Giving Thanks

I woke up this morning with gratitude on my mind. This week in the United States we will observe the Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday is a time when we give thanks for family, friends, good health, and good fortune. Thanksgiving is a time to show gratitude for the benefits of everything we have received and will receive.

Thinking of gratitude reminded me of Christina Amri, founder and CEO of Amri Studios in Santa Rosa, Calif. Christina trained in a fourth-generation stained glass studio in Paris over 30 years ago and was able to participate in the restoration of the famed 12th century stained glass of Chartres cathedral!

She says, “We completely dismantled one whole façade of the cathedral’s glass. It was an amazing experience that has inspired all my work since, knowing that each carefully designed and carved piece of glass can be an act of devotion and service — an Act of Light illuminating other philanthropic and educational acts of light.”

Healthcare facilities, non-profit organizations, and schools regularly use honor walls to show appreciation to patrons for donating time and money. When I asked Christina about what it means to design and create these honor walls, she replied, “It means a great deal–not only our carefully conceived and crafted glowing luminescent transparent medium, but the acts of care, generosity, creation, philanthropy, education, research that are the spiritual ‘acts of light’ that caring humans do as part of our antidote to the darker, sharp edges of life, and that we highlight in our thoughtful RECOGNITION Tributes. It’s all about honoring.”

Amri continued, “I really like a very 3-d sculptural piece we did for Florida Hospital. Though it was meant to thank and recognize the man who gave $20 million dollars for their new Ginsburg medical tower, he did not want it to be all about him. A very nice circle of heart is formed – The hospital originally gifted him and his family with great compassionate care, he in turn gifted them with the ability to expand their care facility, which in turn gifts the entire community…. So then the hospital and community honored him and his gift with a beautiful and inspirational glowing architectural glass sculpture and gift to the space. Lovely.”

What design details make the piece special? “It is a spiral of life (DNA, a memorial grove of trees, our spiraling structure of our vascular system, etc.) that echoes the curves of their grand staircase, and the flow of the curving space. It is reflected beautifully in the polished black granite walls in that area. We all tend to reflect good deeds when we experience them! [The donor] requested that we carve a quotation about FAITH in the eight UN languages, to include the wide spectrum of the community it serves. It crosses all faiths.”

If I had an honor wall, I would have Christine Amri design and fabricate it. My wall would include each of you, dear readers, and all of the supportive people at Decorative Glass magazine and Key Communications. Many thanks to you. I am grateful.