This project was inspired by the selfless acts of forgiveness by Janice Jackson Burke and her son Kevin Johnson. 4 years ago Kevin was shot and paralyzed in a robbery.
On November 14th 2006 Kevin passed away due to complications from his breathing apparatus. Janice continued to give lectures and tell the story of how they came to forgive.
At Kevin's funeral 21 doves were released into the air.
I found that to be a nice sentiment and wanted to work that into the mural. The doves emanate from Janice and fill the sky.
I felt the need to bring about a certain uniformity to my glass cuts. I settled on lines originating at a single point that would carry through the entire dove layout.
The doves contain 20-25 different colors of stained glass. The colors grade from various whites to yellows to oranges.
We began by cutting the shapes out of cement board. Each cutout was assigned a number and the guidelines were projected in place.
The central dove. A variety of curves, flat edges, lengths and thicknesses keeps the glass cuts vivid and lively within such rigid guidelines.
The white sections of the doves contain no flat white color, notice the pearlescent white tones and the rippled glass picking up fragments of light.
Women from the Erie house (building the mural is attached to) worked on two of the dove panels I had specially earmarked for workshops.
Over the course of two weeks, the women received a crash course in mosaic making.
We would all gather for these workshops at the end of our workday, the work would be done right in front of the mural. People could see direct results of their work everyday.
The Dove panels were the first elements of the mural to get installed. Each panel was thinset and carefully screwed into the brick of the building.
When the sun rises over the building, fragments of light are picked up and appear to carry across the doves.
Great timing on this photo
Knocking the birds out one after another
My design's layout had two dove panels placed on top of the buildings chimney. The wall needed to be built out to meet the edges of the panels.
Styrofoam blocks were carved into the dove shapes and anchored into the wall with threaded rod and epoxy. The foam blocks were carefully sloped downward to keep water from collecting in pockets.
Layers of mesh tape and thinset were applied to the final shapes, rendering the pieces flush with the chimney and rock solid.
I was able to properly install the remaining glass once the build-outs cured. This technique was recommended to me by mosaicist Mike Smash, who uses them in his own work.
The mesh fiberglass tape adds strength to the piece protecting it against any serious hits it may take in its lifetime.
A coat of Matte Medium was used to seal the mural. The finish contrasted with the glass causing the doves to "float" from the walls surface.