ted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissions
ted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissions
Life Itself Click thumbnails to view larger

From the moment I entered The Reservation Chapel- in October of 2010, at the invitation of Margo Ritchie and in the company of a handful of The Sisters of St. Joseph- I knew that I would do this work. I don't know where that feeling of certainty came from, because I had no idea what form the work would take. Even better, neither did the sisters. My scanty notes from our first meeting reflect this mutual openess: unity ("that all may be one")…cosmos…blue and green…possibly gold…move from translucency to transparency, left -to -right, or east- to- west along the curve… This last note is in response to the sister's felt need for more privacy or enclosure in the chapel, which suggested to me a graduated movement from containment to release along the horizontal axis of the window-grouping. The architectural space itself formed an important part of our conversation from the beginning, and we continued to meet there over the next few months to discuss the work as it progressed through scaled drawings to a full-scale rendering of the leadline, taped into place over the window-openings. Colour samples were similarly taped-up in the windows and left for several days, with Sister Margo gathering up comments for me at this stage. Early in the new year of 2011 there was a formal presentation to the assembled residents, and once again I was impressed by the open response of the sisters and their ability to articulate the spiritual resonances of the design to one another. The title for this work, "Life Itself", emerged from one of these conversations, and I can't remember if it was me or one of the sisters who uttered that phrase. During the winter I would sit from time to time in the meditative space of the chapel, while the sisters made a couple of visits to the studio to see how stained glass windows are made, each of us exploring the other's space from the inside.

The Reservation Chapel windows presented me with a large-scale opportunity to explore my abiding interest in mitosis. The word is derived from the Greek, "mitos", meaning "thread", and refers to the (asexual) process of cell division in which the nucleus divides into daughter nuclei, each containing the same number of chromosomes as the parent nucleus.

I've been in a prolonged trance since I first witnessed mitosis through an electron microscope: here is patterned beauty, deep mystery, the dance of life itself- and its happening in your very own body as you read these words! At Christ Anglican Church in London, in a series of lancet windows, I'd paired images of the basic stages of mitosis with images of the six days of creation, as recounted in Genesis, and discovered formal parallels in the two sequences. The scale and the continuity of the window openings in The Reservation Chapel allowed the sequence to be embedded within a larger orchestrated movement, which, of course, is exactly what is required to animate this circle-dance.

The Reservation Chapel of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in London Ontario who commissioned "Life Itself" presented me with a large-scale opportunity to explore my abiding interest in mitosis. The word is derived from the Greek, "mitos" meaning "thread" and refers to the (asexual) process of cell division in which the nucleus divides into daughter nuclei, each containing the same number of chromosomes as the parent nucleus. I've been in a prolonged trance since I first witnessed mitosis through an electron microscope: here is patterned beauty, deep mystery, the dance of life itself- and it's happening in your very own body as you read these words! The scale and the continuity of the window openings in The Reservation Chapel allowed the sequence to be embedded within a larger orchestrated movement, which, of course, is exactly what is required to animate this circle-dance.