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Posts Tagged ‘design’

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There is no vessel in which I will not try to plant seeds. Or a seedling. Maybe a bulb. As a reminder that spring is coming, and to give myself a bit of peace of mind, I’ve decided to do some planting this weekend. I’ve yet to decide what this mug will hold. If it stays in the kitchen, it has to hold something edible. We’ll see … I may sip tea from it as I decide its fate.

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The design of the mug was inspired by John La Farge and his decoration of Trinity Church in Boston. The geometric pattern is an adaptation of stained glass found on one of the interior doors. The sun was shining bright the day of the photo. The final pattern was translated onto a mug, magnet, and bookmark that can be purchased at the shop at Trinity Church. You can learn more about La Farge and his decoration on one of the superb guided tours. More information available here: http://trinitychurchboston.org/visit/tours

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Detail from the stained glass window Purity by John La Farge

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When walking toward St. Paul Church, the exterior conveys a sense of simplicity as well as sturdiness, which makes sense given that the building’s design is romanesque in style. Its red brick facade blends into the surrounding historic landscape of Cambridge, MA. As it is an active Catholic church, I knew I had a short window of time to take photos before the midday mass. I felt like I had prepared myself to be focused in my photography by reading the in-depth online building tour found on the church website. Still, reading the words can never really prepare one for the actual firsthand experience of stepping into a sacred space.

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As noted on the website, “An oblong hall is divided by matching rows of columns, surmounted by a barrel-vaulted ceiling and rounded arches. Since the weight is supported by the walls, the windows are small. St. Paul’s, designed by architect Edward Graham, is modeled after the Church of San Zeno Maggiore in Verona, Italy.

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I was ready to deal with “small windows.” I was caught off guard by the beauty of the encompassing friezes and statues.

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Eventually my attention did return to the windows, of course. There are three stained glass windows near the choir stalls including John the Baptist, St. Elizabeth (his mother) and St. John the Evangelist.

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John the Baptist

 

The windows are narrow but their content looms large like these windows tucked in an alcove.

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There are 10 windows in the lower part of the nave patterned after Renaissance images of the saints …

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St. Jerome

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… and windows up high. Way up high.

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These upper story windows were hardest to see but they glowed in the late morning light.

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The church is an unexpected riot of color softened by the surrounding wood and marble. I’ve passed by the church for many years without ever stepping inside. I’m grateful to the staff for allowing me entry to photograph this very special place. You can read more about the interior of this historic building and find links for more information about its parish activities here: http://stpaulparish.org/building-tour/ 

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transfigurationdetail

Three years ago on this blog, I wrote about Henry Holiday’s depiction of the Transfiguration in the stained glass window located at Trinity Church in the City of Boston. At the time I was particularly interested in the position of the hands in his window though my research revealed to me that he was especially noted for his execution of drapery.

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With a new lens and new perspective I’ve been revisiting the window, and I begin to understand what I read about his work with cloth in glass.

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These images are from the top of the window. What’s amazing to me is that much of this detail you cannot see with the naked eye.

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And yet the whole of what you see from the ground is quite stunning.

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Read an earlier post here: https://wordsandimagesbycynthia.com/2013/10/07/holidays-tranfiguration/

View the window for yourself at Trinity Church: http://trinitychurchboston.org/art-and-architecture

 

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Playing around with textiles. We’ll see what the new year holds. 🙂

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one of two stained glass windows by daniel maher stained glass

one of the two windows depicting, “pentacost,” by daniel maher stained glass

These windows at St. James’s Episcopal Church by local artisans Daniel Maher and Lyn Lovey express a creativity and diversity that is very modern. It is almost startling to look up and see them in the clerestory after viewing older works by Tiffany, Clayton & Bell, Goodhue and others in other parts of the  building. In part that’s because of my own ignorance around stained glass making today and how churches continue to commission their design and installation. Working with glass remains a popular and contemporary art. And in places like St. James, the past and present harmonize quite nicely.

one of a pair of windows designed by lyn hovey stained glass

I’ve lived in Boston for almost twenty years and I can’t even imagine how many times I’ve walked along Massachusetts Ave past this church. When I’ve been tired I’ve stepped into its adjacent garden and sat on the church steps. I’ve always wondered, what was behind the red stone? I’m grateful to the rector, sexton and other staff for allowing me to appease my curiosity and glimpse the beauty inside. Until you can make your visit, below are a few images for you to enjoy. And there’s also a link to a very interesting overview of the windows available online.

Detail from chancel windows …

Detail from one of the choir angel windows …

Detail from the Resurrection window…

Detail from David with Harp …

Detail from Dorcas window …

Detail from Saint Dorothea window …

Detail from the Greenleaf window …

Detail from the Nativity window …

 

Additional Reading and Links

St. James’s Episcopal Church

Overview of St. James Stained Glass Windows

Daniel Maher Stained Glass

Lyn Hovey Stained Glass

 

 

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My mother kept a bucket of chickens next to the back porch.  It was a big white bucket like an old stew pot.  Hens and chicks was what she called the little spiky plants growing in there. No matter how hot the summers, no matter how many other flowers and vegetables died in the baking Virginia sun, those plants survived to flourish the following year. They were easy to transplant. I remember picking up the little ones … they just popped right up out of the soil … and tossing them into another little cup of dirt. My mom told me to stop doing that because she’d specifically positioned her pot of chickens. Their singular location, next to the porch, was part of her garden design.

photo by cynthia staples

Now my mom and I did not formally speak of things like garden design and water-saving plants like her cacti. My dad did not discuss these things either though I remember he kept a barrel to collect rainwater and that he rotated crops in our little vegetable garden. He didn’t really explain the why of his actions. It was just what you did if you understood the system of which you were a part.

photo by cynthia staples

That’s what stands out for me in books like The Water-Saving Garden by Pam Penick.  Penick invites readers who are interested in gardening to deepen their understanding of how their world works.  My parents grew up in a time and place and were of a generation that knew the sources of their water and understood that those sources were not guaranteed. For all sorts of reasons that knowledge was lost as human ingenuity and engineering made water readily available in many places and seemingly endless.  Today, people are aware that engineering is not enough. We are a part of a complicated system. Water is not endlessly available for our needs. But what if you really want a garden?

It almost seems selfish but I have to admit I’m one of those people. If at all possible, for my peace of mind, I like to see something green growing around me and know I had something to do with it. And despite my fond memories of my mother’s chickens, I don’t necessarily want to grow them. What are my other choices in a water-saving garden?

photo by cynthia staples

photo by cynthia staples

Pennick’s book stretches one’s imagination about what form that garden can take. She reminds and encourages people to take the time to understand the landscape and climate particular to their region. Humor is sprinkled throughout the book (e.g. “Think of your plants as astronaut-explorers, boldly going where no plant has gone before.”) as well as lovely and informative pictures.

The Water-Saving Garden is content rich and makes a nice addition to the reference shelf. Every idea can’t be tried all at once. It’s a resource I can imagine filling the margins with notes of lessons learned as I try to garden more wisely while still having fun.

You can learn more about this book via the following links. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.

Additional Links

About Pam Penick: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/152546/pam-penick/

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/246914/the-water-saving-garden-by-pam-penick/

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