Parley's Undercurrent is located in Salt Lake City, Utah at Fire Station #3 on of the first net-zero fire stations in Utah. “Parley’s Undercurrent” is the predominant art sculpture for Fire Station #3. Focusing on the interior with the North facing 2-story windows bringing the outside in and connecting the lobby to the meeting spaces. There are 300, transparent 9” glass disks that will be domed in shape. These disks mount to the wall with industry standard standoffs.
A work of public art succeeds when it draws people in, causing them to feel more connected to their surroundings. Each of us responds deeply to color, light, and pattern. Whatever else a work of public art may encompass, these elements ensure that the work is accessible to a broad audience. These elements are central to my work and I believe they are important to the fire station #3 project. A successful public art project reflects the dignity, culture, and values of a society. It may be an expression of an individual artist or it may be collaboration among many, but in the end, it becomes part of a larger body of work that contemporary artists, designers, and craftspeople leave to future generations. The ultimate goal is to bring additional illumination and a calming environment to the overall experience for the firefighters and public visitors of Fire Station #3.
Including the community in some way to provide a teaching opportunity to the community giving insights to how the project is fabricated was important for me. Including the science behind the making of glass art. I proposed a community outreach to the firefighters and other stakeholders in the project to participate in making some of the disks to be included in the body of sculpture. The experience with the firefighters was truly amazing, engaging for myself and them. They seemed to take an authentic interest in the process and visiting my studio. Everything went as expected, no major injuries and they completely jumped in ready to create. I wanted to provide a nonjudgemental environment for them to truly express themselves. I hope they enjoyed the time spent together.
There are 300, 9' glass disks individually mounted onto the span of the lobby wall, stairwell wall, and around the corner to the community meeting room. This meandering work bridges the upstairs meeting room and lobby into one cohesive space. 40' x 150' x 4"
Artistic Process And Science
My process is about abstraction. Taking a feeling, environment or a moment in time. Then it is all about the investigation of the subject. I have a worksheet that helps me to abstract the essential attributes of creative thought or idea. This worksheet helps boil down the process for me. For example after talking to the firefighters, Sugarhouse Arts Council and Salt Lake City Public Art Design Board about the overall scope of this work. I extracted keywords from the dialoge, such as calming, serine, the ideology of the community and history of Sugarhouse. Then I walked around Sugarhouse looking for these statements in the community.
I found myself at Sugarhouse Park. I have always been attracted to water and decided to walk up Parley's Creek. Here is where the idea came for Parley's Undercurrent. This Creek connects the whole community and physically runs right through Sugarhouse. I took out my sketch notebook and started a color study with my watercolors and color pencils just getting the colors right was important to me.
At my glass studio, I pulled out my glass Bullseye Glass sample set and tried to match the colors to the color study. Then the fun really begins for me, Thinking about Parley's Creek and how I can make this project look and feel like the creek its self. Playing with the idea of the meandering creek was interesting to me. As I walked along the creek it felt like I was investigating the area, exploring if you will.
Parley's Undercurrent meanders down the wall in the lobby of Firestation #3 and turns the corner and continues up the two-story wall to connect the community room.
I abstracted the color, the feeling of meandering, calming effects of the water translated nicely with the illumination of glass and the undulating shapes of the circular disks in Parley's Undercurrent.