We’ve been featuring local designers, makers and craftspeople for nearly 10 years now, but today is our first feature on a stained glass window designer – there’s a first time for everything!
25-year old Kirby Sharrock of Legacy Stained Glass originally studied art, majoring in painting at Sydney College of the Arts. ‘I was very much a painter throughout my late teens and early twenties, I loved to work with colour, I loved big brush strokes and the feelings a painting can invoke’ she explains. Eventually, the versatile creative moved into ‘Junk Art’, creating wooden sculptures from scrap, steel and nails.
Having first been exposed to DIY leadlighting by her creative parents, Kirby’s first opportunity to try her hand at this age-old craft herself came about entirely unexpectedly.
‘One day I was walking past a small, funny stained glass shop on Illawarra road in Marrickville, and the guy who owned the shop chased me down the street holding a beer’ Kirby recalls. ‘I drank the beer and told him I wanted to work for him, he said no and then called me the next day’!
Having since launched her own lead lighting business, Kirby’s days in the workshop are split between new contemporary work, commissioned pieces, restoration work and her own art projects. She’s often asked to recreate Art Deco, Art Nouveau or Victorian styles, and loves the challenge of creating her own contemporary take on these traditional styles. ‘I feel that my ability and skills get greater with each piece’ the designer muses.
Kirby has learnt a lot from various veterans of her trade over the past few years – thought she admits she’s yet to meet any women in the field. ‘There are many old characters about, with cuts and blackening all over their hands, real MacGyvers who use thin chisels and measure to the half millimetre’ the young creative says. ‘I’ve learnt a lot from these men, and hope to be as old and clever as them one day’.