Regions Hospital Mental Health

St. Paul, MN

The Light Well

In this work, as the title Light Well suggests, I wanted to create “a well of illuminating light” to bring encouragement and hope into the hearts of patients and their families.

I am very passionate about mental health; it has touched me and my family and friends in many different ways. It was an honor to be commissioned for a work to be installed in this place of healing.

There were many challenges of creating this two-story sculpture, my largest to date, which can serve as a metaphor for the healing process itself.  It pushed me creatively and physically in ways I had no idea I was capable of. For months, I worked fully-focused and had to eliminate all outside distractions. At first, I was anxious and overwhelmed with the scope of the project. With daily discipline and reachable incremental goals, I found a rhythm that actually energized me. Although I was exhausted at the end of each day, I felt gratified and calm.

I was mindful to focus only on the moment, not allowing my mind to worry about how much work I had left to do. It was about enjoying the intuitive, creative process, allowing my imagination to flow. Images, words and thoughts would continually surface and influence my creative choices of color, pattern and forms.  I typically work in a quiet environment and the creative process was very easy for me once I started firing.  The physical portion was more challenging, but equally gratifying. The final result consisted of 14 pieces and over 1,000 squares of copper adhered to steel frames.

My goal is that when others see it that they can take a step back and stop holding their breath.  I am hopeful that viewers will connect with the color, texture and design in an intimate way and feel the joy, calm and awe the project has brought to me while I created it.

Last, a special thanks to my team: A heartfelt “thank you” to Vicki Hovde, Project Art Consultant; Tony Mertes, engineer and metal fabricator; Mike Garvis, husband extraordinaire; Ryan Porritt, artist assistant; and Joel Pieper, installer. It was a team effort to create this work and make it come to life.

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