Glass artist's angel wings sculpture is a poignant tribute
- Credit: Ely Cathedral
A world-renowned glass blower's stunning angel wings sculpture is now on display at Ely Cathedral, in tribute to the thousands who died during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Layne Rowe's 10 foot high instillation, which consists of 160 individually blown glass feathers, will remain on show at the Lady Chapel for two months before heading to London.
The award-winning artist said the project was inspired by "the suffering caused by Covid, with the hopes of giving those who lost loved ones a symbol of hope and unity".
The 49-year-old glassblower's installation, titled 'Solace', was a first for Layne, whose passion in creating glass feathers comes from his love of birds and a desire to fly as a child.
Previous attempts saw the artist use a variety of techniques but, for 'Solace', Layne created the wings using more than 150 individual glass pieces.
Meanwhile, each feather was hung from the bones of the wings, forged in metal by Ryan Harms.
These were then threaded together onto a large metal frame, allowing the piece to have some movement.
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He said: "There’s a very vivid memory in my mind of being a small child driving with my family with the racing pigeons in their cage on the roof, before letting them go and then driving home with them flying above the car.
“Witnessing the feeling of freedom when they were released stayed with me - as did the fact they then flew home back to their cage."
As far as glass goes, he said birds "have never really been something I’ve been able to represent in my work; some things just don’t go together.
“I couldn’t just make a bird and their feathers always just seemed too delicate to make work until I found the technique, and then the whole thing opened up.
Layne’s work has been exhibited worldwide, appearing at venues including the Ebeltoft glass museum in Denmark, and Brighton Museum and Art Gallery alongside Grayson Perry and Alexander McQueen.
Although 'Solace' was created with the aim of bringing hope and unity to those affected by the pandemic, they also carried a personal meaning for Layne.
“The white wings were also made during a time when my mum was suffering with motor neurone disease,” said Layne.
“She loved seeing my work and, in my heart, they were also a tribute to my mum.”