OverviewA church in central Illinois recently underwent a large renovation. As part of this project, Heritage designed and created three new stained glass windows and installed them into the church cry room.
During a renovation project, our client’s church added a new cry room and confessional. They reached out to Heritage and asked us to create three stained glass windows and install them into the addition. Each window would contain a single round emblem as a centerpiece, surrounded by layers of decorative glass to create a simple-yet-harmonious design.
The subject matter for the three windows was determined by the client: a dove for the Holy Spirit, a heart surrounded by roses for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a pierced heart wreathed in a crown of thorns for Jesus. These symbols are instantly recognizable in Catholic iconography, which makes them ideal subject matter for this type of glasswork. They convey meaning immediately to the viewer, while still remaining simple and cost effective. The concept can be likened to the other symbolic references that are immediately recognizable, such as an Eagle for the United States or a Maple Leaf for Canada. To paraphrase philosopher Thomas Aquinas, mankind’s intellect associates common elements into categories. This is why a single symbol can convey a deep and complex meaning, because all the elements of that meaning fit into a mental category.
In a glass project, the client then has the opportunity to review the designs and request any changes or additions. The work then begins on constructing the window. Our staff starts by creating a full size template on paper that will be used as a blueprint and layout guide for the glass assembly. Next, glass of the appropriate colors is hand cut and ground into the correct shapes. Once all the pieces are ready, they are attached to one another with lead came. The lead is soldered to hold itself together. It is vital that these solder points are clean and even, otherwise the window would bear hundreds of messy metal blobs where the lead meets.
Custom stops and framing were both assembled in Heritage’s wood shop during the windows’ construction period. These were attached around the glass once the soldering on the lead was complete. Usually, these windows would be installed as soon as the client’s schedule permitted, but there were complications with the weather. Spring 2021 was exceptionally rainy in central Illinois, with snows lasting into April. This weather held up installation and provided only brief windows in which to work. Eventually a suitable day arrived, and Heritage’s staff installed all three windows into the client church’s new addition.
Few things enhance the ambient value of an interior space like sunlight pouring through stained glass. The soft haze of colored light creates a calming and more prayerful space, which is ideal for a house of worship. With their new windows installed, the congregation of the church will be able to experience these benefits in their new addition!
Gallery: Three New Emblem Windows