How I Spent My Summer Work-cation
December 1st is here, and I’m just finishing up some portfolio images from the summer. In the chill of this December morning, it’s almost hard to imagine how hot it was last July – 104 degrees in the back yard, maybe 112 in the shop, where I was busy welding and spray painting the aluminum railings and cabinets for the exhibit pictured here. This was supposed to be an easy project, and I can only blame myself (and the weather) for how difficult it became.
This work was done for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, to commemorate the work of catholic priests and nuns during the U.S. Civil War for the sesquicentennial remembrance of that painful history. The exhibit, titled “Thy Will Be Done, Catholic Chaplains and the Daughters of Charity in Civil War Richmond,” is housed in the crypt below the sanctuary at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, in downtown Richmond.
I put a lot of myself into my museum projects, even though my name rarely appears in any credit line or recognition panel. But designing and building these exhibits is how most of my life time is spent, and I want the end product to be as good as it can be. So when a client comes to me with a limited idea and a limited budget, sometimes I have to take it farther, even at my own expense.
Within the first two minutes of setting foot into this space for the first time, I had the idea for how to develop the exhibit. The back-lit columns covered with fabric graphic panels punctuating the curved space were not on the client’s agenda, but they loved the idea when presented with it and it just had to be done. Trying to fit an expanded scope of work into a short production schedule meant canceling fishing trips, camping, concerts and other fun things I had in mind for the summer. In the end, though, and viewed from the comfortable distance of a cool December day, it was all worth it.