Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
  The British Channel Seen from the Dorsetshire Cliffs (detail) 1871

Nathalie Liege and St Luke's Church

Relief models for stained glass windows (2009)

St Luke’s church was built in 1904 and was at the centre of a thriving community in the heart of the South Yorkshire coal industry. With the decline of the coal industry and the final closure of the pit, coking plant and the power station the village experienced deep degeneration. By 2001, the church community came to a decision to demolish the parish church. With the appointment of Father Peter Needham in 2002, this decision was reversed, Father Peter took the view that "the parish church was, and is, the spiritual heart of the Grimethorpe community, holding those spiritual and divine attributes of quality, worth and value, which are not just found in a church building, but in every human soul. The re-ordering and saving of St Luke’s was therefore vital in presenting to all the people of the community something that all could be proud of."
The idea for the windows grew out of a project instigated in 2003 by The Art House, a visual arts organisation based in Wakefield. Glass artist Nathalie Liege, who lives in Shrewsbury, won a commission to work with the congregation at St. Luke’s to develop ideas for the refurbishment of the Church. In a series of workshops Nathalie photographed members of the congregation in a variety of poses and later developed the design for the two Lady Chapel windows from these photographs.

It took a further three years for Father Peter to raise the money to fund the production of the windows, with much of the £47,000 budget coming from an Arts Council England 'Awards for All' grant. Further fundraising was undertaken by the Mothers’ Union and a grant from the Co-operative Community Fund went towards associated workshops with children at two Grimethorpe schools: Milefield and Willowgarth.
Nathalie Liege is a French glass artist and craftswomen who has lived in the UK since 1995 and is currently based in Shrewsbury, she works with a variety of methods from leaded lights and leaded and painted traditional stained glass windows, to more contemporary techniques such as colour fusing and uses the latest glass science techniques in the application of her designs. Her work has taken this diversity of techniques and applied them to a series of projects including churches, community based projects, public buildings and private commissions.

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