With the magical beauty and slight foreboding akin to Tolkien’s Fangorn Forest, the painted and stained glass panels of Petri Anderson entrance the viewer with their mystical lighting and woodland content. A stained glass artist working from his studio in Hertfordshire, UK, Anderson’s inspiration comes from two primary sources: the wealth of 19th– and early 20th-century British stained glass and the woodland habitats of his Finnish roots.
Beginning in 1989, Anderson studied restoration glass painting under Peter Archer and Alfred Fisher, and in the late ‘90s succeeded Archer as head designer and painter at Chapel Studio in Hertfordshire. Currently heading his own studio, Mongoose Stained Glass, Anderson undertakes domestic and ecclesiastical commissions as well as restoration, producing work that can be seen in churches, livery companies, schools and private homes. Liturgical projects include the Pat Salvage memorial window for St. Nicholas Church in Kelvedon Hatch, which received a diocesan award for design, and three windows for St. Andrews Church, Hyde Heath.
Having mastered techniques to include the use of traditional kiln fired glass paints and enamels, Anderson’s woodland scenes include detailed acid etched areas employed to achieve rich color varieties through the application of Jean Cousin and pigment made from steel wool soaked in vinegar. He designs and fabricates commissions and produces individual gallery pieces, some of which are available for exhibition. Independent works, such as Fox and Owls, are often inspired by global events. Others, such as Doves Rising, pay homage to the natural world. The artist has recently finished a circular panel based on Bruckner’s 4th Symphony.
Anderson will co-teach a design workshop with Tim Carey and Helen Whittiaker on Thursday, July 14, at the 2022 American Glass Guild (AGG) Conference in Corning, New York. Students will learn how to design using the program Procreate. The artist has also donated his latest work, an adaptation of a painting by E R Hughes called Oh, what’s that in the Hollow? to the AGG auction. The auction is the sole source of support for the James C. Whitney Scholarship Fund, which has awarded over 125 scholarships to worthy recipients, many of whom have traveled nationally and internationally honing their stained glass skills and knowledge.
Stained glass painting techniques have not changed dramatically since the earliest known examples of the craft back in 9th century Germany. Anderson wrote for buildingconservation.com: “A 14th century development in glass painting technique was the use of the badger hair brush. This is a broad brush (some modern badger hair brushes are 5” wide) which is used as a dry brush on wet paint to soften the paint effect and remove application brush marks. Frequently the badger brush was also used to achieve a ‘stippled’ paint effect by pouncing the wet paint. This allowed the painter to achieve a more refined appearance. Another addition to the glass painter’s repertoire was ‘silver stain’. In the early 14th century it was discovered that applying a compound of silver onto the glass and then firing it would stain the glass anything from a pale lemon color to a deep orange color. This discovery revolutionized stained glass. Suddenly there were lots of new possibilities: for the first time color could be applied to the glass and controlled depending on the firing temperature and thickness of the application. While the paintwork was confined to the side of the glass that faced inwards, the silver stain was applied to the outside face of the glass.”
A master of manipulating paint and stain to reproduce lush woodland environments, Anderson discusses both historical painting processes and his own unique take on the centuries-old techniques used to create his stunning body of work.