A 'BOLD and contemporary' new stained glass window is being installed at a parish church - the first for more than 100 years.

Artists Linda Norris and Rachel Phillips began the pain-staking process of constructing the window at St Michael's in Blewbury this week, beginning by making a cardboard cut-out of every piece of glass.

These will be taken back to their workshop and used as models so exact replicas can be made before they return to the church to piece together the design for the new window, based on the theme of bells.

Villagers are aiming to raise £80,000 for the project and are nearly half way there.

One of the organisers, Richard Loyd, said: "The intention was to have a bold and brave contemporary design that celebrates our time.

"Bells have called people to worship for hundreds of years and the design reflects their role in our community.

"It is also hoped the window will work in the same way as the bells and draw people in.

"We intend to illuminate it at night so it can be seen from the inside and out.

"This will be there for generations and we hope local businesses can get involved by sponsoring the project."

The last stained glass window was installed at the church in the early 1900s.

Last year artist David Hockney designed a new stained glass window for Westminster Abbey, which he designed on his iPad.

Rector Jason St. John-Nicolle said the church was hoping to create 'one of the finest' contemporary works of art in any church in Oxfordshire.

He said: "For me it will celebrate life in our community.

"Art is a wonderful way that people connect with the things that are most important in life.

"As a church we have worked with artists for centuries and we're thrilled to be able to keep up this support."

The design features the church's eight bells, represented by large circles, and sound waves travelling outwards over the village.

Artist Rachel Phillips, based in Wales, said she was inspired by visiting the bell ringers and hearing first hand the sounds and vibrations.

She also met villagers and spoke about their own experiences of living with the bells and what they mean to them.

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