stained glass window offers
glimpse into a culture
by Studio Sattler.
Window into a culture -
West LaHave studio constructs window designs by Inuit artist.
By Beverly Ware
South Shore Bureau
West LaHave- Sunlight reflects off the choppy LaHave River, illuminating
before it the most magnificent shades of blue, bringing the stained
glass window to life.
"That's exquisite" whispers Rev. Robert Lennox.
This is the first time he has seen the window, completed just a couple
of hours earlier, now shining in all its glory under the south shore
sun. He will see it safely moved to its new home at a private college
in Ontario. Canadas first Inuit stained glass window was made at Sattlers
Stained Glass Studio in West LaHave. It was designed by internationally
renowned artist Kenojuak Ashewak.
Ms. Ashewak is Canadas best known Inuit artist and, Mr. Lennox believes
Canadas best artist.
But she had never worked in stained glass when he asked her to create
a window for John Bell Chapel, at Appleby College in Oakville, Ont.
Where he is chaplain.
"The chapel is a gallery of stained glass art" Mr. Lennox said. It
includes the work of Torontos artist Peter Haworth from the 1930s and
works by contemporary artists, including Rosemary Kilbourn, Gerry Tooke
and Yvonne Williams.
The chapel holds over 400 students and, because of its collegiate Gothic
design, they look across at each other. Mr.Lennox said that sometimes
means the kids can get bored, so he wants windows that create interest,
knowledge and an appreciation for art and nature.
" We were looking for somebody unique to do our last window," ha said.
" This is the 75th anniversary of the chapel, so its pretty special.
Toronto stained glass artist Sue Obata ( Website
)has designed four windows for the chapel, so he called on her expertise.
She has worked before with master craftsman Norbert Sattler, Who is
known for translating artists work into stained glass. She said they
have worked well together for four years.
The two went to Ms. Ashevaks studio in Cape Dorset to help turn her
artwork into a piece that could be translated into a stained glass window.
"I felt like she trusted us, Ms. Obata said.
she said their work was made so much easier by Ms. Ashewaks artistic
instincts. " By and large her artwork is very linear and well suited
to stained glass," said Ms. Obata , and the Inuit artist was amenable
to any suggestions from her and Mr. Sattler.
A Companion of the Order of Canada who holds honorary degrees from
both Queens and the University of Toronto, Ms Ashevak is a recipient
of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Aboriginal
Ms. Ashevak attends the Anglican church in Cape Dorset and went to
the school last April. She went to couple of services, saw the children
worshipping, listened to the choir, toured the school and gave the grade
7 art class a demonstration.
" She really had a sense of us," Mr. Lennox said." She is incredibly
intelligent and sensitive.
Ms. Obata said as she worked with Ms. Ashevak, she found her gracious
and attentive. " It is a real honour to find such a warm and lovely
person." Ms. Obata said she worked with the two basic symbols of an
owl and a fish.
" She is amazing. She just knows what she wants to do when she sees
the space. You just give her the space to fill with two central images
, and she fills it."
Ms. Ashevak wanted to use the symbol of the fish because it is so important
to the Inuit culture as well as being symbolic of the Christian church.
And the chaplain said he is touched by her use of the owl." We are
thrilled at the school because the owl is a symbol of wisdom and that,
of course, is something we are trying to instill in the students," Mr.
Mr. Sattler is taking the window to the college himself to ensure all
goes well. It will be dedicated by the Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk of
the Artic at the end of September.