When Jac first decided to link her life with that of her last long term partner — a relationship which lasted for some sixteen years — it was apparent that they really were soul-mates.
He had trained as a carpenter and using his wide experience of traditional timber-framing he designs and builds imaginative ‘constructions’ for children’s playgrounds.
In 1988 he met a fellow craftsman whose interests lay in the use of musical elements and they joined forces for a time and began to create outdoor ‘musical’ play areas. After another period of collaboration with a second craftsman he began to work alone and what evolved during this time became the series of ‘sensory installations’ from which he derives particular satisfaction and for which he is increasingly well known.
Children of all ages and abilities enjoy their interaction with the xylo bars and gongs, the touch-chimes and marimba and all the other percussive inventions which he builds into the strong and green-oak frame-work. Those children with very special needs, and those that have disabilities, respond marvellously to the sensations of physical contact with the tactile oak and to the resonance of the ‘instruments’.
Do imagine now, how our sister’s stained glass enhanced these projects with the added dimensions of light and vivid colour. While she had been working on her own account throughout, it would be during the last four years of their sixteen-year relationship that they worked together and he incorporated her glass into his installations. (Several of these may be seen in the scrolling ‘gallery’ on the right-hand side of our posts.)
The stained glass panels that she designed, using both mythical and natural influences, were not, as Jim Perrin mistakenly wrote ‘exquisitely simple’ but rather they were exquisitely complex. She worked on her designs tirelessly to achieve her ‘vision’ and was always experimenting with various glass techniques; the inclusion of added materials such as facetted crystals, glass rods, sea sand and beach glass, which she ‘fused’ into her panels, and she was constantly developing new ideas.
Jac’s brilliantly coloured stained glass work, in all its variety, joined with the strength and beauty of the greying and silvery oak as it weathers, elegantly shaped and supporting the many ‘instruments’ — this is a combination of pure magic and one can see how the children are almost enticed into the heart of these constructions; pergolas, tunnels, etc. which are in most cases significantly taller than they are themselves.
Many schools and corporations have had the vision and the confidence to commission these sensory play areas, the last of which Jac was involved with in Luton in 2004 only several months before she died.
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We would like to give here an excerpt from a letter written by this partner five months after her death — he speaks as one artist of another:
‘I thought Jac was the only artist I’ve ever met, ever known — in the sense that when she was making something, one of these panels, she ‘had’ to make it. Each panel was a little journey in its own right, that she gave her all to, to make it the best she could at the time. She was so talented and so clever, from concept to actualité.’
Our sister is no longer here but her work survives as a testimony to her artistry.
‘We will be known for ever by the tracks we leave behind’.
(saying of the Lacota Sioux, U.S.A.).