Stevens Competition Commission Winner 1999
Rachel Thomas trained and worked as an illustrator before working in glass, graduating with a BA in Art and Design from Brighton University in 1994. After achieving her postgraduate teaching certificate in art and design, she taught at Secondary level for a number of years in London whilst undertaking an intensive course in stained glass under Paul San Casciani FMGP. She worked with Steve Clare ACR as a trainee conservator and glass painter at Holy Well Glass in Wells, Somerset, for seven years, before joining the York Glaziers Trust in 2005.
In addition to her work as a conservator, Rachel Thomas is an acclaimed designer of new stained glass. In 1999 she won the prestigious Stevens Competition Commission. Her winning design for a window to mark the Millennium for St Paul’s Church, Birmingham was commissioned by Birmingham’s Assay Office. In 2006 she designed the first of three new windows for New College, Oxford, for which she won the York Guild of Building’s Craftsmanship Award. Further windows have been designed and made by her for St Mary’s Church, Uggeshall, Suffolk; Queen Margaret’s School, Escrick, nr York; and Radley College near Oxford in 2021.
Rachel is an ICON accredited conservator with the Chemistry for Conservators qualification. She has previously served for eight years on the ICON Accreditation Committee , vetting and examining applications from potential candidates.
The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and the Stevens Competition
The Worshipful Company of Glaziers first appears in written records in 1364-65 during the reign of Edward III, when the emphasis was on the protection of the personal economic welfare of Glaziers. However, in recent times the focus has shifted to the preservation of the heritage of stained glass and to the support of education in architectural glass art, design and conservation.
In 1932 the Company launched an annual competition for young artists, which from 1972 operated under the banner of the Stevens Competition. The competition provided an opportunity for aspiring architectural glass artists, designers, and craftsmen to compete in a format which simulated the process typically undertaken in order to obtain a commercial commission.