Karen Beggs

Stained glass isn't just for churches! I make stained glass with a difference; new takes on traditional themes, purpose-driven art.


Artist statement

I am a self-taught stained glass artist in South East Scotland, near Edinburgh. All of my work is copper foil (Tiffany) technique although I sometimes use lead for framing. I prefer to begin with my own sketch or drawing rather than use templates; every piece is unique. I love to create purpose-driven art, incorporating images or words to highlight historical and contemporary injustice.

What craft do you work with? 

I have always loved stained glass and had been looking for a class to sign up to when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. A friend showed me photos of some small stained glass suncatchers she had made after watching YouTube tutorials and I decided to give it a go myself. I bought a beginners’ kit, watched a few videos and started. I had always expected I’d make precise, symmetrical, quite minimalist stained glass; how wrong I was! As soon as I began cutting the glass, my hands dictated I would be making mountains and landscapes, swathes of colour and rolling shapes with exposed edges and added flourishes of wire, charms and pebbles. I began dreaming about glass, and I sometimes wake up with an idea I have to draw and create, or with a solution to a problem I’ve been mulling over about how to design something. I’m very glad I didn’t begin with buying templates others had created, although this may have speeded up my learning process and helped me avoid some of the early mistakes! Beginning with my own drawings and translating them into glass forced me to make mistakes. I learned how glass breaks, how shapes work together, about structural form and about the discipline of each step.

What inspires you to work with this craft? 

I began a ‘stained women’ stained glass series during 2021, inspired by the local art club’s paintings of women tried as witches on the outside of the local library. As well as two of these women, the series includes Amanda Gorman, Margaret Macdonald Macintosh, Ada Lovelace and the suffragettes Christabelle Pankhurst and Annie Kenney holding their ‘Votes for Women’ banner. I’ve extended this to other panels with feminist slogans and the colours of the suffragette flag. I’ve recreated a Maya Angelou book cover complete with a quote from the book. I like bringing in a political angle to my work and this has brought some commission requests. I love to create Scottish mountain landscapes including the Three Sisters of Glencoe, the Old Man of Hoy, Ben Lui, Bla Bheinn and Buachaille Etive Beag – Stob Coire Raineach. I made four panels for my own sash and case windows depicting the Cuillin Mountains on the Isle of Skye at sunset.

Are there new techniques you would like to try?

I have begun dabbling in painting on glass and have been enjoying this process. I would like to try more painting using traditional techniques and with paints that need to be kiln-dried.

Media & Contact


Company: KayBeeGlass



Website: kaybeeglass.com

Instagram: KayBeeGlass

Facebook: KayBeeGlass



Photography Credits

KayBee Glass, Scotland, 2022



Scotland, United Kingdom