A window into how we’re supporting our friends at Pensychnant

A window into how we’re supporting our friends at Pensychnant

By Julian Pitt, Chair, Snowdonia Society

Pensychnant is a delightful country house and nature reserve near Conwy that is managed by resident warden, Julian Thompson.

The Snowdonia Society has long had a connection with Pensychnant – many of our training and volunteer days are held there through the year. Practical conservation, cups of tea and interesting conservation are what make a day at Pensychnant a rewarding experience for anyone who volunteers there.

Indeed, not long before lockdown was announced the Society spent a day hedge-laying with a group of volunteers: planting over 1000 tree whips on the reserve to promote biodiversity. Fast forward to now however, and Pensychnant is closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Access to the public is not permitted and this summer’s group volunteer programme is on hold.

Despite this I’ve been doing my bit for Pensychnant at home by rekindling a hobby working with glass, with a plan to create a new bespoke window for the house’s main hall (image right).

The completed window will comprise of about two square metres of glass – my biggest window project to date! It won’t be ‘stained’ glass like you see in churches. Instead the window will be made of ‘fused’ glass. This is created at about 800⁰C using a kiln to melt cut pieces of coloured glass onto clear glass panes. This way, the back-lit colours are more intense than can be achieved with staining, as shown in the colourful test piece below.

Lettering can also be fused into the glass to create an inscription that’s written in light rather than painted onto glass in light-blocking black enamel lettering.

I’ve been collaborating with the reserve warden Julian Thompson to come up with the final design which will include both text and imagery. So far it’s a closely guarded secret… except for the clues in the images which include the word gwyn and the foliage-inspired motif below.

Let’s just say that the window will celebrate nature and the inscription in Welsh will challenge the viewer to join in action to conserve our threatened wildlife.

Assuming manufacture and installation go according to plan, the window will be in position in time for a photo in the Society’s autumn magazine.

But much better, take a trip to Pensychnant once lockdown is lifted and if it is safe to do so, and go see the glass for yourself after a walk around the reserve.

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