I have always loved stained glass but never thought I would one day be living it. My involvement started in 2015 when looking for a way to keep alive my late wife’s passions such that our children, 10 and 13, would have a life-affirming tribute to their mum. The answer uses light, glass and a little magic to capture some essence of her personality, fabulously framed in a stained glass Lifelight® window.
How I went from that initial idea to “Golightly Glass” is recounted in near real-time in my book, “Being Adam Golightly”. A little indulgently I quote selectively from it here:
“It’s a family project simmering happily along over many months; an active memorial for the kids so that Frances will not be time-locked in history, left behind just because her own clock stopped……we’d briefed to stained glass artist Tony…… the five memorial stained-glass panels for the house. The selection of the images and the anticipation and update on their progress are as valuable to the kids as the panels themselves. Once installed and backlit by the sun, they will be constant, dynamic reminders of Frances, there for us every day and overlooking the lives in which she is not present, but is still part of.
I am really passionate about these stained-glass home memorials and stained-glass art in general. My note to Tony drafted…. and sent only when my job was ending, has received a reply. Fabulously, he’s readily agreed to take me on as his trainee. In time, I hope to paint windows for others who want a memorial that doesn’t involve a cemetery trip, photo album or laptop.
When writing all this up for my (Guardian) newspaper column, I’d thought to myself that the whole idea of the memorial windows was a good one but was I too close to it? As someone who had worked in marketing and done much research, I couldn’t resist the idea of crowdsourcing the knowledge and judgment of Guardian readers.
So against my better instinct for secrecy, I published my e-mail address asking for advice. I’m so glad I did, as there were almost immediately and constantly since, a rush then a trickle of views, all positive and massively helpful.
I’d asked also for ideas on the name for the memorial windows. To this there was an unexpected and consistent response: “Memorial Windows says what they are but it’s a gloomy name. Memorials are made of stone or granite, and things of darkness set in graveyards. Your idea is about lighting a life at home”.
This consistent line of logic gave rise to many name suggestions, with a consistent theme that the windows should be called “Lifelights” – windows on lives well lived and loved. I remain grateful to everyone for their help and to the column for easing me further along my journey once again. Lifelights ahoy. “
The book is on Amazon if you are so minded……
Note: I remain grateful to talented stained glass expert “Tony” aka John Proctor who took me in and showed and shared his talents with me over nearly two years. He is a traditional stained glass artist of great ability and craft skills whose glass painting is done in the traditional way using metal oxide pigments mixed with water and gum arabic, hand-