Illinois Businesswoman Sheri Law Creates Notable Liturgical Art Glass Project For National Religious Shrine

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In its 39 years of business, Sheri Law Art Glass of Homer Glen, Illinois embarked on one of its most ambitious projects this year involving the newly built National Shrine of St. Thérèse in nearby Darien.

Shawn Hogel, left, and Gabe Regalado, Sheri Law Art Studio stained glass artists, do a final cleaning for the installation of the abstract floral window.

Working through the decision process with the shrine’s representatives, we had an opportunity to incorporate all of our expertise and talents into one dramatic work of art, enhancing their vision with the techniques that would work best.

In its 39 years of business, Sheri Law Art Glass of Homer Glen, Illinois embarked on one of its most ambitious projects this year involving the newly built National Shrine of St. Thérèse in nearby Darien.

In 2016, an architect contacted Sheri Law, owner of the design studio, to create a large art glass piece presenting as its focal point a beautiful and reverent image of St. Thérèse de Lisieux for the shrine. Known as “The Little Flower,” she was a French Catholic Carmelite nun born in 1873 and died from tuberculosis at age 24 in 1897.

Those two years encompassed many discussions, samples and design options. When The Society of Little Flower and Society of Mt. Carmel, both in Darien, commissioned the project, Law and her team only had five months to create this floor-to-ceiling glass wall. Measuring 30 feet wide by 24 feet high, the spectacular wall includes 27 panels, most which are 4 feet by 8 feet. To make the panels, the team incorporated carved, stained, and fused custom-made glass.

The piece will be unveiled during the Feast Day Celebration and Dedication to the New National Shrine of St. Thérèse on Oct. 1.

“This has been one of our largest jobs, which has been exciting and challenging for our team,” Law said. “Working through the decision process with the shrine’s representatives, we had an opportunity to incorporate all of our expertise and talents into one dramatic work of art, enhancing their vision with the techniques that would work best. We are often asked how long it took to do a project – and today I would answer ‘39 years.’ It’s the sum of years of work that brought us the repertoire that we offer.”

Creating this art was quite a process not only due to the enormous size, but considering all aspects of the visual impact and structural considerations. The carved figure of St. Therese, the center of this piece, stands on a path with roses falling from her hands. Framing the figure is a fused glass Gothic arch that has thousands of chunks of glass, accented with dichroic glass that is made with metals and oxides. This particular glass displays different colors by undergoing a color change in certain lighting conditions, thus adding a nontraditional technique to the design. Surrounding this is a stunning design of an abstract floral with red, white, grey, and textured glass in stained glass to complete the work.

It was important that the saint would be easily seen in her glory whether it was against a backdrop of a clear blue sky or starry violet evening. Shawn Hogel, the studio’s sandblasting glass artist who carved the saint’s image on glass, also used gold leaf to give her additional visual dimensions.

“The combination of these different techniques, enhanced by edge lighting, really helps make St. Thérèse be visible in nearly all circumstances,” he said.

Mary Therese Lambert, who helps to oversee the shrine and is the international development director/office manager of Society of the Little Flower, explained how Law and her team would touch many visitors over the years.

"All of us are created in the image and likeness of God,” Lambert said. “Sheri Law's beautiful carved frosted glass window of St. Therese at the new National Shrine in Darien powerfully captures the unique way the Little Flower reflects God's presence and love in our lives.”

About Sheri Law:
Sheri Law is the president, owner, and creative spirit of Sheri Law Art Glass, Ltd. in Homer Glen, Illinois. With a profound passion and love of glass, her multi-faceted custom design firm specializes in all types of glass, with every project celebrating the versatility and beauty of decorative art glass. Her work, designed for residential, commercial, and liturgical projects all make a personal statement, guided by the goal of the client and her talent to envision and create truly a stellar work of art. In 1979 she opened a small studio in Homer Glen. Determined to expand, in 1987 she was granted the first SBA construction loan given to a woman in Will County for a new building. While running her studio full time, Sheri studied at the Harrington College of Design to advance her skills. For information, or to schedule a tour of the studio, visit http://sherilaw.com/.
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