Glass Chapel Window Lights Up Hospice

Featured Artists

Glass Artist Karen Mamel had all but packed away her glass tools when she opened her E-mail inbox. Sharon Jones of Good Shepherd Hospice in Sebring, Florida was inquiring about a stained glass window in a newly built chapel. A man was donating the window in honor of his beloved wife.

She had previously built windows for two other Florida Hospices and spent much of her free time visiting patients and volunteering for the organization. A cancer survivor and nurse, she felt a particular connection to the patients. She called friend and pattern designer, Lynda Chandler, to explain the challenge.

The project was a five-and-a-half-foot round window facing west, Karen said. Beyond that, she had received little direction. Sharon at Good Shepherd had seen our work before and trusted us to come up with a good design.

Karen and Lynda got to work.

The pair met more than five years prior and discovered a mutual love for the arts. Lynda, a botanical illustrator, had a talent for bringing landscapes to life on paper, and Karen, an accomplished glass artist, was looking for someone to design custom glass patterns. Their first project was a stunning 27-foot window in their church.

It was such a huge project. We thought, if we can do this, we can do anything, Lynda said. Since then, the pair has worked on six large-scale projects together, two of which have been Hospice chapel windows. Lynda, who relied on Hospice to care for her mother, also felt especially connected to the cause.

But designing the pattern for this chapel proved to be somewhat of a struggle for Lynda.

We wanted the facility to dictate the design, and it was very mission-style. Reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright, Karen said.

It was a challenge for me to create something so abstract when my passion lies in detailed natural landscapes, Lynda said. I went through several revisions until I felt comfortable with the design.

Karen commented that Lynda was able to mix organic with geometric in a very beautiful way. With the pattern complete, Lynda looked through her Spectrum sample box, as well as through samples from other manufacturers they had used in the past, and chose glass colors and textures based on her sketch. Then the two set off to buy glass.

At Lincoln Glass in Tampa, Karen and Lynda carefully looked over the selection. They felt each sheet of glass, held each one up to the light, and looked for the most vibrant and interesting pieces. Among these, they chose a rippled dichroic architectural glass for the water, and bevels for the suns rays.

After a day of glass selection and discussion over lunch, the two parted ways and Karen went to work. She finished the project only a few days later.

When Karen gets to work, theres no stopping her, Lynda said. Shes so meticulous yet so fast!

Karen also has the ability to work with many different types and textures of glass, and to incorporate fused pieces into her work for a three-dimensional look. She has been able to educate Lynda on the intricacies of stained glass art and how to create a workable pattern.

For each design, Lynda also writes an accompanying inspirational story. This is the story behind the Hospice circle window that now hangs on a plaque in the chapel.

Another Shore

A glowing sunset lights up the sky as day is done. Illuminated by the sun's rays, a brilliant dove takes flight. Our loved one is free of pain, tears and anguish. Good Shepard Hospice has been there to carry us through the rough, open waters during the storm symbolized by the waiting boat, Hospice continues to stand by, to care and to counsel. The settling water reflects the sunset of this day, but also touches another shore upon which its waves will run, in the sunrise of tomorrow.

The finished piece is a sight to behold. A beveled dove flies above the water among beveled rays of sunshine over a sea of shimmering dichroic.

The sun rays are actually prisms, so when the light hits them just right, tiny rainbows dance on the chapel walls, Karen said. Another unique feature of the piece is the water, which changes colors throughout the day - from blue to gold to pink.

By the time the project was complete, Karen and Lynda had been asked to design two transom windows and a window for the chapel door in addition to the main piece. Each of these pieces is of the same style as the large window. Bruce and Nancy Herz, neighbors and friends of Karen, designed the custom framework around each window and assisted in installation.

I think these windows really beautify the chapel, Lynda said. I hope people will come here to find solace and strength in a most difficult time.

The mission of Good Shepherd Hospice is to provide quality palliative care and relieve the suffering of those in our communities affected by life-limiting illnesses and end-of-life issues, maintaining the highest ethical standards, so all may live as fully and comfortably as possible.

Karen Mamel and Lynda Chandler can be contacted via email at

[email protected].

The supplies seen in this window are available for purchase at Delphi. Please check back in the near future, as we will be posting a link.

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Lynn D.  •  June 08, 2011
What a beautiful window!!! Linda your inspirational note is what makes this project complete. I can hardly wait to see what colors were used, so that I can make something similar (although not a large). Amazing !!!
Julie Bedford

Julie Bedford

Julie graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Communications. She worked as a marketing director and graphic designer before coming to work for Delphi as social media manager. Her mother is an artist and inspired Julie's love for art and creativity at a young age. Her hobbies include writing, crafting and social networking.