A Sudden Burst of Creativity and Fundraising

I want to show you a short video we shot in our new Amri Studio headquarters in Portland, OR – snippets of a spontaneous evening of art, dance, song, and philanthropy that I created with my staff, my neighbors, and Kathy Kingston, a world-class philanthropic auctioneer.

We were auctioning time to work with us at the studio to create a small piece of art glass. The proceeds went to support p:ear, a Portland nonprofit that uses art, education and recreation to mentor homeless young people, and has a gallery to display their art. Auction attendees were bidding for time in our studio to work with us and create their own piece of art glass.

Stas Afanisiev, a young professional photographer/videographer in the Portland Area, caught some choice fleeting moments of the evening on video.

A confluence of blessings and motivations resulted in this marvelous evening. I wanted to celebrate:

  • My happiness at moving to the beautiful community-minded city of Portland.
  • My desire to honor my talented new staff and their youthful, receptive, creative, playful spirits.
  • My wonderful neighborhood and awesome neighbors here in the Pearl/ABC/Slabtown area of northwest Portland.
  • The joy of creation: The giant LCD screens you see in the video happened to be in our studio because we were testing them. They are state-of-the-art, commercial 4K LCD screens that will be used in our first digital Donor Recognition project. This will be installed shortly at Boston Children’s Hospital and has animation featuring charming art by children’s book illustrator and artist Elly McKay from Canada.

On the LCD screens we showed with random movies, including a dazzling abstract art Vimeo film that showed ice cubes melting with cool music in the background – and we thought, someone needs to dance in front of this! One of our collaborative artists, David, and a young new dancer, Amanda Ingleheart of the Northwest Dance Project, did the honors. Then our staff member Zak Austin played guitar and sang his own compositions.

Our studio neighbors at Barefoot Sound, which does zero-distortion speakers for rock stars worldwide, loaned us two top of the line engineeredspeakers that filled our entire 5,000 sq. ft. studio with glorious sound.


Singer and voice teacher Daniel Buchanan of re:sound:NW, which he founded, sang Hallelujah, and the amazing Kathy Kingston, who does strategic planning and consulting and award-winning philanthropic fundraising auctioneering, donated her talents to auction off some of our time and attention at the studio for two people to come in and make something in art glass.  P.S. Kathy just published an acclaimed new book on fundraising,A Higher Bid, an Amazon-bestseller in its category.











The serendipity of having world-class speakers and screens, a world-class auctioneer, our own prize-winning art glass on display, the huge talents of our internal team and so many Portland locals, and the excitement about coming together as a community to have some fun and do some good for p:ear… it reminded me of the image of Indra's Net.

A story from both the Buddhist and Hindu traditions tells of the abode of the great god Indra, king of heaven, where hangs a wondrous vast net, much like a spider's web in intricacy and loveliness. It stretches out indefinitely in all directions. At each node, or crossing point, of the net hangs a single glittering jewel. Since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number.

The polished surface of each gem reflects all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number, just as two mirrors placed opposite each other reflect an image ad infinitum. Each jewel reflected in the one gem also reflects all the other jewels, so that the process of reflection is itself infinite.

Each of us is a sparkling jewel in Indra's Net, as is every person around you. Every jewel is connected with all the other jewels in the net; every person is intimately connected with all the other persons in the universe. Each has an independent place within the net and we all reflect and influence each other.

May we all hold this image in mind and remember that we are deeply connected to each other, for good or ill, and have a huge capacity for sharing our creativity and love and hope for infinite possibilities.

Donor Recognition for a Hospital Close to My Heart

Building a new community hospital is an act of love -- and patience and determination and cooperation and generosity!

The new Sutter Santa Rosa (CA) Regional Hospital, right here in the town where Amri Studio has had its home for 30+ years, will open October 25. It was my honor to create the carved and etched crystal Donor Recognition Wall and Plaques that thank the Donors, employees, and community for their part in bringing this great project to completion.

The collage below gives you some highlights -- you may need to click on the image to enlarge it so you can read the captions more easily. Below that, I will tell you a couple of special stories about the project.

Sutter collage a 72dpi.tif

 As glad as the greater Santa Rosa community is to have a new, seismically safe, $284 million state-of-the-art hospital, many of my neighbors felt a deep personal connection to the beautiful old hospital, which was established in 1866.   

Old hospital to compass rose

 This is why we brought some of the key visual details from the old building (above, at far right) into the Donor Art for the new building. In fact, one of the iconic architectural details from the old hospital building became a powerful artistic focal point in the form of a compass rose, used on the main Donor Wall and on smaller Donor Plaques around the building.

Detail of compass rose at santa rosaThis detail says "YOU ARE HERE", and further points into the heart of the new building.The compass is a symbol long used in architecture to ask, "Where are you headed? What is your purpose and intention?" in a profound and metaphorical sense. 

The four directions on the compass are aligned with the true geography of the lobby, showing a heading pointing to the Russian River. This river -- long a symbol of life, community and trade -- empties into the vast and rich Pacific Ocean.  
There is one other very special detail of this installation I want to share with you. Carved in crystal and mounted in its own light box, it is both a tribute to the artist and a gift from his widow to divert and delight children (of all ages, as they say) entering the hospital.

Installing the Snoopy panel 2
Snoopy cartoon horizontal
The artist you will recognize at a glance. His widow, a philanthropist and community acitivist, is Jean L. Schulz. 

My deepest thanks to the team at Sutter Santa Rosa for allowing us to be part of this heartfelt project.



Fundraising Wisdom From a Woman With Heart

6039 Miller-Dwan Solvey House Donor Wall

Pat burnsDuring an interview with our writer/researcher, a delightful client of ours, Pat Burns, president of the Miller-Dwan Foundation, had some compelling things to say about philanthropy and how she works with her Donors. Her insights are both wise and touching, and I want to share them with you.  (The photos accompanying this blog are from the Donor Art Glass projects we did for Pat at Solvey Hospice House and the Amberwing Center for children, teens, young adults and families struggling to cope with mental health and substance use. Both are located in Duluth, Minnesota.

What prompted you to choose an artist like Christina to do your Donor Recognition as opposed to one of the other Recognition companies?

