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notred

Photo: Stephanie LeBlanc
Germany has offered to cover the costs of restoring Notre Dame’s upper windows.

Since the horrendous fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, lots of ideas for rebuilding have been put forth and numerous groups have volunteered assistance.

This post is about two of those offers: from German glass makers and from Carpenters Without Borders. I’m glad I’m not the one who has to choose among all the ideas. People get emotional about Notre Dame.

In an article at the Art Newspaper, Catherine Hickley wrote, “A year after the devastating fire at Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, Germany has put forward concrete proposals for its role in the reconstruction including funds from the government and donors and expertise in stained glass and cathedral restoration.

“A fund-raising campaign launched in Germany a day after the fire has raised more than [$51,000 as of April 15] according to a statement issued by Armin Laschet, the prime minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Culture Minister Monika Grütters.

‘The reconstruction of Notre-Dame offers an opportunity to become a European symbol of hope,’ Laschet said. ‘For me this reconstruction is also a symbol of German-French friendship.’ …

“The exact scope and nature of Germany’s contribution will be determined in the coming months on the basis of studies on the ground, the statement said, adding that three glass workshops at German cathedrals have the extensive expertise and experience necessary to undertake the restoration of the clerestory windows. Germany would cover the costs of restoring the upper windows, Grütters said.” More.

Meanwhile, in a France24 article, we learn of woodworkers hoping to be allowed to use their traditional techniques in the rebuilding.

“Armed with axes and hand saws, the team of 25 craftsmen and women, who belong to a collective called Carpenters Without Borders, managed to build one of the 25 trusses that made up the wooden roof of Notre-Dame that they say is identical to the original.

” ‘It is a demonstration of traditional techniques on one of the trusses of the framework of the nave of Notre-Dame that serves to show how viable these techniques are from an economic point of view on the one hand and from a technical point of view on the other,’ researcher Frédéric Epaud told AFP.

“Known as ‘the forest’ and built out of vast oak beams, the 800-year-old intricate wooden lattice of Notre-Dame’s knave was completely destroyed in last year’s fire.

“Since then debate has raged over how it should be rebuilt. Some have argued that reconstructing the original roof is impossible as sufficiently old and large enough oak trees no longer exist in France.

“Modern alternatives, such as concrete and steel have been suggested. But Carpenters Without Borders say their work proves the roof can be rebuilt in its original form without huge expense.

” ‘We, in less than a week, with 25 professional carpenters, have entirely built one of the trusses of the nave of Notre-Dame as it was before the fire. One truss, one week,’ the group’s founder and ethnologist at France’s Ministry of Culture, François Calame, told AFP.” More.

An early concept for reconstruction, featuring a glass roof and gardens, is among the many already turned down, and the goal now is to put the cathedral back the way it was. See the Washington Post.

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5741

Photo: Katherine Anne Rose
On the south side of Glasgow every year the residents of Strathbungo decorate their windows with weird and wonderful displays for other locals to enjoy.

Here’s a grand idea to light up winter in a city. It reminds me a little of the mega jack o’lantern displays that Providence’s Roger Williams Park puts on at Halloween. Any city could do this.

Peter Ross writes at the Guardian, “Window Wanderland is a festival of lights that sees people transform their neighbourhood into a colourful playground using paper cutouts in their windows. In the streets of Strathbungo, Glasgow, the result is a night-time explosion of pop culture: Mary Poppins, the Moomins, Peter Pan, Paddington.

“The festival was founded in Bristol in 2015 by Lucy Reeves Khan, a set designer who had developed mobility problems, chronic pain and feelings of isolation following a car accident. As part of her rehabilitation, she took short walks in the streets around her home – at night, so few would see her struggling. Lonely, she glanced in lit windows at the people inside, and one evening the idea struck.

“Khan set about trying to articulate her concept to her neighbours. That wasn’t easy. ‘Nobody could understand what I was on about,’ she recalls. It wasn’t quite like Halloween, it wasn’t quite like Christmas. So she created a number of displays in her own windows as examples – and it took off from there, and has now spread to around 20 UK locations. …

“One home in Strathbungo is an angry lament for the Glasgow School of Art, which burned down recently for the second time; the windows of the home are bright with painted flame. On nearby Queen Square, Bernie Hunter, who is 24 and has cerebral palsy, has created a fond tribute to Still Game, the beloved Scottish sitcom, on the eve of its farewell series. …

“The politics of the event tend instead towards the environmental. On Regent Park Square, Emily Munro has decorated an upstairs window with the hourglass logo of Extinction Rebellion, the direct action campaigners. Her other windows show cutouts of insects, which Munro removes as the night wears on, symbolising their catastrophic decline, leaving just one – a bee.

“One home has been tricked out like a giant jukebox, with a real seven-piece band playing on the upper floor through an open window. …

“ ‘It’s beautiful, unplanned, chaotic,’ says Sarah Reid, who started this Scottish leg of the event. ‘Such a simple idea, but when people come together it creates something beautiful and powerful.’ ”

More here.

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