COMMENT & INTERPRETATION BY GLIDDEN PARKER, THE DESIGNER -
"The designs for all the windows were conceived under a coordinated plan to express in visual terms of color and light certain theological ideas and precepts as given by The Very Rev. Bradbury Usher (former Dean). This cooperative approach has, to my thinking, been a most happy one, and I believe it has borne good fruit. I firmly believe that stained glass in churches (the houses of God in whatever denomination) should go much further in their expression and communication than the mere control of light and production of vaguely rich color effects. These are prerequisites, of course, and should not be neglected; but far beyond this lie aesthetics that embrace the silent music of color, enhance the liturgy of church ceremonies, and express theological and philosophical values which may communicate directly with members of the living church.
If the artist cannot achieve all these things in at least some modest degree, I consider he has failed.
With these goals in mind, I work toward an organization of pattern and light in structure that I call kinetic symbolism. To me, movement in the visual arts (as in music, also where the movement is based on time progressions) is a way of expressing life, the quality of being alive. Movement defines space and movement through space expresses human experience, the human condition. It is at this juncture that a visual art (whether painting or stained glass) ceases to be superficial decoration and turns into art - visual art being a direct, vital ineffable communication between people - an organization of ideas and emotions and experience remembered within the eloquent silence of paint and glass, lead and stone.
With these concepts I approached the designs for Trinity Cathedral. The key window seemed to be the rose window, and this I designed first, although the baptistry window was installed first. In the rose window I found winged forms that would express the Trinity, and decided to employ variations of these forms in all the windows: first and most obvious, because the church is dedicated to the Trinity; second, by using the crystalline winged forms high up in the windows, the nave will seem to be heightened and expanded."
The windows of Trinity Cathedral
Trinity Parish was founded in 1888 when Phoenix was a village. The Cathedral itself was built in 1920. The architecture was based on that of a Spanish colonial church in Majorca. The building has an air of simple elegance and dignity.
The first building to be completed was the center section of the complex (now The Olney Room) in 1915. The east wing, Atwood House, completed the Close in 1930.
Not many years ago, there was serious doubt about the Cathedral’s future. By 1960, the original buildings were in a state of disrepair. There was talk of moving the whole parish to a suburban location, following the example of other downtown churches. An architectural analysis of the complex was initiated, with an eye toward efficient use and orderly evolution, followed by decisions to repair the damage of fifty years’ use, and to modernize the buildings. The buildings were then renovated in the 1970s and 1980s.
All materials used in the Cathedral are native to or made in Arizona.
The Stained GlassTo replace the original opaque windows, Glidden Parker, who was then Chief Designer for Glassart Studio, Scottsdale, was called upon to create designs for faceted stained glass. The windows were installed in 1966 and 1967, except for the great north window (installed in 2004).
All the windows incorporate the theme of the Trinity; their color scheme runs from earthy (south) to bright (north), symbolizing the passage from earthly life to eternity.