Faith Art: New Frames for the Stations of the Cross at Marion's St. Mark Catholic Church

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 12-13-2008 07:59 PM 3087 views 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Photo 1:

Chasing After the Wind:
Whew. What a morning. It is windy a lot of the time in Kansas, and out on the open prairie where I live, it is almost always windy.

But, when the weather forecast is for “windy”, you know it is going to be terrible, and it is today. “Blustery,” they call it in the Winnie-The-Pooh books. The forecast yesterday was “windy” for the next three days, so I took off yesterday to get more firewood while it was “calm.”

So, it’s a bad hair day today. But, it is always a bad hair day for me.

Well, ok, it’s Windy today, no big deal. I wrote my business plan so that I could find work that allowed me to work inside a nice warm wood shop in the wintertime. So, I started the day by cleaning out the wood stove, and starting up a nice warm woodstove fire to get the shop up to “warm and workable”, which for me is about 70 degrees.

I went in and brushed my teeth, ran a hair brush through what remains of my hair. I decided to take a look out window of the bathroom while I brushed my teeth, as I don’t normally like to watch myself in the mirror.

What I saw out the window was a “nightmare on a windy day,” Smoke everywhere around the back of the woodshop!

I quickly figured out that my ashes from the woodstove that I had dumped behind the shop, must have had enough heat in them to flare up with the very windy conditions today, and it started the prairie grass behind my woodshop on fire. I ran out to see what I could save. I moved the old pickup truck, and looked at the fire, and figured I would try and stomp it out with my feet, since I had all of the shovels put away for winter already in the shed along with enough garden hose to reach the flames.

So, for a couple of tense minutes I ran from fire spot to fire spot, stomping on the dry grass flames. After the immediate stress was over, I went back around with a water hose and made sure all of the smoking areas were soaked. Whew.

I really don’t know why I was able to get the fire out in knee-high dry prairie grass in 50 mph gusts of wind, or why I just happened to look out the bathroom window in time to save my old pickup truck full of fire wood. I guess God was just watching out for me again. “He” does that all the time, although I don’t deserve it for sure.

Needless to say, we’ve adopted a new policy around here at DeCou Studio when dumping out hot ashes. I will soak them water first.

Enough of that, onto some better news.

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Stations of the Cross:
So, ok, while I calm down, I decided to post my latest project with a few pictures of the final hanging of some decorative frames I built for the Holy Family Parish’s, St. Mark Catholic Church in Marion, Kansas, USA.

Photo 2:

The Stations of the Cross are old painted plaster castings that the church had hanging inside the worship hall. When they decided to remodel the interior of the worship hall, they moved them up higher on the walls, and decided to put larger colored frames behind them so that they would be more obvious on the larger wall.

So, I devised a plan with Father Hein to build the frames, and paint them in a scheme that matched the old plaster pictures, and also matched the colors and decor of the remodeled room.

I built the frames out of poplar, and used oil based paints to paint them.

I have never found a fast way to paint with a brush, especially with line borders that lay up against other colors, but I painted them just as Father Hein asked me to do. And as it turned out, I think Father Hein has a pretty good eye for colors and decoration. After hanging the frames up this week at the church, I really liked the way they came out. I normally don’t offer to do any installation work (back to the business plan to stay in the woodshop) but I agreed to hang the frames for Father Hein. He has a nice way of asking.

So, this now makes three churches, in two Kansas Counties, that have my woodworking. I hope that there will be more in the future.

Photo 3:

Photo 4:

Photo 5:

Photo 6:

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Here is a shot showing the dejected church and construction management crew after hearing that their new pews would not arrive from the factory on time. Father Hein is the one that had to sit down for the news. I had turned down doing the new pews, and turned down doing the necessary remodeling of the existing pews. That’s just too big of a job for a one-man artisan shop. I was quite happy when I was taking the photos that I wasn’t the one they were waiting on.

Photo 7:

Photo 8:

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Here is a shot from my studio before I delivered and hung up the frames. I had to devise a stacking storage system for this project.

