Giant glass wings installed at St Albans Cathedral to offer 'Solace' in loss

The Solace glass wings installation at St Albans Cathedral.

The Solace glass wings installation at St Albans Cathedral. - Credit: St Albans Cathedral

A giant glass wings installation at St Albans Cathedral will offer 'Solace' to people who have suffered loss in the pandemic.

The unique installation has been hand-crafted by leading glass artist Layne Rowe, especially for St Albans Cathedral, using glass blowing and sculpting techniques.

The Solace glass wings installation at St Albans Cathedral is made up of 160 individually blown glass feathers

Designed as a reflective memorial to the pandemic, the Solace glass wings installation at St Albans Cathedral is made up of 160 individually blown glass feathers - Credit: St Albans Cathedral

It was in response to the unfolding global COVID-19 situation that glass artist Layne was inspired to create the Solace glass wings installation, which will be on display in the North Transept of St Albans Cathedral from Tuesday, April 20.

Speaking of the symbolism of the installation, Layne said: “I have always had an affinity for flight and have produced several bodies of work based on this theme.

"This fascination led to making a small-scale set of angel wings which represented freedom and fragility but also power, strength and protection.

"I want the glass wings to be a symbol of unity, strength and a focus for people of all faiths and none to reflect on the past year.”

People have been coming to St Albans Cathedral seeking quiet reflection and relief for centuries, and the installation of these glass wings will bring a new way of helping visitors and pilgrims to remember loved ones and contemplate all that has happened over the past year.

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Designed as a reflective memorial to the pandemic, the installation is made up of 160 individually blown glass feathers.

Solace installation in the North Transept of St Albans Cathedral  

Solace installation in the North Transept of St Albans Cathedral - Credit: St Albans Cathedral.

Each feather is then hung from the bones of the wings, forged in iron by Ryan Harms. 

The installation is a first for the Cathedral and is thought to be unique as a work.

The glass wings of installation Solace at St Albans Cathedral

The glass wings of installation Solace at St Albans Cathedral. - Credit: St Albans Cathedral

Sculptures of this size are traditionally made using sheets of glass rather than using the art of glass blowing. 

Canon Abi Thompson, Acting Dean of St Albans Cathedral, said: “St Albans Cathedral is full of light – candlelight flickering, coloured light through the stained glass windows, and the changing light of every day.

"This installation will come to life, shining and catching the light in different ways, and I hope its beauty will help people to reflect on all the sorrows of the year that has passed, and find hope."

The Solace installation will be on display in St Albans Cathedral until Friday, May 14.

Admission to the Cathedral is free and full COVID-19 safety precautions will be in place.

Solace has been hand-crafted by leading glass artist Layne Rowe, especially for St Albans Cathedral

Solace has been hand-crafted by leading glass artist Layne Rowe, especially for St Albans Cathedral - Credit: St Albans Cathedral


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