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  • Where do you find inspiration?

     Inspiration is an interesting phenomenon.

    Do you get inspired by people you meet and then want to emulate them?

    Have you ever watched a film or heard a lecture and were so inspired you immediately began to learn more about the topic, or started volunteering for a cause because of it?

    Or, perhaps you heard an inspiring homily or reading at church? Did it lead you closer to the Lord or a deep theological conversation with your pastor or another parishioner?

    For me, inspiration almost always revolves around art. I love to attend galleries, museums and art festivals to see what people are creating, and I always hope to come away with an urge to create something myself. I had an art instructor once call this process “filling the well” and that is an apt description of finding things that make you happy and indulging in time spent focusing on that to improve your well-being or state of mind.

    One example of an art medium that I find very inspirational is stained glass, especially glass windows found in places of worship.

    I always have been intrigued by the process of how a stained glass window is made — I even got to take a class earlier this year, which was a “bucket list” goal and loved it — and the intricate work that goes into the designs, especially those in churches hundreds of years old. 

    During a recent trip to Green Bay, Wis., for a work conference, I joined a scheduled trip to The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. The building is not huge, and I wasn’t sure what to expect walking in to this unassuming structure surrounded by farms nearly 20 miles from town.

    I wasn’t expecting to be mesmerized by the beautiful stained glass windows designed by Francis Deck in 1968. I stared at the one closest to me throughout Mass and afterward took a photo of each window panel for reference later. The theme of the windows depicts the Magnificat, with each panel divided to have a particular line of the Canticle of Mary from Luke 1:46-55 as the subject.

    I love the colors, the use of geometric shapes that give it an oddly modern feel in an otherwise traditional church, the various textures of glass and the placement of words intermingling with the images — something you don’t often see in this art form.

    I knew I had to do something to pay homage to these windows and started sketching a design almost immediately. My apartment has east-facing windows that get a lot of light, so using glass was the obvious route. The piece of art I created is a “faux stained glass” window panel (using a glass shelf and a product called Gallery Glass, which is non-toxic and much easier to work with than traditional stained glass materials and equipment) to hang in my home art studio.

    To complete my inspirational addition to my creative space I included the quote, “In the mind of every artist, there is a masterpiece” by body builder Kai Greene. 

    Who or what has inspired you recently?

    Rausch can be reached at srausch@catholicherald.com.

    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2018