Caroline Chisholm (2020)

Commissioned by Chisholm Catholic Primary School, Bligh Park, NSW.
Wall Panel
, 1 m x 1 m.
Fused and leaded glass.

Fused glass wall panel, 1 m x 1 m, featuring the life of Caroline Chisholm

The Task

I was approached by a local school who had just finished a building extension including a new main entrance to create a portrait of their school's patron, Caroline Chisholm (1808 – 1877). Caroline was an extraordinary woman, philanthropist and advocate who majorly shaped the early colony. 

To showcase her lifetime achievements, her pioneering spirit and tireless support for immigrant women and family welfare as well as her faith and love for Australia, I designed and created a number of fused glass scenes which together form the continent and surrounding seas. 

The Process


Old photographs served as reference point to reimagine scenes from Caroline’s life, including sailing ships on route from Europe, immigrants arriving at the docks in New South Wales and Victoria, a typical house of her time period and an early settlement.
The scenes of the continent feature ghost images of gum tree leaves native to the respective area. Details were added to engage students’ interest and imagination.  

Caroline Chisholm original drawings and photographs

A variety of sheet glass was selected; colour combinations, overlay effects and reactions were tested.

selection of glass for a custom fused glass panel

Each single scene was built from a clear base layer of sheet glass, topped with hand cut opaque or translucent glass pieces according to the design.
The basic scenes underwent a full fuse in the kiln, causing the pieces to melt together at 750°C.   

testing of glass reactions and colour combinations for a commission piece

Glass frit and powder were added for details before the scenes went back into the kiln for a 2nd and 3rd tack fuse and fire polish.

adding details to the fused scenes by layering and applying glass frit and powder5. MONTAGE
The full panel was assembled by leading and soldering the single scenes together, framing it in a hand built wooden frame.

 details of the final Caroline Chisholm fused glass panel

More details 


May 2020