Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Divinity is in the Details

Those of you who read music just might recognize the score in the photo above. Yup, Beethoven's Ode to Joy, or as they call it at Hope Presbyterian in Richfield, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. Whatever you call it, it's one of my favorites. And this job, though a lot more work than I planned, was a joy to do.

This is one of five classrooms I did five years ago for this church. The walls are parchment glazed, with sheets of music scattered randomly. An unused bulletin board got a shadow box frame and a montage of retired music instruments, with the help of their uber-capable handyman, Reed. The music staff is made of sprinkler wire, suspended from the ceiling with mono filament, and occasionally screwed to the wall.

When it came time to add the notes, it suddenly occurred to me (give me a break, I was designing five different classrooms at the same time, and my brain was on overload) that people who read music would use this room. Randomly scattered notes would be, well, disrespectful. Ode to joy came immediately to mind, and I was delighted to hear that it is also sung as a hymn. My sincere gratitude to the women who helped cut all the foamcore notes.

This was such a fun project because they gave me a list of the classrooms, showed me the furnishings they had to work with, and then let me come up with the ideas. They supplied volunteers to help with some of the painting and faux finishing, and it was so rewarding, teaching them to do creative things they didn't believe they were capable of. It also gave me a chance to talk with some of the women who teach the "Rotation Model Sunday School" classes in these rooms, enabling me to tweak the details for better function.

When I did this job, I didn't yet have a digital camera, so when they called me back for touch-ups, I took the opportunity to re-shoot most of the rooms. Check the sidebar for photos of some of the others.

While you're checking out things, check out the work of George Bilak, an artist who recently visited Minneapolis, and quite bravely hung out with the Third Thursday Art Group, a band of wild women, if ever there was one! It's probably good I didn't know I was in the presence of such genius at the time, as I would have been so worried about offending him with our raucous humor that I wouldn't have gotten to know what a charming and witty man he is. His website, featuring carved wood miniatures and beautifully painted icons, is www.carvingart.com. Be sure to note the size on these pieces, as you appreciate the minute detail. Then go to www.carvingart.com/A0..htm (that's a zero after the A)to check out what happens when he works BIG. I am in awe!

While these icons are for The Orthodox Church, George says that the Catholic Church is bringing them back as well, and of course many churches and other public and private spaces incorporate fine wood carving. If you think anyone you know might be interested in George's work, please pass his info along, or direct them to this blog. We artists count on word of mouth to keep us in the business of creating beauty, so please feel free to talk about us!

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