16’ x 16’. Glass mosaic. The Sacré Coeur is an iconic image from the early Christian mystics. I wanted to modernize the image and make it joyful, not so visceral and sorrowful. Jesus is softly emerging from a forest of cascading light. I put particular emphasis on the hands, because those entering place their lives in the hands of hospital staff.
I think St. Francis Healthcare CEO Jake Henry puts it very well:
Our mission charges us to provide an environment that instills confidence, trust, and hope, as part of the healing ministry of Christ. Our message reflects the abundance of heavenly mercy on earth, symbolized in a shower of colorful light that flows from above. I hope this work of art will testify to the excellence in care that we are pledged to deliver.
Skyline Art Services initially contacted me to do a large, backlit glass mural. In preliminary discussions, I mentioned mosaic may be good to consider as well, and they agreed. We presented both options to hospital leadership and mosaic was chosen. Since this was for the lobby of a heart hospital, the CEO suggested a Sacred Heart image. Having never done a figurative mosaic, I liked the idea of trying something new.
Then it was time to figure out what size and shape the artwork should be, which I did with Skyline’s help. Once that was decided, Skyline and the hospital selected the wood surround framing. I then worked with Skyline, KKT Architects, hospital staff, and the general contractor to determine installation details and to coordinate a trouble-free, on-time installation of the mosaic with minimal disruption to clients, who continued to use the lobby entrance.
I collaborated with two exceptionally skilled artisans at Franz Mayer of Munich, Hans Herkommer and Ina Stocker. Their hands carefully selected every piece, roughly 125,000 pieces total. Their control of the light, and melting colors into colors, was phenomenal. Mayer also sent an excellent artisan to install the artwork, who I assisted.
I feel very fortunate that there are consultants who can recognize excellent design, artisans who selflessly pursue beauty above cost, and clients who are willing to pay for it.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
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Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
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