There's a marked difference in the artistry. We felt the project demanded the ability to not just make an intellectual connection with people, it needed to make an emotional and spiritual connection. The engagement of donors in philanthropy is really one that comes from the heart, and unfortunately so many recognition systems come only from the head. They are only about, "Here's your name on the wall, isn't that wonderful, look at you, you did so much." They don't get what philanthropy is all about.

Philanthropy is really an act of love.
Love needs to be communicated with an emotional and spiritual underpinning. It needs to be recognized in a way that is loving and beautiful and reflects the greater part of us. It needs to be inspirational, to come from a place that isn't simply intellectual. Philanthropy isn't just from the mind, it isn't just about show, it's about a grander purpose. Christina as an artist has a way of expressing that grander purpose that exists behind the philanthropy.

Some folks dismiss philanthropists as people who just want big tax write offs.

What we are truly talking about is philanthropy is in its purest form — and when I am working with people, I don't want it to be about the tax benefit. My experience is that people want to be part of something bigger. They really want a deep engagement in things that they believe in. A simple name list doesn't convey that level of engagement. It doesn't go to a deeper belief system.

If donors are just doing it for tax purposes, our job is to remind them of the grandness of the act so that the next time they step forward to do it, they get this inner stirring that says, "This is really bigger than deductions, really a part of something bigger and more important. I am about changing the world."


The artistry in Christina's Donor Recognition elevates the philanthropic act and helps people really understand the grandness of it. That's where everybody else doing Recognition pales in comparison.

So there's a way in which you use Christina's recognition to teach people the real meaning of their gift. I bet they love that!

People are so moved, they cry in front of these Donor Walls. I'll tell you, after we did the first project with Christina's Donor Wall, it was a WHOLE lot easier to do the second one. People GET IT when you go out and talk with them about it -- especially the Donor Wall Christina did for Amberwing.

Campaign donor wall 1 at Amberwing

Our text was, "Love is a little word. People make it big." That's what it's about. They were very moved. And the design — it was a grand presentation of this universe that the Donors were having impact on. They become more important in the universe — and they ARE more important in the universe because they are doing something for hundreds of people who they don't really know, who they may never meet.

I think especially for the hospice project and the kids' mental health project we did, people were really engaged with their hearts in the giving. If I had done a dry and boring Donor Wall, they probably would have been fine with it because that's what they are used to seeing everywhere else. But because we did something different — something deeper — it elevated everything about the act of giving, it elevated everything the community had come together to do.

Photo 3
What's really cool is that the families who come in to use these facilities are inspired by these walls, especially the kids. Our kids' mental health project is using the Donor Walls now as part of their program. They have added a mindfulness piece to the program so that they go and stand before the Donor Wall with the universe and the dewdrops and the fish and the stars and everything.

Then they read through Maya Angelou's poem, they talk about the poem, they talk about having these people [the Donors] care so much about them that they created this facility where they [the kids] can come receive care.

Strong women
               strong men
          protect the children
                     tend the ailing,
               care for the aged
and in fact,
          the entire world. 
                                      —Maya Angelou

They look at the Donor names and the text and the facilitators use that to say to these children, "This is a part of healing because this community loves you." A bunch of names on the wall would never do that. I am deeply grateful that we have Christina's work here. To do anything less would be to diminish all the work that went into creating this facility.

*          *          *

Thank you, Pat. It was an honor to be a part of your loving and healing mission.

Christina blue sig

The Great Healers: Gratitude and Beauty

Nightingale Award

Recently I was asked to reflect on some fascinating questions: How does the Donor Recognition work we do for healthcare institutions directly contribute to their quality of care? Do our installations affect patient outcomes, and if so, how?

These questions were on the application for the Nightingale Product Design Awards, which honor excellence and innovation in healthcare products. They are sponsored by the Center for Health Design, the Healthcare Design Conference and Contract magazine.  

I'll share my answers with you in a moment, but  first I want to announce that we WON the Nightingale Silver Award for Architectural Products! It was a unique experience for me, "pitting" our luminous carved crystal against products like privacy curtains, nurses stations and antimicrobial drawer pulls. 

Christina in booth - Nightingale Award -003

One of the Nightingale judges examines our work at the Healthcare Design Conference last weekend.

I believe deeply that our Art Glass pieces are every bit as important in a hospital as these more obviously practical products. And that's what I explained to the Nightingale panel of architects, facility designers and interior designers who were the judges. 

Our Donor Recognition not only honors our clients’ most generous donors, it inspires new donations that become the capital and operating costs of the whole hospital. Heartfelt, top-quality Donor Recognition is pivotal in building and maintaining these institutions as a community asset.

University of Utah - Eccles for email insertion-1

Our Donor Wall at the Eccles Critical Care Pavilion in Salt Lake City reads, "We are all members of a single family, the family of humankind."

In addition, the exquisite imagery and inspiring words on our artwork promote confidence in patients and a high sense of self-worth in professional and support staff. Our luminous panels also transmit, celebrate and reaffirm a hospital’s mission and values. They help brand an institution -- a vital contribution in today’s competitive market.

Jewish Center Close Up

Donor Wall with olive leaves at San Francisco's Jewish Family and Children's Services

Evidence-Based Design has shown that fine art -- especially when it includes beautiful images from nature, as ours does -- contributes significantly to a patient’s recovery by measurably reducing stress and pain. Dr. Upali Nanda, one of the leading researchers in Evidence-based Design, writes, “Viewing artwork with appropriate nature content has been seen to reduce stress and pain perception, as measured by physiological outcomes such as blood pressure, heart-rate, and skin conductance, in addition to self-report measures.

Jain Malkin, the renowned healthcare interior designer, says, "Real art -- as opposed to decorative art -- touches the soul and reaches the viewer emotionally. It expresses energy, life force, and has deep spiritual meaning that can help the viewer transform pain and suffering to reach a higher state of consciousness."

Each of our pieces of chisel-cut and etched Art Glass is designed as a work of fine art that transmits inspiring messages of spirituality and gratitude. Gratitude has a documented impact on physical and emotional health.

