Kent Artist Profile: Stoney Parsons
Stained glass has been around in one form or another for hundreds of years, but Kentish artist, Stoney Parsons has brought this most beautiful of arts well into the 21st century. insideKENT spoke to her about her work.
How did you become an artist?
I was always interested in art as a child and I did a stained-glass evening class because I loved the bright colour of the glass. My artwork was always quite graphic, which lent itself to the lead line and I loved making things. I went on from there and am pretty much self-taught.
How would you describe what you do?
I am an architectural glass artist and painter, that is to say I am a stained-glass artist, but as well as using traditional techniques with glass and lead, I use contemporary technology to make modern designs on large pieces of float glass too.
What’s the most interesting commission you’ve ever received?
I was commissioned by Felix Dennis, who has since sadly died, to do a seven-foot diameter round window for his sculpture garden – the Garden of Heroes and Villains in Dorsington, Stratford-on-Avon. It was in a converted barn on the site where he had a study to write his poetry and the glass was to be a backdrop for a sculpture of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. The brief was that it should be colourful and include draperies from his paintings. It was made of beautiful hand-blown glass that was bonded onto float glass and my techniques included acid etching, painting and firing, and screen printing.
You say that the natural world inspires your work – how?
I find nature very inspiring and spiritual. I am able to walk in beautiful Eridge Park by my studio and I find it very healing; I just love looking at everything, seeing the patterns in leaves and the outlines of pine trees against the sky. I take lots of pictures for my art but always in sunshine – it is the light that brings everything alive just like with my stained glass windows; without the light they are just black.
Where can we see your work?
I have recently done a window for Holy Trinity Church, Eridge, and I currently have a piece in an exhibition at the stained glass museum in Chartres, France. Also, if you are dining at Raymond Blanc’s Maison aux Quat’Saisons near Oxford you can spot a couple of my glass works in the dining room.
What does 2018 hold in store for you?
It’s going to be a busy year. I am about to start designs for a window in a private house in London with a Barbados theme; I teach ‘Art from the Heart’ art classes for adults in my studio and am working on a new programme; and I also teach this in Greece for Skyros Holidays. I am starting wine and paint classes at Saltmarsh Art Shop in Tunbridge Wells, which should be great fun, and I’m running a holiday in France at the beautiful French Retreat near Bordeaux in June. I have some great ideas for my paintings which I am itching to find the time to do; it’s all rather exciting.