Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Field Trips: Wayfarer's Chapel

Friday, March 1, 2013


Remember the field trips we took in elementary and middle school?
I think they are my most favorite memories of youth.
All week long, we'd look forward to a break from our routine and the chance to get away from the classroom for a while.  I'm sure it led to my insatiable curiosity, love of learning and avid interests in science, art and nature.

These days, I still send myself out on "field trips" . . .
sometimes spending hours or days researching what I'd like to see and learn more about.
I plan where I'll have lunch or a coffee break and I always pack my camera and sketchbook.

I want you to be my "buddy" on some of these field trips, 
so I've launched a new series I call

I'll take you along on some of my favorite outings - places like museums, art fairs, hikes or studios.
Who knows where we'll go.

I hope you'll enjoy the "eye candy"
If you're a bit like me, the images may lead you to spend time afterwards in 
your sketchbook, art journal, diary or easel.

Sometimes, I'll show you what's come of the inspiration for me - on the field trip day itself or some time soon after.  I'd love to see if it's sparked some creative action for you....so do please share links back to your work in the comments.


* * * * * *


This week's field trip takes us to a sacred space - 
one I had no idea existed until my husband told me about it.
It's only 30 minutes from our home.

Knowing how much I love both architecture and nature, my husband thought we should stop by this beautiful little chapel one day when we were out for a drive 
along the Palos Verde Peninsula.

This special place is called Wayfarer's Chapel, but it's often referred to as the "glass church".
The chapel was built in 1951 and was designed by Lloyd Wright,
son of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.




As the literature on site points out, this is not so much a "glass chapel" as it is a "tree chapel".
The trees dominate - forming living walls and roof.


When we first arrived, a young lady was asking at the information desk where the chapel was.
The employee pointed out several times that it was just across the parking lot . . . 
but the chapel is so transparent, it all but disappears into the grove of trees - 
truly an architectural wonder!


We visited on a cloudy day - I wonder how hot it becomes on a sunny day?
Maybe the trees shade it enough - it must be glorious when it's blue outside!



It was interesting to learn that Lloyd Wright used 30/60 degree angles because they 
occur naturally in snowflakes, crystals and tree branches.

Everything was considered in his design - the plants were chosen especially because they are found on the local forest floor.
Six triangular acoustic panels in the ceiling balance the sound - 
they're painted a light blue-green to appear white like fleecy clouds.


Round windows over the entrance and altar symbolize the inclusiveness of the chapel.


Leaf and rock, stone and glass, triangle and circle.
Harmonious elements constructed and combined with the beauty of natural surroundings -
all meant to symbolize
"the integral relationship of our inner world of mind and spirit with God's universe".
That Lloyd Wright was one smart cookie.


I'll have to let all this "simmer" awhile before attempting any art inspired by it.....
but nothing gets the creative juices flowing more for me than 
nature + symbolism + architecture + spirituality!
(Somehow, this all reminds me of "The DaVinci Code".  Hmmmmm. 
BTW Dan Brown's next book hits shelves in May - I absolutely cannot wait!)

4 comments:

Felicia E. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Felicia E. said...

I love the Wayfarers Church. If you ever get out to the Arkansas way you must stop by Bella Vista and Eureka Springs to see two of the other churches one his trainees built. They are stunning! One is called the Thorncrown Chapel and the other is the Mildred B Cooper Memorial Chapel.

I like the idea of taking a Friday Field Trip, I may have to start doing the same as soon as the weather warms up her.

Margie said...

That may be the neatest church/chapel I have ever seen .

Liette alias Pixelle said...

oh wouaw....so magnifique...I never saw an chapel so nice, so unique...I adore the tranparency...would like to see it during a sunny day me too...please go back and take some photos during a nice day...I will follow you each friday...