Girl and butterfly crop

Detail of inspirational images and text on our Donor Wall at Children's Hospital Boston

The positive effect of integrating one-of-a-kind, inspirational fine artwork into hospital lobbies was testified to by keynote speaker Knut Bergsland in his keynote at the Healthcare Design Conference in 2005. In describing the impact of hospital lobbies on actual health outcomes and the development of goodwill in patients, families, visitors and staff entering a medical facility, he said, “People’s first impressions when they walk into a building have a disproportionate impact on the rest of their experience there."

Our products are also the vehicles for inspirational messages, welcoming patients and their families as they enter the hospital, and setting a positive and reassuring tone for their whole visit.

I am honored that the team of judges for the Nightingale Awards recognized the important and multifaceted role our Donor Recognition plays in the field of healthcare.

I want to close by saying that I love what I do! I love listening to clients tell me what they need, I love designing, I love honoring the generous souls who support healthcare institutions, and most of all I love that our Art Glass is helping patients heal and return home quickly to their families.

A heartfelt thank you to all our clients for giving us the opportunity to do this work,

Christina sig cropped

The Best Way Forward Is Together

“Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world.”

Two weeks ago I attended an event called LocalMade at Gensler's San Francisco headquarters. Its goal was to connect Bay Area commercial, residential and interior designers with Bay Area artisans of national repute.

Guild sign

Traditional wrought-iron guild sign
of a German glazier 

I was there showing our carved and etched Art Glass. Other artisans came to display their furniture, tile, rugs, lighting, metalwork, even concrete products. As I talked with my fellow attendees and the designers, it seemed like the event had a “guild” feel to it.

Medieval guilds were associations of trades- or craftsmen skilled in one particular field. LocalMade was a meeting of creative people from one particular geographical area. But what if we applied a broader interpretation to the term “guild” and the concept of “buy local”?

The essence of both these concepts is mutual interest, mutual benefit and support. Personally, I absolutely understand that nothing gets done unless people have a sense of good will and connection. What if we built a network of people based on those qualities?


I’m not just talking about vendors and suppliers, I’m talking about people who need product, people who design product, people who are visionaries and who are stewarding Donors for new projects.  We are all connected — most especially by the sense of good will and appreciation we have for each other.

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment
of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly."

This is why we are trying to pull together our whole network. It’s time for us to come together, help each other out, keep each other inspired. We share a common commitment to the highest quality work and an awareness of the many levels — including the spiritual level — on which we work.

Woman touching wall
So let’s really link together and keep abreast of what each other is doing. Here are some ways that we like:

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Please invite us — and each other —  to do the same. Please network and spread the good will. And please call if you have any great ideas about things we can do or create together!

As a close-knit tribe of superb creative people, we refer each other as the best person in the world to do glass in Chicago, carpeting in Alabama, metalwork in New York. We build a creative circle of people who truly care about their craft and about the world.


I mentioned that the Gensler event had a “guild” feel to it. Instead of one particular trade or craft, though, the “guild” I envision is about a level of quality and awareness. It’s about helping each other with resources and networking and staying inspired.

We also need to help keep each other positive in these times. I am so aware that in this economic climate of caution, when one person says, “Uh-oh,” other people do the same thing, almost automatically. Pessimism is contagious — and it’s bad for everyone.

"Because of the interconnectedness of all minds, affirming a positive vision
may be about the most sophisticated action any one of us can take."

Futurist and visionary Willis Harman

What if we spread optimism as readily? I was talking to a local glass provider the other day who told me that his business is expanding. He’s getting more orders — and for exciting projects. Architects have started hiring back some of the folks they laid off. For us, we’re working on a project in the D.C. area, we just completed two projects in Chicago, and two new jobs came through just last week.

If we tell each other the good news, we’ll all start to feel more inspired and optimistic. We’ll get more confident, we’ll invest more in the future, and we won’t be constrained by the fear factor.

Hand with flower

Things  are moving, people have exciting products and projects to offer. Let’s support each other and let’s stay connected. Let’s be aware of who are fellow visionaries and who are the top quality people in the country. Let’s create and share the wealth, with heart and abundant good will.


Photos of our carved and etched crystal Recognition, from top:

From Grit to Gleam at Gensler

Grit to gleam cover and page one

This evening I have the honor of showing our work at Gensler's San Francisco headquarters. This is our second invitation to present there this year and I'm looking forward to chatting with tonight's guests. These will include Gensler's own design team as well as designers from HOK, SOM, and IDA. I'm bringing along several pieces of our carved and illuminated crystal, deep-carved marble, and breathtaking three-dimensional crystal sculptures.

Earlier in the year we were invited to make a presentation to Gensler's San Francisco designers showing them how luminous carved and etched glass can enhance the work they are doing for residential and commercial interiors.

We called the presentation "From Grit to Gleam," referring to our fabrication process, where we start by sandblasting half-inch-thick panels of crystal with industrial grit, then polish, inlay with gold, build beautiful hardwood bracketing, add (and sometimes program) LED lighting, and install these gleaming panels in hospitals, universities, corporations and homes around country.

To illustrate the journey each project entails, our designer Caroline created a photo essay in the form of a clever accordion-fold brochure, which I have put online for you to enjoy.


John ruskinThe brochure closes with one of my favorite quotes, from John Ruskin, Britain's leading writer on art, architecture and culture in the Victorian era. (Like most of the great men of the Victorian Age, he was vehemently anti-Victorian in his beliefs.)

Ruskin quote

 On those words of wisdom, I'm off to Gensler!

Christina sig cropped


Monument-Quality, But Easy to Update

Some of the first questions I am asked by administrators planning a new Donor Wall are: How will we update it? And how will we cost-effectively maintain it? More and more of our clients are also asking, How do we keep the beauty of a custom wall AND have flexibility and ease of updating?

We have developed several successful design strategies that enable very easy updates. Let me give you a quick rundown with examples. 

001Donor Walls from left: St. Mary’s Hospital, Reno; Center for Child and Family
Advocacy, Columbus, OH; Miami Project for the Cure of Paralysis

 We can create designs, like those above, consisting of separate crystal plaques and including many invitational BLANKS set in place during the Dedication. As more donors contribute, you ship us the plaques and the names, and we carve them and ship them back for easy mounting.

