The 25 foot high sunflower, at the bottom of the Transformation Mural, dwarfs passers by. This project is located in West Philly and was done in collaboration with Elwyn Inc and the Dept of Behavioral Health.
Its situated at a point on the wall where it is highly visible to foot traffic, and I wanted it to impress. Thus, the entire flower is made out of stained glass and colored mirror.
The flower petals were cut and arranged in various horizontal strips that followed the direction of each petal. These petals were the darker of the bunch and were made up of many honey, wheat, and brown colors.
The seeds of the sunflower are arranged in a Fibonacci Spiral. These spirals regularly occur in nature. They can also be found in leaves, pine cones, and shells.
The flower is surrounded by a dark halo of color. These shades enable the light yellow glass to stand out and seemingly pop from the wall.
Pedestrians walking along Market Street can catch the buildings reflected in the glass
Three green leaves were created out of triangular cut glass and mirror. Strips of the green glass highlighted the veins in the leaves. The triangles were arranged around them.
The leaves and brownish glass laid out during the workshops was the first section to be installed. The rest of the work was to be fabricated on site by my assistants and I.
During workshops some people preferred to work on the mosiac. Many found cutting and working with stained glass to be a much better fit.
The glass was also arranged in a similar numbered fashion.
Once large areas of glass were laid out, I was on hand to cut and fit edges as well as tape together sections. Due to the massive turnout during these days, the glass work went by very quickly.
The task of keeping up with everyone, fixing little mistakes, as well as making sure everything was properly spaced for grout seemed impossible at times.
Luckily, within each workshop there were one or two people who found that they were very well suited for mosaic making, and were able to provide an assist.
The glass work gave volunteers a feeling of being very involved with the process. Once everyone knew what needed to be done, people took the initiative to tape the finished glass together...
... and setup a new panel for themselves.
During the onsite fabrication sections had to be worked on in manageable chunks. Once everything was cut, the glass was taped over and installed in square foot swatches.
A base coat of thinset was paved onto the wall providing a flat surface for us to set the glass.
The intense afternoon sun forced us to work in smaller pieces than we would have liked, areas of thinset were drying up almost instantly.
Scraping off tape residue
After the grout cured, the edges of the flower had to be repainted; keeping things crisp and sharp.
Calen arraigning the spiral
A major plus to this mural is the fact that it can be seen in its entirety from many blocks away.
Such a wide scope allows us to take advantage of the colors reflected by the setting sun.
The flower is at its most picturesque and golden at dusk.