The Zodiac Windows were commissioned by Ruskin Mill in 2005 for the Glass House Centre in Stourbridge. This had been Stewart Crystal Country and when they packed up, Ruskin Mill moved in.
The windows represent a three-foldness of Cosmos, Elements and Man. As well as being an all-encompassing theme, it is an actual realisation of all the various skills and techniques that developed over the years.
The big upper circular window is divided into a mighty cross, a small inside circle creates four central segments. The framework further divides the outer ring into twelve. Let’s start with the four central segments. This was composed of triple laminate glass- three layers of glass one above the other, the bottom one being painted and fired. They show the four creatures; the Bull, the Lion, the Man and the Eagle. These beings appear in the book of Daniel, in the Book of Revelation of St John and also combined and moulded together in the Sphinx. They are also the symbolic animals of the four Evangelists; Matthew—bull, Mark—lion, Luke—angel, and John—eagle.
On one level they can be seen as Creator Forces- Archetypes raying their powers in from the Cosmos; in the Sphinx they indicate both what we are and what we are not. We are the creatures of Earth (our animal parts) but we are also creatures of Heaven. The Sphinx challenges us to become ourselves.
Rudolf Steiner indicates that the fourfold Gospels are not simply four different narrative versions of the truth, but different states or levels of initiation. The Four Creatures correspond to the three stages of initiation, thus they must be seen as a continuum rather than as separate spheres. Lion, Bull, Man and Angel are surrounded by a band of painted signs of the Zodiac.
The broad outer ring consists of various tones of blue, each segment enclosing a fist sized hand polished lump of rock crystal. They represent the Constellations. In Celtic times, quartz crystal was seen as the ‘sun stone’ and dedicated to its light. It is there for appropriate that these shining stones should represent the distant suns. I devised a different way of holding them as I did not want to obscure any part of the crystal with a lead collar. I fashioned hammered copper clips, four for each stone and attached them with glue.
The fanlight incorporates the theme of the Four Elements, Earth, Water, Air and Fire. While the ‘Comos’ is made of traditionally worked leaded glass, the ‘Elements’ are laminated. This gives it greater fluidity. They form a loose chalice shape with ‘Fire’ at the top. For the element fire I used a large chunk of red glass setting it into lead. The Four Elements also symbolise the ‘sheaves’ of man. Earth—physical body, Water—etheric body, Air—astral body and Fire—ego.
The door panels contain the most precious elements, Tourmalines and shards of glass from the windows of the first Goetheanum. Together they symbolise the miracle of Spirit contained within matter. Tourmalines which seem almost alive in their colour and vitality and the fragments from the first Goetheanum, the most complete embodiment of a ‘Spiritual Temple’ on earth.