When the old windows needed to be replaced at Blackburns' Chapel United Methodist Church in Todd, NC, I designed 11 new stained glass windows for the foyer and sanctuary. The congregation and a church committee were engaged in the process which occurred over two years (2014-2015). I worked closely with the artisans who made the windows and provided construction and installation oversight. The windows are offered as a pilgrimage of light paralleling the seasons of life and Christ, physically and metaphorically unifying a small rural church with its gardening mission and magnificent natural surroundings. The flowers represented in the windows are all native, some found only in the Appalachian mountains of northwest North Carolina. They are hand-crafted by Statesville Stained Glass Company, a family-owned company operating for over 40 years in Statesville, NC.
Birth/Star: Wild Clematis or Leather Flower, suggests the Star of the Bethlehem.
Corolla: Common goldenrod with ring of light represents the long common period of life.
DEATH: The ravens observe death and transcendency, beauty of the plant skeletons, period of dormancy, seeds, a new light dawns.
Spring/Trinity: Trillium, bloodroot, witchhazel, coltsfoot, trout lily, dwarf iris.
The Balm with the Crown: Bee balm/horse mint/bergamot represents healing.
Healing Harvest: Blue gentian - during the Middle Ages, Gentian was commonly employed as an antidote to poison.
Flame Azalea: This native has a brilliant flame of a bloom in early spring.
Joe and the Virgin: Joe Pye Weed and Virgin’s Bower cascade in a embrace gloriously in the autumn.
Ascension: Jack-in-the-pulpit is the end of the journey, the spirit rises, the Methodist flame.
The Atrium: Above the door a native Fraser Magnolia bloom welcomes all to Blackburns' Chapel United Methodist Church. Birth is on the left, the beginning of the window pilgrimage and the Jack-in-the-Pulpit on the right represents the end of the journey, the resurrection, the release of soul from the physical realm.
Left side of Sanctuary (partial view): Flowers of autumn.
Light and shadows bounce off the walls, floors and seating, changing constantly with the time of day and weather.