002Sunset Center for the Arts, Carmel, CA     M.I.N.D. Institute, U.C.- Davis

We can create a mural, like those above, leaving space on certain panels for your estimated number of names to come. We train your local staff to easily take down these carved crystal panel(s) and pack them into our return crate. (This usually takes less than two hours.) You put up a friendly “placeholder” sign we make for you that tells your public that you have more generous community support coming soon! (The panel is returned with the new names within about ten business days.) You can do this on a scheduled, once-a-year basis to help you with planning and to encourage your donors to get on board!

 003Olives and olive branches at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, San Francisco
We can create a two-layer system, like the one above, where the crystal front name panels are removed by your staff in under an hour and shipped to us for new names to be added. This can be done either once a year or more often. We design the wall so that even when the name panels are out being updated, the art glass layer looks beautiful! For example, in the close-up at right, above, when the Donor name panels are temporarily removed, the beautiful olive branches will remain in place.

004Crystal Donor Wall with removable, printed back-mounted name panels

We can create a two-layer system, like the Donor and Welcome Wall we did for Children’s Hospital Boston, above, where a second, back layer is mounted behind the front carved and etched ART GLASS mural. This second layer consists of fire-polished acrylic panels, digitally screen-printed with Donor names that look like they have been etched. You discard the old acrylic panels and get new panels each year. It will take your staff a few hours to slot the new panels into place.



Here is a diagram showing how we engineer walls such as this.

006 Donor Wall at Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula, Monterey, California

5  You can choose a COMBINATION system, like the six-panel Donor Wall above, that includes both options #3 and #4.This means you can honor your TOP TIER Donors with their names carved in a permanent layer of crystal and recognize other categories of donors on printed, fire-polished acrylic panels that can be swapped out for inexpensive updating. (In the photo above, panel #2 has TOP TIER permanent carved names, while panels 3 through 6 feature a removable back layer of names on acrylic.)

Or, for simplicity’s sake, we can create engraved metal nameplates that clip easily in and out of our beautiful illuminated ART GLASS systems. (These nameplates cost less than carved glass to replace for updating.)

Finally, we can team with a company that provides easy magnetic (or other material) name strips and place them ALONGSIDE our exquisite carved and etched Art Glass panels. (Most of these companies are SIGN companies that have limited custom-art design capacity, and they do not create artisan-quality permanent, monument-style art, so our working in tandem with them is a good way to upgrade their standard offerings.)

We find that our clients usually have two choices: easy (but uninspired) donor signage, or, more artistic but not easily updateable plaques.

We do it differently: We offer both beauty and affordable ease!

Christina sig for BLOG


1.     We can create a two-layer system, as above, where the front name panels are easily removed by your staff in under an hour and shipped to us for new names to be added. This can be done either once a year or more often. We design the wall so that even when the name panels are out being updated, the art glass layer looks beautiful! For example, in the close-up at right, above, when the Donor name panels are temporarily removed, the beautiful olive branches remain in place.


Giving Thanks for 'Acts of Light'

Decorative Glass Magazine blog TOP

Love of glass and love of gratitude combined this week in a blog post by Patricia Linthicum in her "Designers on Design" column on the Decorative Glass Magazine website.

Patricia contacted me with the wonderful idea of doing a blog this week about giving thanks in glass, and asked me about our work creating luminous carved crystal Donor Walls and Tributes that express gratitude to an institution's generous benefactors.

FAITH carving from GinsburgI talked with her about my belief that each donor gift is an "act of light" intended to heal, inspire, illuminate, or educate, and that I see our illuminated crystal Donor Walls as acts of light that are given in return, "completing" the circle.

To me -- and to the men and women who work at Amri Studio -- each piece of carefully designed and carved glass we create is an act of devotion and service — an " act of light" that literally illuminates others' philanthropic and educational acts of light.

In her post, Patricia featured the stunning Naming Donor Tribute we created for Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute (pictured above, on her blog) and I explained the multi-level symbolism of the spiral-shaped "Donor Wall" we created. To enjoy Patricia's full post, click here.

Christina sig cropped

The Delight of Designing for Museums

CA at HCD showI am in Houston this week at the amazing annual expo of the American Association of Museums. Among the wealth of technical exhibits -- such as lighting, display hardware and catalog printing -- there are fascinating booths sponsored by companies that create replicas of our primitive ancestors, life-sized dinosaur skeletons and exotic mammals. What an eyeful!

We have done quite a bit of Art Glass and Donor Recognition for museums in our 35-plus years in the "gratitude business," as I call it. These projects have been some of my favorites, and I thought you'd enjoy seeing just a few. (The links will take you to our website, where you'll find more photos and detailed descriptions of each project.)

Clay Performing Arts with onlooker
A striking carved and etched dancer (from an original image by famed photographer Lois Greenfield) glows in changing day-to-night LED colors at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston, WV. We created a combination Donor Recognition-Art Glass mural in the theater lobby. The design also features a "diamond necklace" of fractals trailing across the crystal panels -- a visual reference to the children’s discovery museum attached to the theater. I'm proud to say that this installation was the winner of a Creativity 35 Award of Distinction!


We also used dramatic photography in this National Baseball Hall of Fame Tribute to the great Buck O’Neil, a player, scout and coach who paved the way for African-Americans in major league baseball. O’Neil was known as a consummate gentleman both on and off the field. It was a special treat to select vintage photos of him -- and of the ballpark he called home -- and render them in etched crystal. We use a proprietary technique to develop and convert photographs into a fine DPI (dot per inch) etchable matrix that we then use to create permanent monument-style, highly readable and realistic 3-D images and portraits.

St. joseph with viewer horizontal
At St. Joseph Medical Center in Baltimore, we created a Heritage Wall that uses images and artifacts from the hospital's long history to create a permanent lobby exhibit of seven niches of carved and etched crystal. The panels not only celebrate the founding and growth of the hospital, they thank the institution's donors while serving as powerful branding and identity statements in the competitive Baltimore healthcare market.

Museum of Fine Arts

At the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, FL, we were asked to create a Donor Recognition wall to serve as an eye-catching piece of art in their lobby. Because the museum is known for its dramatic collection of Steuben glass, we aimed to create an Art Glass piece that showed off the elegance and timelessness of deep V-cut carving in crystal.

The crystal panels are edge-lit by strips of LEDs hidden in custom brackets at top and bottom. Crystal acts like a fiber optic, so when light is directed at the edge of a panel, it travels through the glass, highlighting the carving and making its message visible from quite a distance.

