Completed: Holy Trinity Mausoleum
Below is an excerpt from an article that was written by Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansas. This article was focused on the artwork that was installed in their new mausoleum at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Topeka, KS - Holy Trinity Mausoleum. Please enjoy the deeper dive into the process that was taken to create the stained glass art and some samples of the pictures along the way!
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In the time-honored tradition of using art to enhance the beauty of cathedrals and churches, Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansa works with modern-day artists to make its mausoleums sacred spaces. The new Holy Trinity Mausoleum, at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Topeka Kan., gives testimony to this approach.
Dedicated in January, the mausoleum and its chapel feature brilliant stained glass, a majestic crucifix with bronze-like corpus, and a dramatic mosaic of the crucifixion. The artist's intent is to foster a contemplative, comforting and uplifting environment for individuals who visit loved ones entombed in the new mausoleum.
Over the past several years, Robert W. Chenoweth, executive director of Catholic Cemeteries, met owners of the three studios whos art adorns Holy Trinity Mausoleum while attending annual conventions of the Catholic Cemetery Conference. Two of the three whose works are in the new mausoleum had contacted with Chenoweth for previous projects.
The Light of the World stained glass that fills the west window of holy trinity mausoleum situates the radiant figure of christ in a field of wheat and sunflowers with a smaller-scale representation of Topeka's capitol in the background. Paul Pickel, president of Conrad Pickel Studio invites people to relate even more to the imagery with christ standing in a setting they recognize.
Opposite the Light of the World stained glass is another large window with art depicting Christ in the Heavenly Jerusalem. When natural light reflects through the stained glass, it casts beams of color onto the marble walls of the adjoining mausoleum crypts. Lyn Durham, Pickel Studio designer, designed the large windows and the stained glass in the chapel above the exterior door and surrounding the upper part of the ceiling.
From start to finish, the creation of the stained glass was a collaborative effort. Pickel Studio staff studied the location and space planned for the mausoleum. They considered the name - in this case, Holy trinity Mausoleum. They developed ideas with Chenoweth, added color to their concepts and worked up rough designs for review by Catholic Cemeteries.
Once the client approved the one-inch scale color sketches of the stained glass, Pickel Studio proceeded with the project. The designer made a full scale black and white drawing of the art including the lines where the lead would be inserted. From this drawing, the artisans made a pattern for each piece of stained glass art.
Pickel notes that the process to create the stained glass is virtually the same employed in the middle ages. The glass by Pickel Studio is mouth-blown antique glass - "antique" meaning that it is made with techniques that are centuries old. The studio imports the colored glass from Germany, France, and Poland.
Pickel says the real test comes at the time of installation. In the studio, artisans worked on sections of each window. Pickel installers transported the sections upright in a truck and made the trip from the studio in Vero Beach, Fla., to Topkea, where they pieced the stained glass into place.
In addition to the unique localization of the art, the large windows have the distinction of the adjacent tall, narrow panels of Scripture. For this creative element, Pickel Studio shipped the glass to England where Steve Cowan, craftsman, designed and painted the lettering.
"As persons enter the mausoleum, we hope they experience comfort from the religious themes that surround them." Pickel concluded.