In 2023, our journey began when we were commissioned by the historic Battle Creek Tabernacle to undertake a remarkable task – the creation of a monumental stained glass window that would grace their sacred space. This 162-square-foot masterpiece would not only pay tribute to their deep-rooted history but also illuminate their path forward.
Melding History and Artistry
The Battle Creek Tabernacle, steeped in a rich legacy spanning 150 years, has been a symbol of faith and resilience. Located at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek rivers, this institution has weathered the test of time, rising from the ashes of two devastating fires. Its present abode, a historic landmark built in 1926, serves as a sanctuary for the community.
A Tradition of Stained Glass
The addition of stained glass to the Tabernacle in 1942 marked a significant chapter in its history. Embracing this tradition, the Tabernacle embarked on a new journey in 2023, commissioning a stained glass window that would not only adorn their space but also celebrate their faith. Yet, this task was not without its challenges.
The window’s sheer scale was imposing. Spanning approximately 15 feet in height and 14 feet in width, it was a colossal endeavor weighing around 1,000 pounds. The sheer structural challenge of safely mounting this colossal stained glass window, situated at a height of about 40 feet, was no small feat. To distribute this substantial weight evenly, we divided the window into ten individually framed panels, allowing for a more manageable installation process.
To securely hold the window, a custom-made metal frame was meticulously crafted, harmonizing with the existing stained glass windows. Additionally, steel plates were discreetly integrated on the exterior, offering robust support to the metal frame and ensuring the window’s stability and longevity for years to come.
Backlit Stained Glass
With a commitment to preserving the structural integrity of the century-old wall, our team devised a creative solution. Instead of altering the historical wall, the stained glass would be installed on the interior, beautifully illuminated by a backlit lighting system, mimicking the natural play of sunlight through glass.
A Symphony of Craftsmanship
Crafting this masterpiece demanded nothing short of absolute dedication. To honor the church’s vision, we chose the composition “The Rescue” by the renowned artist Nathan Greene, faithfully translating the vibrant colors and nuanced imagery of the original painting into stained glass. This transition from watercolor on canvas to glass required careful consideration of how light would interact with each hue, ensuring a faithful representation of the artist’s intent.
Before the stained glass could be mounted, we introduced an innovative backlit lighting system. Comprising ten low-voltage LED panels, we meticulously wired and engineered this solution for even and elegant illumination, all while preserving the aesthetics of the church’s interior.
Hidden Wires, Radiant Art
In the quest for a flawless appearance, we ensured that no wiring would be visible inside the church. Collaborating with an onsite electrician, we devised a concealed wiring system that maintained the pristine interior. A conduit was used to route the wiring discreetly, allowing for an unblemished aesthetic.
The Grand Installation
Finally, with all preparations complete, it was time for the grand installation. Our team took great care, delicately installing each panel into the custom metal frame. With a meticulous eye, we ensured each piece was perfectly placed, meticulously aligning to complete the magnificent window.
A Shining Legacy
Upon the stained glass installation, the transformation of the Battle Creek Tabernacle was realized. A once plain wall was now an awe-inspiring masterpiece. Radiant colors softly glowed as the light revealed the intricate details and breathtaking artistry of the design. The church’s delight with the final outcome is a testament to the shared vision and dedication that brought this magnificent work of art to life. We are profoundly honored to have been entrusted with this extraordinary project, a testament to our shared history and a radiant beacon for generations to come.