Designing for museums is a fascinating process. It gives us the chance to show our unique ability to create stunningly beautiful Art Glass that also serves practical purposes by providing information, identity statements and Donor Recognition.

If you happen to be in the Houston area, MuseumExpo 2011 runs through the 25th. I hope you'll stop by booth 1604 and say hi! 

Christina sig cropped

Honoring the Architect's Intent

One of our important goals when we create a work of Donor Art is to ensure that it echoes and enhances the architecture of the building in which it will be displayed. I thought you'd enjoy seeing some examples of installations where the gesture of the carefully crafted exteriors and interiors of the building are reflected in our design for the Donor Art.

Prentice collage

This state-of-the-art hospital was designed by architectural partners VOA and OWP/P to be a "family-oriented, feminine building.” To blend seamlessly with the architects' design intent, we used delicately curving, gold-filled ginkgo leaves to adorn a carved-crystal Tribute to the Naming Donor, Abra Rockefeller Prentice Wilkin. The lobby, where the Tribute is installed, feels more like it belongs to a beautiful hotel than a healthcare facility! 

Ginsburg collage
To honor Naming Donor Alan Ginsburg and the Ginsburg Family Foundation, we were asked to create a Tribute to Ginsburg's late wife, Harriet, and their son, Jeffrey, for the new Ginsburg Tower at Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute. Our freestanding Art Glass Donor Tribute in the lobby of the building echoes HuntonBrady’s award-winning design with its breathtaking circular tower. Our Art Glass Tribute -- a spiral "grove" that visitors can actually walk into -- was awarded first place in the Unique Signs category at the 2009 International Sign Contest, sponsored by Signs of the Times magazine.

CHOMP collage
Lastly, I want to show you a wonderful opportunity we had to create a Donor Recognition solution for a hospital that was designed by one of the most famous names in modern architecture. In 1962, Edward Durell Stone was commissioned to design a hospital on Monterey Peninsula, one of the world's most beautiful places. He used an iconic pattern of concentric squares throughout the building, both inside and outside. Today, the hospital uses that icon for its logo.

In designing the Donor Recogntion, we wanted to feature imagery that would reflect the community’s love for its natural surroundings and mesh with the iconic design. Along the bottom of the crystal panels, we used floating bars of DNA sequences that mirrored the shape of Stone's decorative squares. In keeping with the Monterey Bay nature theme, we then had those bars morph into patterns of light dappling on sunlit waters where an egret is poised for flight.

As an artist, I find it a real privilege to create designs that enhance the work of truly talented architects.

Christina sig cropped

Thank You for a Wonderful Year!

8035 St mrys pointing Art condenses the experience we all have as human beings, and, by forming it, makes it significant. We all have an in-built need for harmony and the structures that create harmony. Basically, art is an affirmation of life.

This is the time of year when I look back on what we've achieved and am filled with gratitude for the chance to work with some extraordinary institutions and equally extraordinary people. In 2010, we created Donor Recognition Art for huge medical research institutions and a 12-bed hospice, for a major university and a small but fast-growing community college in the Ozarks. We carved and etched single panels for some clients, and 100-foot-long crystal murals for others. 

Each of these projects was deeply meaningful for me and my staff. Without exception, we were enlarged by the people we worked with, the causes we learned about, and the challenges we met.  Thank you all for the opportunity to practice our art and celebrate your patients, clients, staff members and community of donors! We feel truly blessed!

Here is a quick tour of this year's projects, organized by the purpose of the project.

Donor Recognition Art

8035 St Marys Janitor

8035 St Marys_rose At St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, CO, cascading garlands of roses were carefully carved into eighteen crystal panels, while an etched rosary of pearls and gold-leafed beads led visitors from the lobby into the heart of the building. St. Mary’s deeply held values were carved into the crystal along with the names over 900 donors.

10144 Computer History museum_overview
A crystal wall with individual Donor plaques stretches along a hallway at the amazing Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. This type of wall is extremely flexible, allowing for many new Donors at a wide range of giving levels.

 8033 chomp_overview

8033 chomp_bird The themes of nature and medical science merge in this Donor Recognition System at the Community Hospital of the Montery Peninsula in Monterey, CA. Floating bars of DNA sequences stacked along the bottom of the crystal panels morph beautifully into patterns of light dappling sunlit waters where an egret is poised for flight.

We are always delighted when we are asked back to an institution with whom we have worked before, and this was the case at the Eccles Critical Care Pavilion of the University of Utah Hospital. In 2002-2003, we created a very large Donor Recognition System for them, on which we carved the names of some 2,800 Donors -- every single person who made a donation, from local philanthropists to the hospital janitor!

9105 Eccles_overview
This year we created a smaller "sister" wall to honor yet more donors, who funded the hospital's airy new two-story lobby. In creating this new wall, we used the same materials –- carved crystal and gold-leafing -– the same theme, and the same design vocabulary so that the two walls would have artistic unity.

10102 MiamiI Alum_overview
The University of Miami Alumni Association asked us to design Donor Recognition Art that celebrated the Donors who enabled them to build a beautiful new Alumni Center. We created a grid of interlocking crystal panels deep-carved with Donor Names. A rendering of the new Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center, designed by the celebrated architect Michael Dennis, serves as the backdrop.

10132 NWACC_overview
At the NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, AR, we carved and etched Donor Recognition Art to honor Donors to their Building for the Future Capital Campaign. We used lacy silhouettes of young trees as the background to the Donor Names. These trees characterize the local landscape near the college and reflect the youth coming to college.

Major Donor Tributes

There are some individuals so blessed -- and so generous -- that they are able to make very large donations to the institutions they believe in. We had the honor this year of creating tributes to three such individuals.
The first was Abra Rockefeller Prentice Wilkins, the Naming Donor for the Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago. Mrs. Wilkins is one of Chicago's most treasured philanthropists and an energetic advocate for women’s health. Her donations first established the hospital, then enabled its expansion and move into a state-of-the-art facility that contains one million square feet of top-notch healthcare for women and children.

10123 Chop Plaque At the renowned Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, we created a tribute to Ruth M. and Tristram C. Colket, Jr., whose lead donation enabled the building of the new Colket Translational Research Building. "Translational research" is medical research that is focused on dramatically shortening the time it takes for a scientific discovery to be "translated" into medicine that can heal people -- and this world-famous hospital is a leader in that field.

