Alec Galloway is a Scottish architectural glass artist who was kind enough to give a talk at this year’s AGM about the windows he created for Maryhill Burgh Halls. The building had been derelict, but funds through the National Lottery were raised to refurbish it, and it reopened in 2012. It originally had 20 “trades windows” by Steven Adam. 10 original windows by Adams were put back in the church and 10 modern windows were commissioned from Alec Galloway.
Prior to getting the commission Alec got to know the streets around the local area and spoke to people from the community. He created a sample panel to show the techniques he wished to use in his design. His work consists of screenprinting from photographs, something he felt was hard to explain, so instead he showed his sample which he feels helped to win him the commission.
Alec used a mixture of pine oil and glass paint to screen print onto glass, which when fired in a kiln he says will last as long as traditional painted windows. By using this technique he was able to create a realism that would be very difficult to replicate using traditional painting. Maryhill is a culturally diverse community and Alec wanted to reflect this in his design. He found old photographs of the area and took his own, creating what could be described as a glass collage, capturing the history and personality unique to the area.
Steven Adam’s windows are themed by trade and Alec wanted to reflect this in his own work by giving each window a theme. For example each of his windows are based on topics as diverse as entertainment, history and education. Within each are embedded the stories and rich idiosyncrasies of Maryhill. One window in particular focused on technology. Images depict the little known local space industry which makes parts of satellites for NASA. It also has the honour of being the world’s first interactive stained glass window, as within it is a barcode which when scanned by a smartphone takes you to a website all about the glass.