Learning how to preserve traditional craft earns Becky a top prize

Becky Bowman at work and (left) the design for the competition which won her the ‘Reflections of the Lord Mayor Design’ prize in the annual Stevens Architectural Glass competition
Becky Bowman at work and (left) the design for the competition which won her the ‘Reflections of the Lord Mayor Design’ prize in the annual Stevens Architectural Glass competition

A Lancaster University student was among emerging architectural glass artists who cracked the top prizes at an awards ceremony in London recently.

Third year Fine Art student Becky Bowman won the ‘Reflections of the Lord Mayor Design’ prize at the annual Stevens Architectural Glass competition, which attracts entrants from the UK and internationally.

Becky, who won the award for her stained glass work while on a one-year placement with Reyntiens Glass Studio in London, received a £500 prize.

Entrants had to design a stained glass panel for the patient reception and waiting area of the new proton beam therapy centre at University College Hospital, part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), a commission worth up to £12,000.

UCLH believes that the provision of the Arts within a hospital environment is integral to patient wellbeing and a high quality, modern patient-centred NHS.

Becky had to submit a full design and commission budget and to make a small sample panel of part of the window to demonstrate their craft skills and to show how the design might work in practice.

“The brief for the design was for a light box in the UCHL Proton Beam Therapy waiting room which will be underground,” explains Becky.

“I wanted to introduce the peace of nature to cancer patients as they waited for the treatment to bring a sense of calm and to bring light.

“I developed the design from sketching in the garden, through Photoshop and then finally handcrafting it in glass.”

Becky said she was ‘over the moon’ when she won the award.

“This was the first window I had made and wasn’t expecting anything,” she added.

“The placement at Reyntiens has been wonderful and I have no doubt it will be the most significant year in discovering my career.”

Competition judges this year were: Martin Donlin, Jo Downs, Alex R and Kate Maestri; led by nonvoting Head Judge Helen Whittaker. All are distinguished and internationally renowned architectural glass artists. They were joined by Guy Noble, Arts Curator, UCLH.

Head Judge Helen Whittaker said: “The Stevens Competition is unique, providing an opportunity to those starting off in their vocation to design for a specific location that may result in a commissioned work.

“The judging panel were heartened by the range, quality and creativity of ideas presented to us, and the great efforts made in bringing them to fruition.”

Chris Seow, the Founder of ‘Reflections of the Lord Mayor’, a not-for-profit philanthropic venture supporting young people in arts education said: “I am delighted to support a design prize to help encourage young people in the arts and Rebecca Bowman is a worthy winner.”

The annual Stevens Competition is open to students, apprentices and those who have begun their training within the last eight years

The placement year option, offered by Lancaster University, one of the only universities in the UK who offer Fine Art with a placement year option, is new.

“I know Becky’s department are really proud of her and we all congratulate her on this outstanding achievement,” said Lancaster University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Placements Officer Lucy Hutchinson.

“The offer of a Placement Year for Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities degrees is a fantastic way for our students to apply their academic knowledge in real life settings, build lasting connections in their industry of choice, and develop skills and confidence to flourish in a highly competitive graduate jobs market.

“It’s been a privilege to work with our talented placement students, coaching them through their applications right through to visiting them on site. We look forward to welcoming Becky and our other FASS Placement students back for their final year of study in 2019/20.”

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