10108 Shuster overview
10108 Shuster typography In Ohio, our hearts were touched at the opportunity to create a tribute to Benjamin and Marian Schuster, Naming Donors for the Schuster Heart Hospital. Dr. Schuster is a longtime heart specialist and his wife was a major supporter of the arts in the Dayton area. The Schusters were known in their community almost as much for their love of each other as for their contributions to the community. To honor this aspect of their lives, we overlaid some of Shakespeare's poetry onto the Tribute text we wrote: "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep. The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite."

History/Heritage Walls

Also at the Schuster Heart Hospital, which is part of the Kettering Medical Center, we had the opportunity to create a fascinating combination History Wall and Tribute to inventor Charles Kettering, after whom the medical center -- and the town where it is located -- are named.

10107-kettering-sec-A-photo The History Wall consisted of three sections and concluded with photos of Kettering's son, Eugene, and his much-admired wife, Virginia. Charles Kettering was the embodiment of American ingenuity. He is best known for his invention in 1911 of a push-button starter for automobiles -- an innovation that made it possible for women to drive without the help of a well-muscled man to turn the extremely stiff starter crank. By the end of his busy life, Kettering had filed 140 patents, risen to international prominence as an inspiring leader, and become a major philanthropist.

In this History Wall, programmed and colored LEDs light up in sequence to convey a feeling of moving forward — echoing the result of Kettering’s many inventions and the forward-looking work of the Kettering Medical Center.

We created a second and even longer Heritage Walk at St. Mary's Hospital, in a corridor adjacent to the Donor Recognition Art that I described above.  8035 St Marys Corner

6D St Mary's Evolution angle This 100-foot-long carved and etched crystal Heritage Walk weaves together St. Mary's deeply held religious values with the story of its long and colorful history, told in archival photos, words and graphics. Deep, 3-D carved and chisel-cut letterforms and graphic elements "pop" almost holographically. Photographs -- ranging from archival pictures of pioneering nuns to recent pictures of a CareFlight helicopter -- are converted into dots and etched into the crystal using our DPI dither process.

Art Glass

Because we are the deepest carvers of glass and crystal in the country, we are often called upon to create Art Glass installations that are desired for their sheer beauty. This year, we worked with the University of Notre Dame to transform an aerial view of their famous campus into a wall of crystal for their new Alumni Center.

10119 NotreDame_angle overview
I wrote a blog post about this fascinating project in September -- check it out! The post includes a link to a time-lapse video showing us installing this 16-foot-wide mural.

8022 mathews_detail 2 You'll find another fun time-lapse video in my blog about the chapel we created at Prentice Women's Hospital, which I mentioned earlier in this post. The non-denominational Mathews Chapel was built from unused office space, a fact you would never guess when you walk into this sacred space with its "acres" of blossoming almond trees, lit with soft pink LEDs.

8022 mathews_overview

 Lastly, I want to share with you two projects that we have been working on here in the Studio as a way of exploring design and fabrication possibilities. 

9999 Calligraphy A
These graceful calligraphic explorations are a timeless translation of original copperplate engravings that were master’s exemplars of penmanship in 1780's. I think they look amazing rendered in carved crystal.    9999 eyechart_artwork

Another exploration is this eye chart, the design of which is intended to exercise the viewer's third eye. The chart, which was also sourced from an original copperplate engraving, has a lightly frosted background. Delicate V-carved lines and dots, inspired by scientific eyesight diagrams, weave and cascade across the frosted glass. At the bottom, Einstein encourages us to “experience the mysterious –- the source of all true art and all science.”

9999 eye chart

If you've read this far, I commend you! You can see that we had a wonderful -- and very full -- year. Thank you for being part of it!

May your new year be filled with creative joy and deep satisfaction,

Christina sig cropped



Photographs by Gabriel Harber and Studio staff and consultants

Creating Sacred Space

Your sacred space is where you find yourself again and again.

Two years ago we began a very special project! It was a unique opportunity for us both as consultants and a custom Art Glass studio. We were asked to help transform a large unused office into a sacred space at a state-of-the-art women's hospital.

Our design goal was to create a non-denominational chapel that would blend seamlessly with the architectural intent of the project, which was to construct “a family oriented, feminine building,” as design and architectural partners VOA and OWP/P put it.  

Prentice lobby 9-10The new hospital lobby with its gently curving lines is warm and welcoming

After studying the architect's intention and design, we worked directly with the Foundation (the stewardship arm of the hospital), the healthcare art consultants AAR (American Art Resources) and the Donors themselves. We aimed for an environment that worked with the feminine curves of the building and that lent itself to both solace and celebration. The result was a deeply meaningful architectural surround using illuminated crystal panels carved with symbols of fruitfulness, hope, and calm. 

Lobby from their websiteThe location was Chicago’s esteemed Prentice Women’s Hospital, now in a new million-square-foot, state-of-the-art building. The lobby of this amazing institution looks like it belongs in the most elegant high-end hotel. This is truly one of the most beautiful hospitals I have ever been in! Everything is curved and feminine, soft, spacious, welcoming. It's no mean feat to create a feminine feeling in a 17-story downtown Chicago skyscraper!

New prentice plaque 9-10 For the opening of this esteemed hospital in 2008, we crafted a Donor Tribute to Abra Rockefeller Prentice Wilkins, one of Chicago's most treasured philanthropists and an energetic advocate for women’s health.  Her generous gift of $10 million helped Northwestern Memorial Hospital to split off its women’s health services into this new building, which now includes the largest birthing center in the Midwest.  

The office we would be transforming into a sacred space was on the third floor. Its windows overlooked the lobby two stories below. The chapel  would provide a place of sanctuary, spiritual connection and solitude for those in need of comfort — or just a break from the stress of a busy medical setting.  The naming donors were the delightful Mathews family, and it was to be called the Mathews Chapel.

New prentice wall 9-10
Before I explain the imagery and other details of our work, let’s jump to the really fun part — a time-lapse video of the transformation of the window wall of this empty space into a carved crystal “orchard” 8 feet high by 19 feet wide.
(Our thanks to Tom Prost and Ben Varnau of Movco Media Productions, who created the "video.")


