In 2022, stained-glass has become a bit of a lost art. Lead-light windows are rare to find in modern homes, and the practice seems to be a bit of mystery for the general public, but Melbourne artist Poppy Templeton is optimistic that it’s making a comeback.
‘I don’t believe stained glass will ever become an entirely lost art!’ Poppy says. ‘For that reason, it’s exciting to work within it, it means I have the opportunity to convince people of its worth.’
Poppy says she had always thought of stained-glass art as ‘an unbelievably cool medium’. So, when a friend suggested she learn the ropes with her at Melbourne Polytechnic last year, she happily gave it a shot. It quickly lead to her starting her own glass-art business, Duck Ragu!
‘I’ve made art since I was a child but as an adult, I couldn’t seem to find a medium that worked with me and made me happy,’ she explains. ‘But the more I think about glass and learn about colour and light-based therapy, the less it seems like a random coincidence that led me to this art form.’
Poppy’s striking glass creations are imbued with warmth, and often feature a combination of abstract forms and shapes inspired by nature – ranging from motifs of the sun, to colour palettes drawn from happy memories at the beach and delicate florals. But her favourite pieces tend to come from simple ideas or briefs from customers, such as a request to hero the colour red or ‘I really like circles’.
‘I always begin by looking at glass,’ Poppy says. ‘Because colour is the most important part of what I create I start there and let it inform the rest of the process.’
She prefers to cut freehand without a drawing and just designs as she goes along. ‘After everything’s cut, I grind the glass to fit, wrap each piece with copper foil, solder them together and do the finishing touches,’ Poppy explains. The entire process can take anywhere between 6 and more than 60 hours depending on the design.
‘Glass has a steep learning curve that never seems to end and things go wrong very often, if not daily. I’ve developed a strange respect for glass as a medium and don’t let myself get too fussed with mishaps.’
She’s even ended up in the emergency room a few times in the six months! But just like the unique refractions of light that her pieces create, it’s all part of the unpredictable beauty of her work.