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Commissioned Baptismal Font

Gabriella was commissioned for Peace Lutheran Church in Gahanna, OH, by anonymous donors. So as much as I would like to share the background story and impetus for its creation, it must remain private.

What I can say is that during early discussions of content and functional requirements, one of the clients commented that she wished a dove could be incorporated.

Several days later, while working in my studio on another project, her comment ricocheted off my brain. That was immediately followed by an image of the piece you see above. The impression I felt was that of a stylized version of Winged Victory with the wings rotated back to support a cantilevered bowl.

Form and Function

Part of the functional requirement for this baptismal font, which I sculpted in Russian hard maple, was that it be easily transportable. The base, therefore, had to be slightly larger than the structure to protect it from possible collision with walls while being moved. The “skirt” of the base conceals lockable casters. Also the base contains a small water pump, fulfilling another requirement to incorporate a small “splashing” fountain in the bowl.

I lathed-turned the outer bowl from American black walnut, and then placed a custom-made hammered copper liner inside to actually hold the water. Water lines run from the bowl through the wings down the body into the base and to the pump – all without being seen. My sculptures always involve engineering, but this project pushed me in many new directions.

I am humbled to have been entrusted with this project, blessed with the inspiration for its creation, and rewarded by the response of the donors, ministers and congregation to its grace, power & function. The day Gabriella was installed and dedicated, two infants were baptized. That was one of the most fulfilling days of my career.

Gabriella
3′-2″ h, 2′-4″ w, 2′-6″ d
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