Terry painting

We began our transformation of this space by closing off the noisy view of the cement landscape outside and creating full window coverings in the form of warm, multi-colored backers. Their colors would shine through the etched glass to give it life and allow us to control the quality of light inside the room, thus creating a focused meditative space. (At right, Terry Holleman and I work on painting the backing board.) Terry, who is also our cabinet maker, created exquisite makora hardwood brackets to match the extensive interior paneling on the first two floors of the hospital. These brackets hold the art glass panels top and bottom and house the custom multicolored LEDs we programmed to light up the carved glass. Below the brackets and extending to the floor, we installed cream-colored piano-polished laquered panels.

New blossoms and more 9-10 Detail showing deep-carved flowers surrounded by more lightly etched ones

The chapel is a virtual almond orchard in blossom, softly lit, silent and welcoming. Sitting, praying or meditating in the Mathews Chapel, visitors enjoy the simple beauty and lacy quality of the delicate almond branches and blooms, while feeling embraced in a protective bower of trees. It is as if they are taking sanctuary in "God's garden." Nature is a theme that creates calm and serenity. It is spiritual without being directly connected to any specific denomination or belief system.

Single blossom cropped
Amri Studio graphic designer Arlene and I chose almond trees because they are highly revered in many cultures. They are a symbol for fruitfulness, thus perfectly suited to a women’s health center.
In the Jewish tradition, almond blossoms were the model for the flower cups on the Menorah. The almond itself is an ancient symbol of divine approval or favor. It also suggests the protection of valuable contents by a strong shell. This is a parallel to the function of a hospital, and to the purpose of our body, at the heart of which lies our precious spirit, our sacred light.

Madonna raphael The almond shape has appeared for centuries in artwork as the halo around Christ and the Virgin Mary, as in the detail at right from Raphael's Bridgewater Madonna. This shape is also a mystical statement of the union of heaven and earth, which is the very nature of a chapel.

However, the key to creating a design that someone can return to time and again is that it has genuine depth of meaning. In other words, it is rich with symbols that one can discover for oneself and interpret from one's own particular point of view or mood or need on any given day. Good design has intent and symbolism that "holds" the space, even if the viewer may not be fully conscious of it.

New kneeler niche 9-10 We also created a miniature "chapel within the Chapel" in an alcove of the room. This area houses both a kneeler and a stand holding beautiful Muslim prayer rugs. An adjustable beam of warm light shines softly down, almost like a shaft of sunlight making its way through branches.

I felt especially honored to be able to work with the hospital on creating this very special chapel. A space or sanctuary created with reverence, intention and great generosity of spirit is an enormous and wonderful offering.  I also had the opportunity to work with some great people. I especially want to honor Steve Falk, head  of Northwestern Memorial Foundation for stewarding this project with such hands-on, high-integrity leadership.

This is the kind of project I feel truly grateful to have been a part of. It is complex and beautiful architecturally and artistically, and in its achievement of client satisfaction and donor relations goals.  The words that spring to mind when I think of it are holy, sacred, extraordinary and from the heart. My heartfelt thanks go to everyone involved! From donor to development team, admin leadership and facility folks, you are the best!

Christina sig



Photos courtesy Prentice Women's Hospital and Stephen Price

Tribute to a Lovely “Lady”

Notre dame full view

Last spring, we were asked by Kim Cardosi and Ted Kiper of Cardosi Kiper Design Group to translate a photograph of the University of Notre Dame into a large Art Glass piece that would both honor the institution and welcome visitors to their new Development building.

Together, we considered a number of different photographs, and, because Notre Dame is known for the beauty of its campus, we settled on a magnificent aerial view that includes many of the school’s landmark buildings  ––  most notably the historic Main Building with its famous Gold Dome and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart with its lovely Neo-Gothic spire.  

Commencement program from 1891
showing the Main Building

These two buildings – each over 100 years old –  symbolize the dual facets of Notre Dame’s time-honored aspiration: to expand knowledge and deepen belief.

For our part, we decided to carve the aerial photo into three wide crystal panels using a variety of techniques.  The name of the university would be deep V-carved on the front of the crystal, then filled with 23-karat gold leaf. Gold symbolizes strength and wisdom, both attributes of this revered institution.  

 Dither scoop out closeup 
Detail showing the gold letter and tiny scooped-out "dots"
in the carved crystal photograph

The photograph itself - converted by our designers into an array of tiny dots, just as it would be converted into dots for printing – was to be carved on the back of the crystal. We do this by sandblasting each tiny “dot” of the photo, scooping out tiny particles of the crystal to create little bowl shapes that catch the light dramatically. 

 Brick highlightsBrick patterns and window details highlighted by deep carving

To increase the impact of the photo and render it a true work of art, we selected specific details in the photo for special treatments. For example, we picked out leaves in some of the trees, creating an overall pattern that would be pleasing to the eye. We also chose to add texture to the piece by picking out the brickwork on certain buildings and the diamond-shaped tiles on the Golden Dome.

 Approval sheetThe pink areas in this Design Worksheet show which details
 in the aerial photograph were to be highlighted

 Other details were chosen for this treatment because of their importance, such as the famous statue of St. Mary crowning the dome of the Main Building and the cross atop the Basilica. In addition, we consulted the original 19th century architectural drawings to see which lines and features in the designs were given most prominence by the architect. These we also gave special treatment.

  Front closeup

    The “whiter” lines are where we carved and incised pinlines to emphasize certain features of the building.

 Another step we took in converting the aerial photograph into a work of Art Glass was to retouch the photo to remove any distracting traces of 21st century life, such as cars and vans in a parking lot, air conditioners sticking out of windows, trash receptacles, and a lone tractor. Our goal was to create an image of this illustrious university that was timeless.

  Full wall use this one.bmpThe finished wall is 5 feet high by 16 feet wide. It is lit by LEDs from the top and bottom. The center panel is 5 feet high by 8 feet wide.

Ted Kiper was on hand to facilitate when our team arrived to install the panels, and he made a video of the project.

Our special thanks goes to Notre Dame’s project manager, Julie Boynton, who provided phenomenal facilitation. She arranged for a crane to bring our huge crate of carved glass in through a third-floor window and provided millworkers and others to help us do the installation.

