This project was rewarding for me on several levels. One, simply the pleasure of working on such a beautiful project and an opportunity to be a part of such a nice student chapel. Secondly, the making of these windows involved the help of the sixth through eighth grade students in the designing and color selection as well as being able to introduce so many students the art of creating stained glass.
Each window measures two feet by four feet and set above larger picture windows located in the prayer chapel of St. Francis of the Lakes School. I invited the three grade levels to my studio and gave a class on how to design stained glass windows, a brief rundown on the construction of these windows and various elements to consider when planning a project like this. They in turn returned to their class and each student drew their version of what they would like to see in these windows. They returned to my studio and we critiqued each design, eliminating what didn’t work and discussing the strong elements of what did work. They in turn went back to the classroom and combined these ideas into the two designs that are “basically” what I used for the final design. When I was done adapting these designs into the final drawing, the class came back and helped with color selection. This was truly a group project by the students of this school for their own chapel that they will now have ownership of. These windows are theirs and was a learning experience for all of us.
The one window has a central cross in brilliant colors with a Crucifix hanging on it (once used by the people these windows are in memory of) and surrounded by rainbow colors symbolic of God keeping His promises. To the left is a descending dove with a scroll symbolic of the Holy Spirit bringing us His Word, and on the other side is the challis and wafer surrounded by grape vines. The outer border is all in bright rainbow colors.
The second window has the Holy Eucharist with rays of love emanating from it and is also bordered with a rainbow of color. To the left is the Immaculate Heart of Mary with flames of love coming up from it and banded with seven pink rose buds. On the right is the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the same flames of love coming up from the center and is banded with a three dimensional copper sculpture crown of thorns depicting His death for our sins. I hope these windows are cherished for years to come and remembered by these students as their own project.