Stained glass | 05-11-2022

Stained glass inspired by Colombian writer

A contemporary stained glass piece inspired by the work of a Colombian writer was created recently by experimental glass artist Surinder Warboys.

The glass art was made for a pair of writers who have travelled, written about, and had a great love of, Latin America and the Caribbean.

While Surinder had not travelled to those regions herself, she had read a book by the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, which had led her to read nearly everything else by him. The couple shared her enthusiasm for García Márquez, although they had read him only in the original Spanish.

Her proposal for the starting point for the stained glass window was that they select a passage from his writing and send it to her. The words they chose were from One Hundred Years of Solitude.

The words they chose were these, translated into English:

“A short time later, when the carpenter was taking measurements for the coffin, through the window they saw a light rain of tiny yellow flowers falling. They fell on the town all through the night in a silent storm, and they covered the roofs and blocked the doors and smothered the animals who slept outdoors. So many flowers fell from the sky that in the morning the streets were carpeted with a compact cushion and they had to clear them away with shovels and rakes so that the funeral procession could pass by.”

Surinder explains, “My work is experimental by nature and I work directly with the glass without preconceived designs to show the client. Therefore it is important to engage clients as the window takes form. Studio visits were made and, at intervals, images of progress were sent to them. They were fellow travellers on a stained glass exploration!”

The panel itself was a complex work, involving etching, painting, staining, enamelling and laminating of flashed antique glass onto clear float glass. It is a palimpsest, in which underlying stained text from the float glass is faintly visible through the textures of the etched, painted and stained layer of the antique glass. The glass was etched and stained several times to achieve the quality of dappled light in the letters.

“I enjoy making discoveries as I work, particularly engaging in new techniques such as writing on glass using a quill and silver nitrate, of an ink-like consistency,” Surinder continues. “Peacock feathers, that had been naturally shed and brought back from the village where I was born in the north of India, were used as symbols, generating not only connections with flight and travel, but also the culture of writing, as quills have been used in the expression and spread of ideas across the globe since ancient times.”

The finished panel.

Surinder is tutoring a three-day short course at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation in Sussex from 28 November to 1 December 2022. For more information call: 01243 818291 Or email:

For further information on Surinder’s Experimental Painting on Glass, and other, courses, visit her website:

Main image: Detail of the experimental piece featuring words from a special passage of text.

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