I visited Lutheran Church of Redeemer in the Summer of 2015. One of the first things that struck me was the very sophisticated contemporary structure of the main entrance. I was immediately drawn by it, wondering what was behind the large transparent walls of glass. As I walked through the doors, I realized that the structure was built in addition to the old church. I thought of it as a brilliant idea that made the church appear dominant and welcoming.
Next, I noticed a large white wall above the entrance into the sanctuary, and I immediately envisioned a perfect place for a colorful mosaic that would make the entry hall and the building as a whole even more recognizable as the place of worship. This was especially true regarding the possibility of the mosaic to be seen through the transparent glass walls from a long distance on a busy street in a prominent neighborhood.
Soon after, I had the pleasure of meeting the church committee, a group of very amiable and kind people. I presented myself and the work I do both in stained glass and mosaic art. At the end of our meeting, I mentioned the idea of creating a design for the mosaic piece above the entry wall that the members of the committee welcomed. Upon returning home, I thought about different design concepts. Together with my wife Mila, an accomplished stained glass and mosaic designer and glass painter, we came up with the idea of creating a mosaic with a Holy Spirit theme. The wall was rather large, and we thought that covering the whole surface would be too overwhelming for the space. Instead, we proposed a ‘free-flowing’ design dominated by an image of the white dove, surrounded by contemporary, colorful shapes.
We have sent the design to a church member, Mrs. Betsy Kutscher, for review by the liturgical committee, and very soon, we received a very positive reply. We were pleased to learn that the Church shared our vision of the mosaic wall and was ready to proceed. We were called back for another meeting in January 2016, and upon signing the contract, we were ready to start the fabrication of the mosaic.
The mosaic was fabricated in our studio in Naples, Florida, by project specifications. We used both traditional and contemporary mosaic fabrication methods and materials. We have enlarged the design in full scale on paper, which we used as a template to cut and place the mosaic glass. A mosaic glass of different colors, shapes, textures, and thicknesses was cut and shaped by hand into desired forms using specialized pliers, hammers, and chisels. We used a "Direct technique" for the fabrication, where mosaic glass pieces are laid directly to the Polycarbonate base panels and glued with polyurethane adhesive. Those high-quality materials prevent the mosaics from bending and cracking over time; they are resistant to different temperatures and humidity and are simple for transport, making our installation clean, simple, and precise. The mosaic's surface is slightly uneven, not polished, which gives the mosaic more of a two-dimensional and natural look.
In May 2016, we delivered and installed the mosaic directly on the wall during a three-day installation. We retouched joint lines and anchors with glass pieces so the mosaic would appear to be made as a single piece. It was a magnificent experience seeing all the panels slowly come together in forming an exceptional art piece that would leave a mark for generations to come.