This is possibly the most exciting blog I have made. It's long, but I think worthwhile.
Today the DP Bloggers Theme Day is "Something That Will Soon Disappear". 51 bloggers are taking part (click links below)
Almost the first words Kevin Little said to me when I wandered into his workshop to ask him if I could take a photo of him at work were “I’ve been here for a long time, but not for much longer”.
Kevin is 75, and, one of, if not the, pre-eminent Australian stained glass artists. His workshop is right near where I live.
In its heydey, Kevin's business employed 30 artisans here and throughout country areas. He's had commissions from many of Sydney's leading institutions, includingthe Town Hall, Sydney Hospital and St Mary's Cathedral. But, he told me, "There’s not much of a living to be made any more from being a stained glass artist. “The Protestant churches don’t put in stained glass windows any more, and the almighty dollar rules everything. Even restoration jobs are done on the cheap these days” he said. Kevin also lamented the destruction of much of the stained glass in churches and houses as newcomers rip them out. [I'm pleased to say that we had Kevin repair one in our house when it was damaged a few years back.]
As well as work in glass, Kevin also restores furniture and all manner of things including a gorgeous grandfather clock he found in pieces in a kerbside junkout. He collects an array of things too vast to describe, and his studio/workshop is a veritable museum. Every object has a story, and the connections they weave between people are amazing.
Kevin took me on a tour of his world, and I especially loved seeing a couple of fragments of 14th century stained glass, and the “sweatshop” end of the studio, where Kevin showed me the traditional method of drawing a design in chalk, before tracing it on to paper.
See more photos of Kevin and his workshop here.
This is true artisanship, which is not going to be there for much longer.
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