Sunday, 5 June 2016

The University Chapel Project - June 2016 update

Last Wednesday most of the Chapel Stitchers attended a 'meeting' with a difference; the dedication service for the new chapel window and textiles.

Christine had brought the almost completed altar frontal along to our last meeting on 20 May. She had painted and embroidered gold rays around the cross, which really made it stand out from the background.

The embroidery complete

Close-up of the cross

We took the frontal down to the chapel, and I think that we were all a little stunned by just how good it looked. It almost seemed to glow amid the wood and the tiles.

In the chapel

This picture shows how Christine had attached all of the hands with close zigzag stitching, and machine embroidered over the infill pieces which we had added at a previous meeting.

Close-up of the hands

The two hours seemed to go very quickly, so Christine and I stayed behind to finish sewing the frontal together and add weighted strips to make it hang better. Christine had brought her sewing machine along with her, and Kath kindly kept us supplied with regular cups of tea!

Christine hard at work

Back at home, I sewed together the pieces of the green pulpit and lectern falls (and then pressed them obsessively until I was sure that they really couldn't get any smoother).

The frontal and one of the falls

As part of the dedication service, Kath gave a presentation about the textiles project. She and Fiona had put together a display of work in progress in the Senior Common Room. Fiona had also created a short handout on the project.

The work in progress display

This was also a chance for all of us to see the progress on the kneelers.

The dove now has its olive branch

The university had produced a leaflet on the Alumni Window for the dedication service, and the information which follows is taken from this.

The Alumni Window

The three small panels at the top represent three of the six founders of the college; Bishop Sumner (the star), the 14th Earl of Derby (the stag), and William Ewart Gladstone (the martlet).

The main panels represent life in 1839 and 2014, both at the College/University and in the country as a whole. The mountain is Mount Snowdon in Wales, and the rose is the University of Chester rose. Other images include the university's coat of arms, the original college building, and the blackboard for both learning and the college's roots as a teacher training establishment. Below the blackboard, the tools represent the early students who built their own chapel; the story which in part inspired us to use the hands motif on the frontal.

Now that the frontal is complete, work continues on the communion sets and the kneelers. The next meeting is on Friday 8 July at noon, in the usual room.

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