Photo 9:

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If you would like to see more of my work in churches, please follow these links:
  1. Carved Sound Equipment Cabinet
  2. Carved Communion Table
  3. Lectern
  4. Side Altars
  5. Processional Cross Staff
  6. Hymn Number Board
  7. Communion Cup and Plate
  8. Cedar Log Rustic Preaching Podium

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Here are some links to other Faith-Art items where Scripture, or other Christian-faith emblems were used:
  1. Scrimshaw Powder Horn with Psalms 135:6-7
  2. Scrimshaw Powder Horn with Proverbs 17:12
  3. Walking Stick with St. Christopher’s medallion
  4. Walking Cane with Cross and Guardian Angle
  5. Ram's Horn Shofar with artwork of Isaiah 11:6 and Ezekiel 20:12
  6. Walking Cane with St. Christopher's medallion and Icthus inlay
  7. Walking Cane with carved art depicting the work of Christ
  8. Walkign Cane with a representation of Moses from the book of Genesis
  9. Walking Cane with scrimshaw text of Proverbs 3:18
  10. Silver Necklace of Cross with Red Coral Stone
  11. Garden Arbor with cut out symbols of the Christian Faith
  12. Walking Cane with carved notes to the song Amazing Grace
  13. Arts & Crafts Entertainment Center with carved notes to Amazing Grace
  14. Refined Rustic China Hutch with carved lettering of Psalm 97:1

thanks for reading along,
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

19 comments so far

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 4639 days

#1 posted 12-13-2008 08:05 PM

Mark, great job, I’m sure the church members appreciate your work very much. Mark I don’t see the last photo of your studio…did it get posted?

I know what you mean about the wind today. Here in Topeka it’s the same way.

Anyway, thanks for posting.

-- Martin, Kansas

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2011 posts in 5321 days

#2 posted 12-13-2008 08:11 PM

Thanks Martin, I forgot to hit “paste”. I’ve added it now.

Hang on to your hat,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View romansfivefive's profile


302 posts in 4689 days

#3 posted 12-13-2008 08:11 PM

great work!

-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 4639 days

#4 posted 12-13-2008 08:15 PM

Mark, nice job on the storage system too.

-- Martin, Kansas

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2011 posts in 5321 days

#5 posted 12-13-2008 08:17 PM

The storage system is very crude, just arms with nails shot up through them from the bottom side. The nails allowed me to set the frames on the rack arms without the painting sticking.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4683 days

#6 posted 12-13-2008 08:24 PM

Awesome frames, Mark. May they be meaningful in the faith jury for many. Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5015 days

#7 posted 12-13-2008 09:15 PM

Great work as always and always appreciated.

Thanks for the post Mark.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Obi's profile


2214 posts in 5153 days

#8 posted 12-13-2008 09:19 PM

As usual, Brother, you did a great job.

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4638 days

#9 posted 12-13-2008 09:26 PM

That’s a beautiful job and the church is lovely too. It’s one of the nicest modern churches I’ve seen. Most are gloomy and dull.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4638 days

#10 posted 12-13-2008 09:34 PM

Some of the old churches in quaint communities have the most character with their hand made artifacts that show many decades of admiration. Less is more, as isn’t the whole idea of worship a search for inner peace, not outer wealth?

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1306 posts in 4689 days

#11 posted 12-13-2008 10:44 PM

Great frames Mark, nice post!

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4660 days

#12 posted 12-13-2008 11:33 PM

Beautiful job on the frames, Mark. I don’t blame you for not taking on the pew refinishing. A job like that will wear you out. And close that gate up there. We’re about to get blown away down here in Texas.

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 4443 days

#13 posted 12-14-2008 12:11 AM

WOW, hard for me to think of such large projects. Really fantastic. They fit so perfectly. Beautiful!

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 4607 days

#14 posted 12-14-2008 12:58 AM

not being religious this is some thing i dont usualy see but i love the quality of your work and the craftmanship
thanks for the post


-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5230 days

#15 posted 12-14-2008 01:17 AM

Nice frames! The color is perfect.

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