Refia uses traditional stained glass techniques in an innovative way. Her special interest is in acid etching using a variety of resists to create different etched results. In particular she is able to capture an unusual atmospheric quality with her etching with the image changing in subtle ways with different lighting and different view points. Having worked previously as a silversmith, using acid etching on metal, she brings a similar subtle glowing quality to her work on glass. Added to this she uses silver staining, paint and enamels. She often uses layers of glass which have been etched, painted and stained on both sides to give a subtle shifting quality and sense of depth.
Her work can be broadly divided into two different but overlapping styles.
One, often based on natural forms, is light and atmospheric, sometimes with delicately painted detail. With an emphasis on the beauty of the natural forms, these may also include images with a sinister quality and so play with the traditional theme of good and evil.
The other style is more solid with the use of lead and intense colour and the subject matter is more symbolic.
Refia often works in themes or series, taking elements from one piece into the next and then overlaying it with a new idea. For example, first inspired by a swimming pool with debris and insects floating on the surface, she went on to create a series of panels using themes of water, leaves, feathers and insects.
Both styles have a different way of using the light transforming properties of glass and have been used either architecturally or in small independent ‘fine art’ panels.