Finally I gather the courage to announce the news…”I have my first church window!”
And it’s not new news. I’ve been either working on the design or thinking about the design since I was first approached by my neighbouring United Reformed Church almost a year ago. I’ve just said nothing out of fear and awe I guess.
But now it’s real. I have my full size cartoon detailed up. And on Monday I will go to the glass shop to purchase beautiful glass.
Shall I tell you a little about the terrifying journey I’ve been on…
Firstly, this is the largest job I have ever worked on at 3m high and just under 1m wide. Thankfully the gothic pointed timber frame is split into 6 and so each section is manageable for my modest work bench. And maybe that is why, in the early stages, I was quite relaxed by this as a project.
My initial drawing was a quick knee jerk over excited response to the…”We’d like you to make us a window”.. With a complete blank canvas apart from “we’d like it to include a cross and represent a new beginning”.
I worked around the idea of the old name for Kendal, ‘Kirkby Kendal’ which translates as ‘village with a church that sits in the valley of the river Kent’. With my slanting cross (to reflect the 106 Highgate URC logo) nestled amongst my townscape and river and distant Kentmere hills, I thought I’d nailed it.
And I sort of had. Only. Well, you know how things evolve and tweak and twist and gather a momentum all their own … this is what happened with my cross.
It was to become a little bit straighter… a little bit stronger .. a little bit redder… and before I knew it (how did this happen!) I was drawing a big red cross with red fish flowing up it! (Nightmare). I was terrified by it. I started seeing crosses every. Cracks in pavements. Slabs on street… shadows… cloud formations… you get the picture. I was going mad and became completely overwhelmed by my task.
(I almost threw in the towel)
I paused. I talked with friends. I listened to friends. And I went back to my drawing board.
There. In my notebook. Almost the first thing I drew.. the URC logo.
I allowed myself to meander on lead lines. I kept things simple. Geometry again. .. just alter scale and layer. Play around with the shapes and the colours.
And I found my lead lines.
And then I replayed my background with renewed purpose.
So here, where I am now.. I am happy with this new harmony. The cross is not fighting with the landscape but is sitting on it, within it. I am imagining you will gaze upon the cross and see the promised land. In this case… the community of Kendal. When visiting 106 Highhate URC I felt very strong links with the community.
The landscape is kind of real, kind of imagined, comfortable and yet familiar.
The new beginning is represented in the sunrise.
The overlapping cross and fish create a tapestry of pattern and colour almost like a tartan, that reflects the straight gridded leadlines of the old windows. And the tapestry created brings to mind the Kendal motto ‘Cloth is my bread’.