Some stained glass is used as a focal point within a large leadlight. These smaller pieces commonly have birds, flowers or landscapes.

There is also a technique called copper foiling where the edges of the cut glass are ground down to a rough surface so a sticky copper tape can be applied and then pieces are soldered together. It’s how lamps are made. I incorporate copper foiling into my work but it’s not my favourite process. I prefer to work with lead.

What are the benefits of being a craftsperson living in a regional area?
I’m lucky enough to be given precious glass from historical homes, churches, pubs, police stations etc. I love to work with old glass and incorporate it into my designs so that they have a deeper history. Glass changes in style every 30 years or so. To conserve this rare glass is a pleasure and a privilege.

To be able to do restoration I need to have the glass of that era.  Some of my glass is almost a century old. I did a sample box over the past weekend and have 100 different types and colours of glass that I hope to put to good use, eventually.

I’m fairly sure that is the definitive difference between a collector and a hoarder. My motto is “she who dies with the most glass wins”.

The colour, texture and history of glass will always be the joy of my craft.


For more information contact Cheryl phone on 0417 454 441 or email rubyslaw37@gmail.com


Listing Details

0417 454 441
Current Projects
Repair of Federation leadlight window. 2 x original keeping box lids.
Available For
Commissions, repair, restoration, exhibition, classes and workshop faciliator.