My client had been battling cancer for literally decades when I was called. She never said “terminal” or “the end is coming soon,” but it was assumed.
“I don’t want to leave a mess,” she said. “I want to put aside the sweetest and most important things.”
We looked through a few piles of photos, labeled and stored in plastic bags (not the world’s worst mess, I thought) before coming upon a big pile of images of children’s faces: Her grandchildren. Among the images was a ballerina, a couple of fishermen, cherubic faces of babies and laughing swimmers.
They were nothing if not sweet and important.
The wall across from her bed was filled with an enormous painting she liked but described as dark. It was time to surround her with sweetness and light.
With a little work on Photoshop to improve the quality and convert to black and white, we turned 20 images into 20 gallery blocks:
My client’s husband built and painted custom profile shelves to display the images, arranged in such a way as to suggest a single piece of art, like the painting they replaced. A gallery block is a professional print laminated over a solid wood construction. These images are 5-by-7 inches, 6-by-6 and 8-by-10. Here’s a close-up of the back:
Gallery blocks come with hanging brackets, but for this display, we simply propped them in the shelf. In this way, they’re easy to move around or add to. Each block is 1-inch thick. One can simple wrap a loosely cropped image around the edge or in this case, select an edging like this gray damask print.
The result was stunning. And we installed just in time to show it off when her family would be visiting to witness her and her husband renew their vows.
I’m honored I could be part of this project.
“We live in an almost perfect stillness and work with incredible urgency.”
~ Rem Koolhaas