Thursday 21 June 2012
A famous stained glass artist’s family visited Forth Valley College recently to thank the eagle eyed art technician who restored a forgotten window to its former glory.
Forth Valley College Creative Industries Technician Trevor Griffin, managed to salvage the Gordon Webster designed window, which used to take pride of place in the Grangemouth West Church.
The window was taken out and stored in a lock-up prior to the demolition of the church in 1979. Subsequently the contents of the lock-up including the window were stored away by the Grangemouth Heritage Trust. It was through the Trust that Trevor discovered the existence and significance of the window and he took on the challenge of doing it up.
Trevor scoured the web and found instructional films of how to restore stained glass and using his new found knowledge, set to work transforming the window back to its best.
He then tracked down the family of the ground breaking artist who created the window – which depicts Christ ascending to Earth from Heaven - and they were so intrigued and excited by his project that they were delighted to help with his research.
Welcoming three generations of Gordon Webster’s family to see the window, which was on display during Forth Valley College’s annual Creative Industries Degree and Diploma Show (1-7 June), Trevor said: “It’s been a challenge, but I’m just delighted everything has worked out so well.
“It’s been a real privilege to restore something so beautiful and to have the backing and support of Gordon Webster’s family while doing it has given me great confidence.
“I had never done anything like this before and was self-taught in the art of restoring stained glass, mainly through You Tube. But I am really happy with the results, I hope people who came to see it did too.”
Innovative Glasgow artist Gordon Webster – who died in 1987 aged 79 - was the son of Alf Webster another famous stained glass artist. Gordon was a pioneer of a new style of stained glass art in the 1930s, which took the genre by storm. He created more than 300 windows which can still be seen in churches across the world and also in some museums in Glasgow today.
Martyn Webster (72), Gordon’s son, who is a retired plastic surgeon from Glasgow said: “My father would love the fact that students would be able to come along and see his work exhibited at Forth Valley College during their annual show. Trevor has done an absolutely amazing job restoring this piece. It is quite breath-taking.”
Emma Jo Webster (45) and her daughter Emily (7), Gordon’s granddaughter and great-granddaughter respectively, also visited to give the thumbs up on the restoration.
Tapestry weaver Emma Jo, who has continued along the artistic path taken by her granddad, said: “It is so heart-warming to see people like Trevor taking real care of artwork such as this. I am absolutely delighted he got in touch through his research and I am so happy that this window has been found and restored.”