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Let there be light with Abinger Stained Glass – Surrey Creations

PUBLISHED: 18:25 01 February 2017 | UPDATED: 18:25 01 February 2017

Amanda creating her next stained glass masterpiece (detail)

Amanda creating her next stained glass masterpiece (detail)

Philip Traill

From Westminster Abbey and St James’s Palace to the Tower of London, Amanda Winfield, aka Abinger Stained Glass, has worked on some of the most prestigious and historically important windows in the country. However, she is just as happy tackling modern commissions too

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2017

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With her business billed as ‘the home of stained glass in the Surrey Hills’, Amanda Winfield has become the go-to lady for lovers of the art over the 30 years or so she has been practising.

“My workshop has beautiful views over the valley at Abinger Hammer and this supplies endless inspiration for my work,” she says.

This peace and rural tranquillity comes in stark contrast to her first job. Having trained at Chelsea School of Art, she was taken on by Tom McPhillips, a world-renowned stage designer in the mid-1980s, working on backdrops and sets for bands such as Culture Club and Judas Priest.

In fact, her music taste is well worth asking about, if you happen to be visiting her studio or taking part in one of her courses!

Then, in 1986, she joined the team at Goddard and Gibbs Studios, which was based in the East End of London, where she was the only female in a workshop full of traditional craftsmen when she first joined. This also led on to some incredible opportunities – such as working on the windows of Westminster Abbey.

“My initials are painted in a large heraldic stained glass window in the Henry VII Chapel for my part in project-managing and making these windows,” says Amanda. “The last window I project-managed was the beautiful stained glass window for the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, celebrating the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.”

Following her highly successful career in London, she decided to focus on her young family and leave behind the commute.

Out of this was born Abinger Stained Glass, and she continues to work on new designs and restoration projects, as well as hosting her popular courses.

Some Surrey Life readers may also remember back to 2009 and 2010, when Kirstie Allsopp filmed with Amanda for her series, Kirstie’s Homemade Home.

“More recent highlights have included a series of small leaded panels for the Tower of London; some restoration work on heraldic windows at Undershaw, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home in Hindhead; and two six-metre-long windows for either side of the altar in St Michael’s Church in Ashtead,” she adds.

Amongst all this, Amanda was also one of the founding members of Surrey Hills Enterprises, an organisation dedicated to raising the profile of the Surrey Hills AONB and the businesses within this beautiful area of our county.

• For more on Abinger Stained Glass and its courses, see abinger-stained-glass.co.uk

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The low-down

Surrey Creations is a series by local photographer, Philip Traill, exploring people in their work environment, capturing the characters and what they do in a single image. To contact Philip, send an e-mail to him at: philip@traillphotography.com

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