The Kneeler Project
By Denise Robinson
St. Mark’s is steeped in history and contains lovely old things that make the church so special. Many years ago (we think 60 years or more), four gorgeous communion rail kneelers were created that have served the church very well. Built to last, these lovely kneelers are starting to show wear.
Did you know that most kneeler designs are original and specific to the church they are in and that most are created through the dedicated efforts of church members? I started researching how kneelers come about, what it costs to create or restore kneelers and how long such a project would take. I was astounded at how much information is available, how long it takes and how much it costs. But being a needle pointer myself, I know it is a project that can be successfully accomplished under the right circumstances.
I have ordered and read as many books on the subject as I could find and I have talked to several very gracious and helpful experts on the topic. Our options are to restore or replace the kneelers depending on what we find when we take them apart. We know the innards have turned to dust, we know some areas of the canvas have become threadbare and we know the kneelers have probably never been cleaned and show evidence of wine, wax and soil.
Needlepoint is not a fast process so we know we need temporary kneelers while we study the canvases and make a decision to restore or replace. As far as the designs go, I have not seen any prettier designs than what we have, and the experts agree they are beautiful designs. Wool is expensive, and canvas is expensive; to replace them would run somewhere in the vicinity of $700 for materials alone.
Stewart and I have made the decision to sponsor the temporary kneelers so that is covered and they are in the process of being completed. I am asking that you consider sponsoring a kneeler as a memorial or as a gift to the church. Additionally, if you know anything about the history or our kneelers, we’d love to have that information. For more information about this project, please call me at 352-685-2261. Thank you!