Thursday, April 1, 2010

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church installation

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Chappell Hill TX

The installation for St. Stanislaus was yesterday and it went well. Installations always make me nervous because so many things can go wrong, not the least of which is me getting measurements wrong (hard to believe, I know, but sometimes it happens). Installations are the moment of truth in my work. Do they fit, do they get put in without incident, do they look good, are they happy?

We had a very good installer for years who did all the work himself or with a helper and Jon was also good at problem solving, coming up with ways to do unique installations. Unfortunately, several years ago he hit a downward spiral in his life which he could not recover from and he succumbed to a heart attack. I have been working with a new company, someone who had installed our work before on rare occasion. Fortunately, Randy agreed to do all our installations. You might not think that would be a hard thing to find, someone to do the installations, but I have been turned down by many people not wanting to take on the responsibility. Randy has a good sized company and so I don't always get the same crew. For St. Stanislaus, he sent two men with whom I was unacquainted which always turns up the stress factor for me, especially since the panels were 50 - 90 lbs each and five of them were in high window openings. On a ladder high window openings using cups (cups are like portable handles that attach to the surface of glass by means of a vacuum). They did the high windows first and it took two or so before I relaxed, confident that they would get the job done without mishap. I try to keep one eye on the installation in progress while appearing not to be watching them closely. No one likes to be under a microscope while they are working. I have to have faith in them so that they will work with confidence.

13 pieces of glass in 12 openings. The moment they set that last panel it was as if someone cut my strings. We have been working basically non-stop since late summer with one deadline after another looming and with a week of teaching in Austin in there too. All the fatigue just sort of settled in and I was glad Marc was driving us back to Houston.

Click to enlarge all the photos


full view of the wall

Angel doors with Confirmation (transom)

Marriage (left) and Baptism (right)

Extreme Unction (last rites) (left) and Ordination (right)

Communion (left) and Reconciliation (confession) (right)

Tree Of Life (left) and Trinity (right)

Cry room


  1. Beautiful, Ellen. I know you are so pleased & relieved that all is done to perfection. Hope you have a wonderful rest.

  2. I have seen the beauty inside Ellen's Head. There are no words for the artistry and talent involved in doing this.

    Relax and have earned it.

  3. The Parish must be so happy to have these installed in time for Easter weekend. Your artwork is so beautiful, Ellen. And so very rich in meaning to many people. I'm wondering, once the panels are all installed and you see the full effect, what effect the work has on you, as the artist.

  4. Freaking awesome ellen. So spectacular - I think I would enjoy church more if I had them to gaze upon. :D

    Kudos to you both and the installer people [whew]

  5. Stunning, Ellen, just stunning! Your work will be much loved for generations. Happy Easter!

  6. Stunning doesn't even cover your work. I am sure the congregation of this church will be so blessed by the care, skill and intention behind this creative endeavor. Wow, I have goose flesh looking back over the individual panels. (((hugs))) until next time

  7. Absolutely fabulous work!! Glass installation isn't as easy as it looks.

  8. Hi Ellen

    this is a wonderful achievement, the angel doors are so you can relax a little and rest in the knowledge that the congregation will especially enjoy their Easter...

    Happy days

  9. Oh my GOODNESS, Ellen, WOW! They are exquisite. Just gorgeously done. I am blown away, truly.

  10. Holy buckets! I couldn't have picked a better day for blogland re-entry! What an accomplishment, Ellen! It's been so long since I've been to church, I had no clue cry rooms still existed. I'm quite taken with the curved window. Amazing the depth you were able to capture. Did I ever till you Chappell Hill was part of my beat when I worked for the Houston Chronicle. Do they still do the scarecrow festival? So lovely to see your blog again. I've missed it while I've been cleaning puppy puddles!

  11. Breathtaking! Thanks for posting the pictures.

  12. Wowzers!! They turned out so beautifully. Wonderful work! They really add to the space.
    I know what you mean about the fatigue taking over. Once a project is brain goes on auto pilot and I feel like I am moving through molasses!! All one can do is rest at that point. Take lots of naps and bubble baths. You need to re-charge.
    Hugs and Happy Easter

  13. Wow, this is exquisite work! Beautiful!!

    Hey ... mighty is actually not one of my favorite words, except as an adjective to describe you. That phrase, small but mighty ?? You are the absolute embodiment of that.


  14. Thanks everybody for your wonderful praise.

    Joanne - Mostly the effect I get from seeing the work in place is relief. When it is a large installation with many pieces I enjoy seeing them all together, I feel satisfied that it all worked the way I saw it in my head because in the shop I am seeing only individual panels. I try not to get too emotionally involved in the work so I don't ever 'miss' a piece. for me the power is in the making. The joy is in the reaction of the recipients. although once in a while I do impress myself.

    Willow - this is actually something that I do think about, that some of my work will outlive me, maybe even for hundreds of years. I fantasize having it rediscovered thousands of years later by archeologists. But I don't sign my work, not the architectural stuff. I made that decision when I first started. I didn't like the look of big signatures on architectural work and small ones would never be seen. I don't feel the need to have my name known and attached to the work after I die. It's enough for me that the beauty I created will remain.

    Kathleen - yup. They still have it.

  15. They are so beautiful. It must be hard to see them go after so much hard work. I hope you get a bit of quality down time now. Enjoy your weekend.

  16. Absolutely beautiful, Ellen! What a wonderful addition to this church. Congratulations on a job very well done!

  17. Absolutely beautiful work. The church looks lovely. Happy Easter

  18. It must be tremendously rewarding to earn a living doing something you love! You have honed your talent well.

  19. I like the first picture best, after viewing them all up close I went back to look at that one, to see how they all fit as a whole. I am amazed by your talent!

  20. OOps, meant to add, Bravo on a job very well done.


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