Projects 2017-2000 > "Heavy rain does not last all day." (Lao Tsu) Riverview Psychiatric Center. Augusta, ME

"Heavy rain does not last all day." (Lao Tsu)

Riverview Psychiatric Center
Augusta, ME
Percent for Art project

2004

I did three stained glass lightboxes for the Chapel at the Center. Each lightbox is 16"x72"x8".

I wanted to instill a feeling of spirituality without reference to any particular religious denomination. I avoided using any overtly religious symbols and instead worked with forms and colors that I considered exquisite and that would have a universal appeal on a deeper, intuitive level. I chose colors and subject matter that I believed would resonate with many people, and that would have a calming but uplifting effect.

The design uses very beautiful mouthblown glass in rich, saturated colors. The pieces of glass are arranged to look like a weaving, with alternating colors and patterns. This repetition is intended to be rhythmic and soothing. Each of the woven segments is printed and fired with a pattern from nature: leaves, branches, frost, water images and watery reflections, all on blues, greens and purples.

I included a grapevine pattern from a medieval illuminated manuscript, printed on a warm pinkish-red glass, to balance with the moody cool colors. Pristine white elements are introduced for contrast. These include a white egret, a paper nautilus, a chrysanthemum, diatoms, and a snowflake. The egret, nautilus and chrysanthemum all contain similar structural features and resemble each other. They are handpainted and fired. The diatoms, snowflake and white grapevine are sandblasted and printed.

Echoing the curved white natural forms is a section from a French celestial map from the 1700s, with lovely renderings of the constellations, including Pegasus, whose wings echo the wings of the egret. (Courtesy of the Osher Map Library, USM)

I made very deliberate choices about everything in this design, so that nothing would be jarring or out of place. My hope is that people will enjoy this piece of art, that it will offer peace, comfort, and perhaps even joy in difficult times.

Project photos by Jon Bonjour