Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Shards of color

Some of the most unusual stained glass designs I've seen were at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Illinois. I spent a couple of days in Springfield between visiting my kids and my sibs so I could tour Lincoln's tomb, to go to the well-done Lincoln museum and the presidential Library, and found I had some extra time to check out the cathedral. I know the windows are good when I walk in and the first thing I think is, "Wow!" See if you agree.

The simple exterior of the church belies what shines inside.

One thing I love about stained glass in churches is their uniqueness. Unless (usually) small churches buy identical windows off the rack, so to speak, I've never seen the same windows from one church to another.

What makes these so wonderful is how they seem made of shards of glass. The angular shape of the pieces is so different from traditional shapes.

The pastel colors are also unusual. There are no pure jewel tones here.


A contemporary design like the one below is truly unusual. The National Cathedral in Washington, DC has a window that reminds me of this.

One of my favorite tricks, to get the reflection in a gleaming floor.

Stations of the Cross are also unique from church to church. I've never seen a set repeated elsewhere. This photo doesn't do justice to the gleam on the gold.

Not a Station but another, different style of mosaic. The pieces are much smaller.

Another mosaic.

I've photographed lots of churches over the years and looking up the aisle is one of my favorite shots. This church isn't as spectacular as some from this perspective, but the windows make up for it.

This place was a real treat to discover. I'm always grateful to those parishes and congregations that keep their buildings open.


Thought of the day:

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. (Oscar Wilde)