Church of St Michael and All Angels, Blewbury, Oxfordshire
2017 – 2020
photo by David Thrower
photo by Linda Norris
The Resound Window has been designed by Rachel Phillips and the mirrored glass banners by Linda Norris and Rachel Phillips as a Studio Melyn creative collaboration, in response to the church’s aim of celebrating the rich heritage of bell-ringing in the church and the theme of new life. The design also aims to bring new light, movement and colour into the Tower space.
It also satisfies the desire to celebrate the legacy of bell ringing in the church and the ambition to create a stunning new artwork for the church and adding to the fabric of the church in a determinately contemporary way.
The scheme centres around the eight bells of St Michael’s represented by a range of circular forms of different sizes symbolises the octave. These strong forms play with the idea of the individual notes being used in combination and unison – the forms also reference the idea of sound waves travelling outwards over the village, wider community and landscape. The resonance of the sound intermingles and combines in varying combinations.
The banners are made of layered, mirrored glass designed to reflect and amplify the colour and light from the window into the Tower. They are designed to enhance the effect of the window without competing with it and add an additional dimension to the space; a visual echo of the resonating bells as passed down through the generations of bell ringers.
The six banners are symbolic of the church’s earlier contingent of six bells, whose rope holes can still be seen in the Tower ceiling (the eight bells used today are symbolised in the window).
The banners are based on the Bell ringers ‘methods’- charts that codify and communicate the variations of bell ringing. The one used in the banners is called Cambridge Surprise for Six Bells. It represents many that exist and is taken from a book of Methods used by the bell ringers at St Michael’s.
Different parts of the sequence are shown in each banner, and the banners are arranged in groups of three on the walls on either side of the stained glass window.
This work was initiated by the Vicar of St Michaels Church, The Revd Jason St. John Nicolle, and was supported by a dedicated team of fundraisers and the project committee. The artists would like to express gratitude for the enthusiastic support they have received from the project team and for the splendid dedication celebration on January 8th 2020 when the window was blessed by Bishop Colin of Dorchester.
The church is open to the public daily and visitors are very welcome.