Image source, Edgar Phillips

Image caption, This year’s sculpture is a tall pair of wings reaching up to the sky, gilded in gold

  • Author, Bea Swallow
  • Role, BBC News, Somerset

An artist has been commissioned to create a large stained glass wings sculpture, which will be erected in the stone circle at Glastonbury Festival.

Edgar Phillips, who lives and works in Wells, Somerset, has been creating stained glass windows since the age of 11, having followed in his father’s footsteps.

He has sculptures dotted around the world, with four unique designs displayed at Glastonbury in previous years, the first being in 2017.

He said: “A lot of my art is inspired through my own mental health journey.”

If you’ve been to Glastonbury Festival, you have probably come across a set of magnificent colourful wings, or even had your picture taken in front them.

They first appeared in 2017, after Mr Phillips was scouted by co-organiser of the festival, Emily Eavis.

Image source, Edgar Phillips

Image caption, Emily Eavis fell in love with the design in 2017 and commissioned Mr Phillips to make one

Mr Phillips says since then, they have become “one of the most sought after pictures opportunities” at the festival, with crowds queueing up to capture his work.

“This year, they’ve asked me to put one by the stone circle, which is massive in terms of the spiritual heart of Glastonbury,” he said.

“To be asked to put one there is really touching.”

The stone circle at Glastonbury is a megalithic monument located at Worthy Farm.

They are viewed culturally as gateways between two realms, where one could cross over into a world of beauty and abundance, gaining wisdom, healing, or inspiration.

Image source, Edgar Phillips

Image caption, Mr Phillips first Glastonbury sculpture in 2017 was titled ‘Wings of the West’

Mr Phillips said his vision for the wings was borne from a “difficult period” of mental health issues, and now symbolises strength, beauty and resilience.

“I like making windows with a bit of contemporary difference,” Mr Phillips said.

“I went through quite a low patch in my life, and one of the inspirations that came from that was this vision of these soaring wings.

“It was like a piece of a stained glass window brought down to earth.”

Measuring 5m (16.4ft) by 2.5m (8.23ft), Mr Phillips said: “They’re huge, I always wanted it to look like you could actually fly in them.”

Image source, Edgar Phillips

Image caption, The wings sculptures have become a festival staple, with people queuing up to get the shot

After struggling with his own mental health, Mr Phillips said he wants his art to become an outlet for others.

“I’m all about free access to art,” he said.

“So after the festivals I install them at Wells Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace, in places where people who wouldn’t necessarily get to see them, can still interact with them.

“I’ve gone from ‘I’ve got to get my art out there’, to ‘now it’s my time to give back to the community which looked after me’.”

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