The Bronze Paneled Doors - Kericho Cathedral
The door panels, designed and sculpted by Florence Wangui, are based on two aspects of the Rosary. The Joyful and the Luminous Mysteries. Following the
presentation of the design drawings, full scale drawings were made and then clay relief sculptures. Even finding a source of clay
in the Nairobi area was difficult. Once the clays were made, they were cast using a re-meltable silicone called Vinamold. From this a plaster
cast was made. This was further worked on and re-cast. This plaster was the source for the making of the bronzes.
At some point, we will include a film about the making of the bronze panels.
Kericho Cathedral - Bronze Relief Sculptures
The doors for the cathedral are made of steel, beautifully made by the Propolis Studio.
The bronze relief
panels for the main doors were designed and cast from clay sculptures made by Florence Wangui.
We also made the clays for the. Chapel panels. They were transformed into bronzes by Rajinder Anand.
What a privilege to be able in this time to make bronze panels for a Cathedral.
I had tried to find someone, a workshop or a studio, to make these panels. The only studio I found
at the beginning who possibly could have done it, didn't want to. They would only make small pieces.
We had followed a line of making the relief sculptures in glass, basically the same method as we are
using for the external stations. By the time Florence began working on the concept, I had been asked
to look again to see if I could find a workshop that could make the bronze panels. A few years had
passed since my first search. Rajinder had just begun his foundry, a very low tech operation,
but effective. When I first saw him, he was just completing a 13ft high figure for Kenyatta
University. He was very keen to work with us. Although he could do lost wax casting, it took a
long time and many trials before we began to achieve something like what we were looking for.
I will make a film about the process in the coming months. It was a great, if long and frustrating experience, for us all.
The panels are based on the Mysteries. The Joyful Mysteries and the Luminous Mysteries.
The themes for the panels:
THE FINDING OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE
THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
THE WEDDING OF CANA
THE PROCLAMATION OF THE KINGDOM
THE INSTITUTION OF THE EUCHARIST
We worked on the concept that these panels should be similar, in many ways,
to Romanesque composition where we tell a story within the panel. Pictorial perspective
was less important than conveying the story or message. The process of design was alien
to Florence at this stage, but she was able to find a solution to each of these themes
that translated well into bronze relief sculpture.
For the chapel doors, a theme of Angels was chosen.
Instead of having a set of random angels, I set a series of horizontal themes. It was intended,
and in some way still is, the intention that the chapel should be used for Sunday School. Therefore,
the windows for the chapel are set at a low level, children's height. This thinking carried on into
the design for the doors. At the lowest level, there are children angels, playful and having fun.
At the next level are the musical angels. Note the bagpipe playing
angel, a reference to the angel in Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. Interestingly, when I spent time in Kenya,
it was in Rosslyn, this was also where I met Florence, and the leader of the project came from
the Scottish Rosslyn. The third level are the Eucharist Angels, this is self explanatory.
The highest level are the Angels of the Apocalypse sounding trumpets.