Wind Over The Lake - Design, Construction and Installation.



The Problem:  The architects had designed a curved space and bench which would serve as an attractive "meeting place" for students.  Any accompanying mural should be inviting, easily identified and able to withstand "wear and tear" as the students would likely lean against the mural while studying or waiting for a friend.


The Solution.  Since "Michigan weather" would probably be one of the most common topics on the minds of arriving students, the environment of Michigan, and its extremes in weather patterns, was chosen to be the theme for the mural - the "lake effect", wind, snow, high and low water years, etc.  Porcelain tiles, permanently bonded to the wall, would be durable.



The Mural depicts all of the seasons, and some of the special geography of Michigan, in abstraction.  All of the tiles are impressed with flora from Michigan, as well as rocks and minerals found in the area.  The tiles consist of 3 sizes of bent triangles, both "lefties and "righties," which were used to generate the motion found in the wind.  One size of straight triangles was used to depict the winter storms which are more fierce in their visual impact.  Rich soil and sand colors are seen near the bottom and the right side has water in its many colors.  The center tiles represent vegetation, the right side represents winter and the center-left depicts a storm.



The Process.  The tiles were made en mass from templates, after impressing the relief into the clay slabs.  After bisque firing, the composition was laid out on the floor and viewed from a tall ladder for final adjustments to the composition.  Separate glazing was performed for Reduction or Oxidation Firing.  The position for each tile was traced onto cement boards and then mortared in place, except for the pieces crossing over seams in the boards which were mortared last.  Then the spaces between all tiles were hand grouted.