Phoenix fun and legit stained-glass

What’s better than stained glass? Stained glass WITH GOLD ON TOP.

Last week I traveled down to Phoenix for the first time to attend the Conference for Catholic Facility Management, where my company was an exhibitor.

We were blessed with incredible weather, though I was sad not to experience the legendary Arizona heat during my first visit to the Southwest. After the conference I stayed to visit some friends in the area. The highlight of the trip was climbing Camelback Mountain (elevation: 2,707 feet). Blessedly, we saw no snakes or scorpions during the entire trip.

View from Camelback Mountain.JPG
The view from the summit of Phoenix’s Camelback Mountain

If you are ever in Chandler, Arizona, check out The Perch. It’s a really great pub/microbrewery that is also a shelter for tropical rescue birds. You can drink a delicious beer next to a cage full of parrots and macaws. How cool is that?

Another of the exhibitors at the CCFM conference was a stained-glass window company whose technique was so unique and interesting that I wanted to share it with you.

The technique is called sculptured gold, and it involves the application of 24 karat gold leaf to one side of a stained glass window. When lit, the glass colors are visible through the gold. The results are spectacular, I think. You can read more about this process here on Wikipedia.

Click of the photos below to see albums of each on Flickr. It so happens that all of these examples come from Protestant churches, but this company does work for Catholic churches, too.

Again, look overhead
How air is azurèd;
O how! nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps 
Yet such a sapphire-shot, Round the four fingergaps.

Art and Liturgy - Willet Hauser Sculptured Gold Stained Glass Window - Myers Park Presbyterian Church North Carolina
Myers Park (NC) Presbyterian Church

Charged, steepèd sky will not
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.

Art and Liturgy - Willet Hauser Sculptured Gold Stained Glass Window - Christ Church Cathedral New Orleans Lousiana
Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans, LA

Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.

Art and Liturgy - Willet Hauser Sculptured Gold Stained Glass Window - Mountain Brook Baptist Birmingham Alabama
Mountain Brook Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL

Whereas did air not make 
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball

With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.

Art and Liturgy - Willet Hauser Sculptured Gold Stained Glass Window - Second Presbyterian Louisville Kentucky
Second Presbyterian Church, Louisville, KY

The Blessed Virgin Compared to the Air we Breathe (excerpt)
Rev. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., 1918