14/10/2010 by Sarah Ritchie
The earliest memory I have of admiring stained glass is as a small child in the Manukau Shopping Centre (Auckland, New Zealand) where there is a 12m x 4m window piece (pictured) by New Zealand artist Shona McFarlane. In spite of the shopping centre’s expansion – the window is still there 30+ years later (and is one of the largest stained glass windows in New Zealand). I remember being captivated by the light filtering through the colours and shapes of this happy scene – as a child it seemed so magical.
You may be able to tell I am fascinated by coloured glass in general! If I could pick any other artisitic skill to have in life I would become a stained glass artist (I did think about it semi-seriously for a while). I have great admiration for glass artists for their visual interpretations of subject and the precise skills required in the process.
Since the 4th Century church builders have harnessed the powerful beauty of coloured glass in their window designs. Why? The windows certainly increase the sensation of wonder and awe when one walks inside the church. Could it be an attempt to convey the glorious colours of Heaven to us on Earth in a God-connection moment?
Next time you see a stained glass window, stop a while. Watch the light dance through the panes. Let it tell you a story as it touches your soul.