|Stained glass church windows are
In late June of 2008, I was contacted by Associate Pastor
Pepe Rojas after he surfed this web site. He was looking
for stained glass artists to bid on a large number of stained
glass windows for a proposed refurbishing of an historical building in
Denver, Colorado. The building had been an old and venerated synagogue
in Denver from it's dedication in 1897 until about 1960 when it was
vacated by the Beth Hamegdash Hagodol congregation, which had built a
new facility in a different part of Denver. I was excited to bid on
this project because I could remember having been in the synagogue as a
child. One of my most salient memories of that building was it's
amazing collection of traditional stained glass windows, which I had
seen long before I ever had any conncetion to stained glass.
original stained glass had been removed and remounted at
the synagogue's new location. The new building could not
accommodate the original windows exactly as they had been in the old
location, but the fact that they were large artworks made up of many
small rectangles made it possible to adjust the designs, excluding some
areas of the design and putting the rest back together in a way that
made them seem like whole artworks. Also available was a set of photos
taken of the original windows.
In the end, it was decided by the pastors of the new church, Church in
the City, that I would share this commission with another stained glass
studio in Denver. I wound up doing six of the fifteen windows (all by
myself) and the
other studio (of 8 people) did the other nine windows. By using
the original photos in combination with visits to the new synagogue to
view the actual (albeit revamped) stained glass, we were able to
achieve the wishes of the church pastors, that is, to create new
versions of the original designs.
above is my rendition of one of the tall windows in the main sanctuary.
Although the original windows relied heavily on paints fired onto the
glasses to achieve many of the details, I tried to recreate those
original designs with different colored pieces of glass instead,
relying on black paint (kiln fired to make them permanent) for the
All of the windows shown below are mounted
in the hallway just outside the main sanctuary.
||This window depicts a Sukkah, a
makeshift hut or booth topped with
branches constructed for use during the week-long Jewish holiday of
Sukkot. The sukkah itself symbolises the frailty and transience of life. In
Judaism, a sukkah reminds its dwellers that true security comes from
faith in God, rather than from money or possessions. The sukkah
depicted in this stained glass serves as a temporary dwelling for Jews
in a more nomadic period of Jewish history.
window on the right depicts two Old Testament passages, which
are written on the banner at the bottom of this stained glass window.
The first one is, "And he shall be like a tree planted by streams of
water." (Psalm 1:3) The second one is,"And a man shall be as a hiding
place from the
wind, and a covert from the tempest; as by the water courses in a dry
place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." (Isaiah 32:2)
All of the painting and firing of the lettering was done by volunteer
members of the congregation. Although they were totally new at this,
they met with glass artisans who have a great deal of knowledge about
firing paint on glass and, in the end, they did a splendid job.
|The stained glass window
to the left includes a Torah scroll at the bottom with the following
words, "The Torah is not in heaven; neither is it beyond the sea; but
the Word is very nigh unto thee in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that
thou mayest do it." (Deuteronomy 30:12:14)
glass design in the window to the right depicts the words written in
the Torah scroll banner at the bottom, "Choose ye the Sword - and it is
a symbol of war and death - a world of Chaos. Choose ye the Book - and
life abundant and blessed will be yours."
This window is obscurred at the top by a staircase leading up to the
balcony level of the main sanctuary, hiding the top of the artwork when
viewed straight on.
The upper portion of the stained
glass can be seen in the detail photo below.
photo shows the top of the window, which is hidden behind the staircase
in the photo above.
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