Glass act: Linda turns Paul into an art revival

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The Independent Online
LINDA McCartney is helping to spearhead a revival of an art form that has been dormant for more than100 years - stained-glass photography.

Working with her friend, the artist Brian Clarke, she has put on an exhibition of stained-glass photography in what must be the most reclusive art venue in the world - the 13th-century Cistercian abbey at Romont, high in the Swiss Alps. Unsurprisingly, the art world has failed to pick up on the exhibition.

They have been secretly working for three years on reviving the technique, which was last in vogue in the 1880s, and which Clarke has experimented with once before. They have now produced a number of stained- glass photographs, including a set of portraits of Sir Paul McCartney as well as other celebrities, friends, flowers and urban landscapes.

The exhibition is likely to move to London or New York later this year. The pair have also donated stained- glass photography for windows at the Hammersmith Hospital and Rye Memorial Hospital.

Through a new process that they have invented, Linda McCartney's photographs are silk-screened on to mouth-blown glass. Instead of using inks, the colour comes from using ground glass mixed with iron oxide that is then fired in a kiln at 1,200C.The surface of the glass melts, the ground glass in the pigment melts and the two fuse.

The pair kept the project secret for three years, says Clarke, "as we did not want what is a very difficult technique to be plagiarised before the opening of the Romont exhibition. All the techniques we that we have used are known techniques, but nobody has ever put them together like this before."

Linda McCartney said yesterday: "Having enjoyed collaborating with Brian for many years on various projects, I'm very excited about this opportunity to show our latest work. As a photographer, the possibilities of this form intrigue me."

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