In Somerset – these things always seem to happen to me in Somerset – I was struck last year by an aspect of church architecture which I had never really noticed properly before.
I used to live near to the lovely old country town of Langport, and like to return there whenever I’m in the area – these days, it’s quite a ‘hot-bed’ of contemporary and traditional arts.
During a visit to the town’s breathtakingly beautiful All Saints Church, I stopped to look – really look – at the wonderful stained glass windows in the church, which are complemented by beautiful examples of tracery.
As I mentioned in my last post, tracery is the network of interlaced ornamental stone ‘ribs’ which can be seen supporting the panes of coloured glass. The upright posts in such windows are called ‘mullions’, while the horizontal cross-pieces are called ‘transoms’. Now, I’m not entirely sure where mullions and transoms stop and tracery begins, but I do know that the overall effect can be stunning, and the patterns which are formed can – with a little imagination – be effectively translated into quilling.
This has set me off on a real ‘quilled tracery kick’ which is taking me on an interesting journey of experimentation and discovery.
The basis of the tracery I’ve been making has been ring coils cut into consistently-sized incomplete circles (horse-shoe shapes). By gluing these cut circles side by side, I’ve been able to create patterns like this:
… which has then led on to some new ideas for card designs:
Last week I was in Somerset again, and took some time to check out the fabulous church architecture to be found in the county town of Taunton. I took this photo of St George’s Roman Catholic church, whose main tower window is a classic example of the way in which tracery patterns can be linked together:
Then I visited the amazing church of St Mary Magdalene where I discovered that these tracery patterns are also evident in carved wood pew-ends, the font cover and ornamental seats like this:
The pattern in the photo above interested me, because in a way it’s ‘tracery within tracery’ – take a close look and you’ll see what I mean. So I had a go at reproducing the shape using metallic edged gold and silver strips – and this is the result:
I love these patterns – they really to offer SUCH design potential. So please bear with me, because I suspect I am going to be continuing on my ‘tracery kick’ for quite some time to come!!