Stained glass did not come easy. It was in many ways inimical to my nature– precise, exacting, disciplined, indirect, demanding both skill and patience. I am not naturally a very skilful person,– in fact I am probably quite dispraxic. I had always envied people who could, say- turn the key in a lock, skilfully transfer something held in the right hand to the left, possibly using their teeth, give the door a gentle nudge with a knee and slide in. I would always have to drop whatever I was holding, the key was always the wrong way around and I would usually have to unlock and lock the door several times before gaining entry.
I have called my art Dynamic Art – what is Dynamic Art?
As a visual artist I take up the pen reluctantly. There are however some general and fundamental issues which I feel called upon to discuss. These centre around ‘seeing’ and ‘experiencing’ contemporary art in a new way, and perhaps placing the arts back into the dynamic role they ought to have.
What is the essential difference between craft and art? This is not easy. Mankind has had thousands of years when the distinction was more or less irrelevant. As I have posited; every human activity, whether it be tool-making, artistic or ceremonial, is at heart ‘creative’.
Over the years, as I have moved more and more into commissioned work, there has been a subtle shift in my design process. At first there was no great difference between my art works, drawings and paintings, and the sketches. Then slowly and almost imperceptibly my whole focus was changed. In order to retain my freshness and spontaneity I had to somehow ‘withdraw’ from the preparatory work, so that I could give the piece my all at the end.
I wrote about the project in one of my imaginary interviews with Shanton Miers
Shanton Miers: You were saying something about the launch of the project?
Johannes: Ah yes – I try not to turn down a challenge; I don’t think I lack imagination but in this case I completely lacked foresight.
Through a stone company in Dorset, I ordered a 6ft by 2ft by 1ft lump of Kilkenny stone from Ireland, so called Celtic Stone. The delivery lorry refused to drive up the track, a kindly neighbouring farmer accommodated the block in his yard, then brought it over with one of those massive tractors. I had […]
The Grail Fountain was my first sculpture commission after leaving college in 1978. It was created for the Rowan Tree Shop and Café in Bristol in support of the new Steiner School. I did some relandscaping and building work on the site and started work on the Fountain in the summer of 1982. I made […]
In between my building, decorating and maintenance activities, I began to work on the Mourne Grange windows. My Father came over from Ireland and stayed for a while. We went and bought stained glass together from a place in Gloucester. Stained glass was going through a trendy popular faze, and there were lots of companies […]
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 […]