There were some anxious moments for stained glass artist Michelle Androu of Devonport, as the window she created for St Stephens to mark the chapel’s centenary was installed.
The painstaking and precise work of installing a window is, she says, in many ways of equal importance to making the piece. “It needs to be done well if the window is going to stand the test of time, which is of course crucial,” Michelle says.
Installed on August 1, the stained glass window adds a contemporary note, especially when viewed alongside one of the chapel’s most long-standing pieces – the St George window.
Michelle, who also made the large Heaven and Earth window at the entrance to the chapel in 2013, said there is a lovely connection between her work and the St George. The St George window was made by Goddard & Gibbs of England, which is where Michelle worked after leaving art school. The artist who cut that window for St Stephens trained Michelle’s stained glass tutor.
The window Michelle made for the centenary cost $5000 and represents the history of the chapel as a community hub. A cross in the centre has been etched into gold glass, with sandblasted circles around it to represent people coming to the church from far and wide. A sunrise and the blue green of the sea are also included, along with a fish – a symbol of the Anglican church.
Michelle says making the window was very much a collaborative process, with many discussions needed to reach consensus. “That can be challenging, but it’s also what I like about making work for churches,” she says.
The window was officially unveiled as part of the church’s centenary celebration on August 6.