A testimonial of commissioned leadlight art with deeply personal meaning
as published in the Nhill Free Press and Kaniva Times, October 2020
Many of you may have driven along the lane that runs behind the homes in Pine St and wondered what on earth the triangular structure at the back of one of those homes was all about. It is a bit like a tapestry where, one side is made up of loose threads with no vision of any kind of scene, whilst the other beholds a scene of great beauty. So it is with this, you have to be viewing it from the correct side to truly appreciate its beauty & even more so, its significance to those who live within.
When John & I commenced building our home in 2016, we happened to be passing through Elaine, a quaint little township on the Midland Highway, between Geelong & Buninyong, when we noticed an unusual building tucked amongst the trees with a sign advertising a leadlight gallery. It was our lucky day as this building was the workplace of three gifted tradesmen, all of whom would contribute to our home in the most skilful ways.
George, who began his woodworking & joinery life in Italy at the age of 12, and then went on to train his son Mark, in the art of crafting ‘custom made’ period, entrance ways. Mark was multi-skilled having also trained under a master craftsman in the 80’s to learn the art of lead lighting. And then there is Jason, with over 30 years in the lead lighting industry, started under the guidance of his friend Mark and fellow artisan who has helped him master all facets of the industry including period & contemporary, stained glass, restoration, repairs, design & installation, which they now do as a very formidable team.
We proudly reveal that George, now in his 80’s, together with Mark & Jason, handcrafted our grand entrance and the leadlight side panels. After seeing firsthand, the exceptional workmanship in our entrance, we decided to create an even more impressive exit at the back of our home. It is this that is visible from the backroad.
The whole project took over 12 months to complete with regular visits to view the sketches which Mark so skilfully drew on large ply panels, as well as selecting the exact glass colourings to be used. The whole scene depicted meaningful chapters in our lives.
The first being our time growing pheasants and other game birds at Gumbuya Park, a wildlife park in Gippsland where we lived prior to our move to Nhill. The second of course, represented our time & association with Luv-A-Duck. Hawks have always played a meaningful role in our lives and so are flying freely above the waters and grasslands in the window.
We waited for another 6 months before Mark was satisfied with our final request. We wanted 3 stars to represent the 3 children, whom we had lost so tragically, we wanted them to also be part of our new home in some meaningful way. And so it was that Mark finally placed 3 stars on his leadlight masterpiece. And what was the date ……. Nov 11th of course …… Simon’s birthday. That was like a message of approval from above!
I am now aware that others in Nhill have also employed their skills and are as pleased as we are with their beautiful windows. We owe so much to Mark, George & Jason for their patience, their attention to detail and their artistic professionalism. Together they have truly made our home unique.
If ever you are passing by the Lara Glassworks at Elaine, stop in and say hello to Mark, George or Jason, they will make you most welcome and proudly show you the Gallery displaying some of their beautiful work. or check out their website at https://theleadlightgallery.com.au.
Thank you to all the team at Lara Glassworks, ‘Home of the Damian Collection’ in Elaine, and to all the local tradies and suppliers who contributed in any way to our home. Your patience, professionalism, guidance, and attention to detail, was greatly appreciated. The ‘Final Touch’ has been added and what began as a house has now become our beautiful home. Thankyou one & all!