from the Cambodia Daily, February 24-25, 2007
Art and Craft of Stained Glass
by Michelle Vachon
Eng Lino, 15, puts the finishing touch on a stained
glass artwork during a workshop at the Reyum Art
By 8:30 am on
a sunny day earlier this month, Khin Sokhim was already
engrossed in his work, meticulously cutting small pieces of
glass based on a pattern he had designed.
had studied various art techniques at the Reyum Art School
over the last five years, this was his first experiment with
to cut the glass and set it in the lead frames," the 20 year
"When if s a
very small piece, sometimes I have to do it twice to cut it
right, and then you have to be very careful grinding it".
and six other senior students embarked in mid-January on a
stained glass workshop given at the art school by Scot
Slessor, a program manager with the Canadian Department of
Foreign Affairs on leave for a few months.
The result a
series of about 50 stained glass and glass-painting works
around 35 centimeters square in size. They win feature in a
silent auction at the Reyum Institute's school Tuesday, and
re-main on exhibit through Thursday.
is an art form into which Cambodian artists have not yet
ventured, Slessor said. "There is no Khmer ornamentation in
glass. Stained glass hasn't been done here—even the Thai[s]
haven't done it," he said.
occasionally sold here for about $100 a piece tends to come
from Vietnam and is not especially well made, said Slessor,
who has been working with stained glass for about 15 years.
The idea of
introducing Reyum's students to the art form came up when
Slessor discovered the book "Kbach, A Study of Khmer
Ornament" on Cambodia's traditional decorative patterns
published by the Reyum Institute two years ago.
saw...the book, [it] not only showed these designs, but also
how to draft them," he said. 'To me, as a guy who likes to
work with glass, I thought this was a great tool and decided
to do a series of these in [stained glass] windows."
contacted Reyum Director Ly Daravufh to get authorization to
use the designs from the book, they talked about stained
glass techniques and decided that Slessor would give a
four-week workshop at the school.
the project as an opportunity for young artists to put a new
art product on the Cambodian market he said.
Kong Chan Na, 24, checks the glass pieces he just
cut against the stained glass design he has created.
Sokhim, 20, is inserting glass pieces into the lead
frame or his stained glass work.
workshop, they studied the whole process, which begins with
the artist creating a design—not overly intricate—and
deciding on the pattern of colored and clear glass in which
it will be produced.
Next come the
tasks of cutting the glass pieces and grinding their edges
in the desired shapes.
the artist constructs the design by fitting the glass pieces
into lead frames, starting from the design's bottom left
corner and progressively adding the pieces.
soldering iron, he fuses the lead joints and fills the gaps
between glass and lead frame with putty to make the artwork
The piece is
then covered with whiting—calcium carbonate—to draw moisture
out of the putty, and is left to dry for one day.
whiting has been removed, an add varnish, which is usually
black, is applied to the lead and solder to give them a
uniform color. The glass is then cleaned and the artwork is
ready to be framed or left as is.
For Kun Sotha,
20, a Reyum school student for five years who attended the
workshop, the most exciting part is seeing the stained glass
design take shape.
"What I like
is when you put the glass pieces together and the artwork
appears," he said.
surprised to see how much they have achieved in such a short
time," Ly Daravuth said.
"This could introduce a new way to treat glass in different
industries in Cambodia, in design in general as well as in
work with traditional motifs."
Since no one
has so far worked with stained glass, there is no color
glass or glass paint available in the country, Slessor said
Getting the necessary supplies from Canada for the workshop
turned into a private project of both Slessor and his wife,
Canadian Ambassador Donica Pottie.
Ly Daravuth hope this first venture into stained glass will
lead to a demand on the market for the young artists to get
work as well as help support the school.
students from poor families, ranging in age from 10 to
mid-20s, currently attend the Reyum Art School, said school
director Lim Vanchan. Proceeds from the auction, scheduled
for 6 pm on Tuesday, will go to the school