My stained glass panel, made at the West Dean workshop with Sasha Ward who has written a little bit about my method and its results. I love the way she says there is 'nothing pointlessly complicated here' because it sums up my approach perfectly. It was dictated by the fact that I was an absolute beginner and by the way I make quilts (and it makes me laugh: I never knowingly complicate a craft project mainly because I don't have the skills to do so). But it's very thrilling to think there are elements of Joseph Albers in it. I also saw something of Mondrian - which wasn't at all planned as I really did begin by rummaging in Sasha's boxes of scrap glass.
I soon realised that I was working the same way I do with fabric, looking for the pieces and colours I liked best, arranging them on a workboard, playing with them, then adding in off-cuts of lead strips so that I could see how the structure would be built up. It took me just as long to start cutting glass as it does to cut fabric, and the preparatory layouts and arrangements were just as useful.
I sandblasted and stained and painted glass, then cut it and arranged it using the same sorts of precise measurements you need to make a quilt come together. But this is a lot messier and I quite surprised myself; after years of saying I only do soft, clean crafts, I really enjoyed getting my hands and apron dirty (and, somehow, my hair), using workshop tools, hammering nails, and 'nibbling' glass.
In the end, the 'nothing pointlessly complicated' approach worked for me, just as it does when I make quilts. It's also worth remembering that some of the most transcendentally beautiful glass is uncomplicated, as proved by Matisse in Vence and John Piper and Patrick Reyntiens in Coventry.