St Michael's & All Angels Church font

St Michael's & All Angels Church font

Glass in sculpture St Michael's & All Angels Church Font

The Project

In May 2015, Romag was contacted by world-renowned sculptor Colin Wilbourn, who was commissioned to design a portable baptismal font for St Michael’s and All Angels church in Felton, Northumberland.

The existing font was so badly damaged that it could no longer be used. Colin, who has also done work for Durham Cathedral, commented: “I was asked to create something much smaller and completely unique that reflected the character and nature of their church.”

The Solution

The church is a mixture of old and new materials which sculptor Colin was asked to include in his design. “After visiting the church I came up with a design which I felt fulfilled the brief; octagonal to reflect the shape of the old font, with legs shaped to match the old arches in the in the architecture of the church.”

Part of the design brief was that the font needed to be portable and so the top and base were made from oak, which is a material used elsewhere in the church, and the legs were made from glass in-keeping with the glass wall which had recently been installed.

Colin, experienced in working with glass, continued: “You can’t use regular glass in portable fixtures. I knew finding a glass manufacturer that could meet the slim design specification in toughened glass would be problematic, but it was important to the design. They wanted to create something that reflected the history of the church but also looked to the future.”

It was then that Colin contacted Romag, in particular our Technical Director Kevin Webster, who advised on a method that would meet the design specification without compromising the aesthetics he wanted to achieve. Romag was able to supply the toughened glass that would form the font’s legs, drawing on our knowledge of the architectural market for this intricate project.

Kevin comments: “We were happy to be given the opportunity to work on such an interesting project. The difficulty with glass is there are dimensional limits on toughening and we were happy to work with Colin and come up with a solution that fit the design brief that fit the high standard required.” 

The result

Colin adds: “I’m very happy with the result; I was worried that my design would have to alter drastically, but the team at Romag really helped me achieve my vision under some complex design parameters.”

The font was dedicated on 7 June 2015 by the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Frank White and is a beautiful and unique church font that parishioners can be proud of.

 

For another example of our work with a designer on an artistic project, take a look at our contribution to the Propellers of the City sculpture in Sunderland.

From The Client

"Given the slim design of glass legs, the church font was a challenging project. All the staff at Romag were very supportive in helping me achieve my goals and feedback from the Diocese has been very positive. I wouldn't hesitate in working with Romag again".

Colin Wilbourn

Colin Wilbourn | Sculptor

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