It took 10 yards of Scarlet Dupioni silk, 19,000 sequins, more than 1 million stitches and four months to design and create a gothic chasuble worthy of the scrutiny of a princess.
For Jason Gaspard of the Brookfield-based religious vestment company, Gaspard Inc., the hard work and attention to detail was worth it, as his chasuble won second place in the international contest to design the centennial chasuble under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Caroline of Hanover last year.
In January 2010, Gaspard, along with others in the industry, received the invitation from the Embassy of Monaco in Washington, D.C., to design the chasuble in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Cathedral of Monaco.
“This was the first chasuble contest that Gaspard has entered,” said Jason, whose company has been serving the church internationally since 1954. The three finalists were chosen by a jury presided over by Princess Caroline of Hanover. “There were 18 designers from around the world competing for this award, and we were pleasantly surprised to win second place.”
Gaspard often designs custom pieces among their wide variety of religious vestments, paraments, custom banners and other religious garments, including a wide variety of embroidered symbolism to enhance their customers’ worship needs. This design tapped into the talents of Jason and the six-person design team to create a chasuble worthy of royalty.
“We designed the chasuble digitally; however, each stitch was manually placed in order to achieve the finished results,” said Jason. “We designed it to take into account the season in which the chasuble would be presented.
To schedule a tour of Gaspard, 200 N. Janacek Road, Brookfield, call (262) 784-6800 or (800) 784-6868. The online showroom is also available on the company’s website, gaspardinc.com.
The designers chose scarlet material as a reminder of the blood Christ shed. The flowers that encircle the chasuble and fill the design are dogwood flowers, symbolic of Christ’s crown of thorns.”
While there was no monetary award for their accomplishment, the recognition was prize enough, admitted Jason, who is proud of his design team and the effort that went into creating the chasuble.
“When we entered, we had our doubts that we would win,” he said. “We took a chance by investing as much time as we did, but I felt confident that our work would stand up among the well-known quality of the European makers. Even so, I was still surprised to learn that we had been awarded second place. We are thrilled, and our reward was to have our winning chasuble on display at the Cathedral of Monaco until the end of May 2011, and remain there for use at the cathedral.”
Founded in 1954 by Jason’s father, Robert Gaspard, the company is run by Jason and his wife JoAnn. As one of the nation’s leading vestment manufacturers, Gaspard’s handcrafted items are sold worldwide through their catalog and website, gaspardinc.com. Since receiving the award, the company has enjoyed a surge in business, as well as interest from potential European customers.
“Due to the excitement the award has created, Gaspard is offering this exact chasuble in our 2011-2012 catalogue,” said Jason. “In addition, we have a staff of 32 members and this award has really increased the morale of the entire staff. Not only has Gaspard as a company gained recognition, but it has also brought recognition to our staff for their hard work, dedication, and talent that are not often seen first hand.”
The increased business has also been a welcomed boost to their latest venture, the The Giving Tree. Opened in 2009, the The Giving Tree is located next door to the Gaspard facility and features inspirational gifts and religious items.
“It is perfect for recognizing everyday events and special occasions,” said Jason. “We carry a wonderful selection of unique jewelry, rosaries and collectibles like Willow Tree and Fontanini. We welcome visitors to the shop, or to view our gifts online at TheGivingtreeGifts.com.
As one of few domestic designers of religious vestments, Gaspard welcomes visitors to tour the Gaspard facility to see designers at work.