Pat Williams – Grace-Calvary Church Kneelers Gallery

Curator’s Essay: Pat Williams Has Stories to TellMindscapes GalleryPortraits Gallery

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Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church, Clarkesville, Georgia, USA, photo: Chris Bartol.

In 2009, Pat Williams was commissioned to create tapestries for the kneelers of the altar of Grace-­Calvary Episcopal Church in Clarkesville, Georgia. The church, established in 1838, and the wooden frame structure remain virtually unchanged today as Georgia’s second oldest Episcopal Church building. Pat worked with the priest and congregation members for design concept input and layout for the five kneelers. She consulted with the seamstress who would complete the pieces to develop diagrams for the different shapes of each of the five kneelers; those were woven as shaped tapestries during a two-year period. The concept for the kneelers was to represent the five seasons of the liturgical year. The five tapestries were designed to depict a continuum of seasons, and images for each were created based upon flora and fauna found in the church’s location, the foothills of northeast Georgia. 

Pat Williams, Ariel View of the Altar and Kneelers, photo: Chris Bartol.

Advent – deep blue sky is the dominant feature. The color symbolizes the mood of Advent: of Mary’s expectation of Jesus’ birth, the world’s expectation for peace on earth, and each Christian’s faithful expecting and watching for the presence of God in one’s life. 

Pat Williams, “Advent“, 14 in x 48 in, 8 epi, 2010, photo: Chris Bartol.

Christmas & Epiphany – three trees near a barn represent the Magi, who follow the shining star overhead as it leads them to the Christ child. The river swells toward the scene’s end, reminiscent of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, with the presence of God revealed in the form of a dove. 

Pat Williams, “Christmas & Epiphany“, 14 in x 48 in, 8 epi, 2010, photo: Chris Bartol.

Lent – darker colors of grey and purple and a winter landscape invite stillness and reflection upon humankind’s actions that reject the love of God. Three crosses in the background are reminders of Jesus’ death on Calvary. 

Pat Williams, “Lent”, 14 in x 48 in, 8 epi, 2010, photo: Chris Bartol.

Easter – the empty tomb at the very beginning of this kneeler proclaims that love has overcome death and that Christ is alive. The lamb, as a symbol for Jesus, is joined by the flora and fauna of spring to celebrate the joy of new birth. 

Pat Williams, “Easter“, 14 in x 48 in, 8 epi, 2010, photo: Chris Bartol.

Pentecost – the wind of the holy spirit moves across the tilled land to inspire and move the church to its work of spreading the good news of God’s love. Wheat and grapes symbolize the spiritual food of Holy Communion that strengthens and sustains one to live the risen life in Christ. 

Pat Williams, “Pentecost“, 14 in x 48 in, 8 epi, 2010, photo: Chris Bartol.