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Re-interpretation of Sanctuary Stained Glass

After designing and making the Sanctuary Stained Glass window for the Sciennes Road Royal Hospital for Sick Children in 1997, Emma Butler-Cole Aiken was commissioned to lead the design of the reinterpretation of the stained glass window project.

The design of the new window is based on one of the tree forms towards the right-hand side of the old window. The theme is the cycle of life: cell division and new life; hopeful green shoots; healthy leaves of memory; mature, permanent branches; loss and decay. During her research, Emma was struck by how much the old window was appreciated and how important it has been to individuals over the years. Using a similar colour palette and traditional stained glass techniques would anchor the memory of the old window in the new.

In the new window, interesting details and textures have been used to invite children and adults alike to look deeper. Smooth fused glass elements represent cells dividing, and intricate patterns are etched into the glass by sandblasting real leaves; the original leaf leaves its mark on the glass but is destroyed in the process. In painting the window, foliage and other items were used to print onto the glass. Whether people pass by or pause for a closer look, reflections from mirror and lustre glimmer.