A STAINED glass expert from York has designed the largest stained-glass installation ever seen in the Philippines.

Helen Whittaker, creative director of Barley Studio in Dunnington, designed six huge windows for a new chapel - ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’ Chapel in Filinvest City, Alambang - each of them 20 metres high and measuring a total of 180 square metres.

She was part of an international project involving Japan-based architect Hiroshi Nakamura, with the windows constructed and installed by an established stained glass company in the Philippines,  Kraut Art Glass, using glass supplied by Lamberts, of Germany.

The chapel is now complete and open for worship.

Helen designed the windows at her studio in Dunnington, selecting the coloured glass and lead.

She said her designs incorporated Marian symbols, in an abstracted form, at the centre of each window, the symbols inspired by the 'Marian Apparitions' experienced by Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes. 

The geometry used in the designs, forming the backdrop to the symbols, was inspired by the form of the lily flower, and the six windows used colours arranged in a rainbow sequence around the Chapel as a reminder of God’s covenant of grace.

Helen said: "It’s been an amazing opportunity to create a complete scheme of stained glass windows for this beautiful new building. 

"I am proud to build on York’s long history in stained glass, and particularly to see Barley Studio recognised internationally for our expertise in stained glass creation.”

Barley Studios' team is currently engaged in conserving, restoring and protecting all twelve medieval windows of All Saints North Street Church in York. 

The windows date to the 14th and 15th centuries, and comprise some of the finest medieval glass in the country. This National Heritage Lottery Funded project is due to complete by summer 2023.

Helen's previous works include a window created at All Saints Church in Pavement in 2015 in lasting tribute to the thousands of local men and women who served in Afghanistan.

The window provided a memorial to three York servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice: Marine David Hart, Trooper Ashley David Smith and Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton.

The window was funded by the City of York Afghanistan Commemorative Appeal, which was launched by The Press in 2011 and raised more than £17,000 to recognise the city’s sons and daughters who answered the call of duty in Afghanistan.

In 2018, Helen told how she flew to David Hockney’s studio in California to discuss creating a new window for Westminster Abbey.

The 9m by 3m stained-glass window was installed to celebrate the Queen’s reign, to a specially commissioned design by Hockney.

She said she was invited to stay at the artist's LA home and studio to discuss the details of his ground-breaking commission.