US Forest Service, Timberline Arts Curator, RLK and Company
Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood OR - 2010
4.7’ x 12.5’ opus sectile glass mosaic, restoration
The Blue Ox glass mural at Timberline Lodge is a WPA work of art and a piece of Oregon history.
This piece was about technique and historic restoration. I was selected out of a group of nationally recognized glass artists to restore the glass mural originally built as a WPA project in 1937-38 by Virginia Darce.
The goal was to observe the highest possible standards for art glass restoration and solve several water /structural issues that had haunted the piece in the past. I was able to create “exact match” replacements for damaged pieces of glass so you cannot distinguish the original parts from the new ones. One of the glass factories on the East Coast had made some of the glass originally used and they found some dusty old stock from that time period for me. One particular color was originally created by Virginia Darce where she layered transparent vitreous enamels over an orange opaque glass. It took over 60 attempts on my part to discover and replicate the same enamel color, application density and firing temperature that she used, but I was able to created a perfect match. I also designed a special inner wall to avoid future water damage that allows for backside drainage without affecting the integrity of the glass.
It took four months to restore the mural back to its improved “original” state. Oregon Art Beat OPB aired a feature on the Blue Ox Mural on January 6th, 2011 and the project has been nominated for the National Trust.
In this video from Oregon art beat, we'll show you some of the work that went into the restoration of the Blue Ox.
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