New Processional Cross


David Tolerton designed the altar cross, altar table candelabra and baptismal ironwork for the Church of the Good Shepherd, Corral de Tierra in 1959.  At the time of this commission, he was living in Big Sur and working nearly exclusively in iron after a successful career as a potter (Tolerton Potteries, Los Gatos).  The Good Shepherd gilded iron cross was similar to an earlier version Tolerton did for Grace Cathedral. 

Tolerton was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1907, moved to San Francisco in 1915 and died in June 2000. His father was an artist and art dealer sparking Tolerton’s early interest in art.  He studied at Stanford (where he was a friend and classmate of John Steinbeck), the California School of Fine Arts and spent a year in France, Spain, Italy and Germany further studying European iron work techniques.  Many of Tolerton's works are in private collections around the world.  They also have been featured in major exhibitions around the world. 

Two monumental pieces of public art can be found in the Bay Area, the bronze fountains at the Crown Zellerbach building in San Francisco and the IBM Technical Center in San Jose. In addition to the two Bay Area fountains, Mr. Tolerton's works are displayed in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Denver Museum of Art and at the Oakland Museum.

On a personal note, David Tolerton was my first cousin once removed, my mother Eleanor Hampson’s cousin.  Eleanor Hampson died January 1, 2017 and the new processional cross was patterned after Tolerton’s design, was made possible by a legacy gift she made to Church of the Good Shepherd.