HADFAS, Helen Robinson, and stained glass

High Beeches and Kimpton Schools

Helen Robinson working with the children assembling the tesserae

HADFAS, the Harpenden Area Decorative & Fine Arts Society, have held an annual schools project to encourage young people’s participation in the arts for several years.

Wendy Burdett is one of their members who is involved in these schemes and wrote the following articles which appeared in their 2009 and 2015 “Bulletins”. We are very pleased that Wendy and HADFAS are happy for them to be reproduced on our website.




“The HADFAS Bulletin” – Spring 2009  – Young Arts

The HADFAS Young Arts  Scheme aims to encourage the appreciation and enjoyment of the arts by young people in the area. Every year since 1999 we have funded very successful projects in local schools with visiting artists spending up to a week with the children on a variety of projects such as sculpture, painting, paper making, felt making and poetry.

Our ambitious project for 2008 was making a stained glass window at Kimpton School under the guidance of well-known local stained glass artist, Helen Robinson. Design of the window was done by the children under Helen’s guidance and depicts the annual three-day May Festival in Kimpton, showing the village church and the houses nearby, the fields round about, flowers, bluebell woods, butterflies and even bumble bees. The vibrant colourful window is absolutely stunning!

This being an anniversary year, we collaborated with HEDFAS (Harpenden Evening DFAS) and the funding came from both societies. For two days in October HADFAS and HEDFAS members worked with Helen and the children creating their masterpiece. Everyone involved enjoyed working together and learning about the fascinating subject of glass mosaics. If you would like to find out more about glass mosaics, visit Helen’s website: http://www.orielglassstudio.co.uk/

The window was formally unveiled in November 2008 by Diana Diggines, the recently retired Head.

Wendy Burdett


The second article appeared in

“The HADFAS Bulletin” – November 2015  –  Young Arts

We are pleased to report on another successful Young Arts project. High Beeches School now has two splendid stained glass windows, each 6ft x 2ft, in their new extension. The school chose ‘Night’ and ‘Day’ as the theme and each child drew a picture so that the artist, Helen Robinson, could include them in her finished designs. HADFAS members and some parents played their part by cutting up the glass in Helen’s studio. This could not be done by the children in case they cut their fingers. There were a few plasters on adult fingers after four enjoyable session, we did not find it that easy! The glass pieces (tesserae) were then placed carefully on the outline by the children, supervised by adults to ensure the colours were graded to best effect. The windows were glued to sheets of Perspex and Helen finished them off  by grouting the tesserae in black. Then at the end of June they were installed at each end of a corridor where they can be enjoyed by children and teachers every day.

Wendy Burdett

Ed. It may be possible for you to view them if they are still in situ (October 2019). If you wish to do so, we suggest that you should contact the schools to arrange a visit.

Helen maintained the strong tradition of making stained glass windows here in Harpenden for over twenty years. She has now re-located to Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire where she continues making her distinctive stained glass work and teaching window making to others.

Her other local assignments included the Millenium Window at St Hilds’s School, and “Four Seasons” at Manland Primary School.


The ‘WOODWORKER’ Article



An article about Helen’s current work appeared in the magazine ‘THE WOODWORKER’ in July 2019.


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