One of the many interesting and not generally known facts about the CWE’s Second Presbyterian Church, 4501 Westminster at Taylor, is that it features a collection of beautiful Tiffany glass windows in the sanctuary (see mention in post here). Additionally, the interior of the Romanesque Revival structure has undergone major renovations over the past 5 years, including removal of the organ’s 50-year-old pipes which were transported to Ohio for cleaning and reinstalled a few months later. See earlier post on that topic here.
Recently, I was invited by long-time friend Nancy Quigley, who is active at Second Presbyterian, to photograph stunning new banners and paraments (defined as “ornamental ecclesiastical hanging or vestment”) that were created by internationally-known fiber artist Marianne Axboe and dedicated April 23.
Axboe, photographed in front of one of her pieces, had promised her friends, former CWEnders Bente & Neil Seitz, that she would create the new banners for their church after the renovation of the sanctuary was completed. Her efforts were made possible by the 2PC Memorial Fund.
Axboe and her husband Carl Nielsen, formerly an anesthesiologist at Barnes Hospital, have since left their home in St. Louis and retired to their native Denmark.
In the artist’s statement regarding her work Axboe remarked that she hadn’t counted on the particular colors of green that were chosen for the walls of the sanctuary, above, saying she found it “on a very difficult place on the green color spectrum.” She decided to “tone down” the selection of the bright green values that she usually works with, and “go with the more muted greens and let them play against rich golden colors…”
She continued: “The cross hanging over the altar table inspired me to use a mosaic technique, and by using small shiny gold pieces of fabric I could add life and movement to the darker colors.” Axboe also re-purposed fabrics that came from older paraments that belonged to the church.
Axboe explained that “the branches with leaves symbolize the daily growing and nurturing of our spirit.” Her signature “m” can be found in the lower right corner of the piece above and in the close-up below.
The two banners that form an arch around the sanctuary depict a river running from one to the other, symbolizing baptism (see 2nd photo at top for a better perspective).
For a closer look at Marianne Axboe’s work, consider attending Second Presbyterian Church’s 2017-2018 Couts Music Series. The next event is titled Advent Vespers and will take place this Sunday, December 3rd at 4 p.m. The program features the Second Church Choir, Handbell Choir, flutist Jennifer Gartlet, and organist Andrew Peters. The Couts Series programs are free of charge.
Second Presbyterian Church, 4501 Westminster Place, (314) 367-0366.