This was a huge – and hugely rewarding – project to create. I worked with our graphic designer Caroline to develop the finished design, and computer-photo guru Bruce helped convert the photos (and remove those pesky air conditioners). Our expert sandblaster Patti did all the etching, carving, scooping and lettering; Leo did the challenging and precise layout, Tam gently laid in the gold-leafing.

Thanks to everyone involved for their great effort – and to the people at Notre Dame for giving us the opportunity to create this magnificent piece of Art Glass.

Christina sig



Photos courtesy of Ted Kiper, Charly Rinn and the University of Notre Dame

Designing Deep Meaning Into Donor Art

"Real art -- as opposed to decorative art -- touches the soul and reaches the viewer emotionally. It expresses energy, life force, and has deep spiritual meaning that can help the viewer transform pain and suffering to reach a higher state of consciousness."

--Jain Malkin, leading healthcare interior designer

When my team of graphic designers and I begin a carved crystal Donor Wall, we approach the work as artists. We are not looking to create something that is merely pretty. We are creating real art, so we start by focusing on the deep meaning of the piece, and we choose for images and symbols that will convey that meaning. Of course, we also add straightforward elements -- a formal appreciation statement, donor names and giving levels, and inspirational quotes.

But often the silent language of the symbolism speaks as loudly to viewers as the literal words we carve into the surface of the crystal. This is because we choose symbols and images rich with associations to our cultural and spiritual history.

“Christina Amri fell into a different category than any of the other donor recognition companies I’m familiar with. Her work is so creative. When I first saw her art, I realized you can have so much more than just names on a wall.”

--Mary Lou McCaa, University Hospital Foundation, University of Utah

A good example of how we design deep meaning into our art glass is our recent installation of a Donor Wall at Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula. Let me show you that mural and walk you through why we chose the images and symbols you’ll see.
The process began when Amy Goodman, curator for the hospital’s extraordinary art collection, CEO Steve Packer (far right), Foundation head Al Alvarez (far left), and hospital Board members engaged in a very thoughtful dialogue with designer Arlene Rhoden and myself as artists.

This and most of the other photos in this post are by the talented Gabriel Harber

At first glance, the 10-by-18-foot wall of carved and etched glass appears to be simply an image of Monterey Bay, its blue waters sparkling with sunlight and a snowy white egret lifting into flight on the left side of the mural. Had we been designing this wall for display in a private home, a scene of great natural beauty might have been enough. But to create a true work of art, there must be a deeper meaning.

In this case, our Donor Wall needed to symbolize the dedication, skill and vision of the hospital staff as well as the caring, vision and generosity of its donors. The wall, to be situated in the main lobby of the building, also needed to set a positive and reassuring tone for patients and their families entering the hospital.

Thus, we chose to portray the serene, light-dappled waters of Monterey Bay. Water symbolizes healing (the hospital’s role), it is life-giving, it nourishes our body and spirit. Water is an important symbol in most spiritual beliefs, Western and Eastern alike. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God is called "the fountain of living waters." In addition, water symbolizes wisdom (a reference to the skill of the medical staff).

At Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula, water is also a key feature of the physical environment. Ponds and fountains provide refreshing and relaxing elements inside and outside the buildings. For all of these reasons, we chose to use an expanse of water as the background for our Donor Wall.

The theme of water was picked up again in the deep V-carved quote about generosity from Maya Angelou, words which span nearly the full width of the mural:

When we cast our bread upon the waters,

we can presume that someone downstream
whose face we will never know
will benefit from our action,
as we who are downstream from another
will profit from that grantor’s gift.

Next we wanted to bring in symbols signifying the latest scientific discoveries to express the hospital’s joint mission of compassionate care with cutting-edge medicine. Across the foot of the mural we added short columns of bars, which are stylized images of DNA fragments that have been separated and sorted by size, an essential first step in a creating a genetic profile of an individual.

These floating bars morph beautifully into the patterns of light dappling the sunlit waters. And, because DNA contains our inherited genetic code, this imagery also symbolizes the passing of gifts from one generation to another -- from the hospital’s community leaders and generous donors of the past to those of the future. Lastly, these bars or boxes serve to mirror the distinctive decorative features built into the hospital by its original architect, the renowned Edward Durell Stone.

On the left of the mural, we added the image of an egret spreading its wings either to land or take flight. Incorporating a living creature into the scene brought life, warmth, and a sense of scale to the Donor Wall. It helps viewers connect with the entire mural. Symbolically, birds stand for hope, an important subconscious message for patients and their families. Birds also soar, and the upward movement of the bird portrayed here implies the soaring of thought, spirit and imagination.

Because the egret is shown at the moment it breaks free in flight, it symbolizes Community Hospital’s role as a courageous agent of change and leadership. Immediately to the right, a 23-karat-gold-leafed quotation from local poet Robinson Jeffers ties in with the image:

Lend me the stone strength of the past
and I will lend you the wings of the future,
for I have them.

These inspiring words connect Community Hospital’s tremendous legacy of philanthropy with the promise of an innovative and hope-filled future. They speak to the importance of blending a strong foundation with visionary innovation. (All the quotations we used are from local figures and were collaboratively chosen with help from the hospital foundation. They all “speak to each other” within the design and help form the “graphic landscape.”)

Last of all, and I confess it will be hard to show you here, is the symbolism in the colors and timing of the lighting system we programmed. Soft, multicolored LEDs illuminate the crystal panels in a subtle four-minute cycle patterned after the 24-hour cycle of a day. It begins with the pinks and yellows of sunrise, moves into the brighter light of day, then softens into the turquoise of sunset and the cobalt blue of nighttime. (If you click on the side-by-side image above, you can best see the colors shift in the curving lines at the upper right.)The lighting never shuts off, just as the work of Community Hospital never ends. Both continue day and night, providing healing, inspiration and solace for all who visit.

Al Alvarez, Chief Development Officer of the Community Hospital Foundation, says that patients, staff and volunteers alike are often found standing reverently in front of the wall, “as if they were in church.”

True art, unlike mere graphics, works on many levels. It communicates explicitly and implicitly. It thanks, honors, recognizes, and acclaims. It inspires and it comforts. It touches on our shared history and points toward a mutual and positive future. This is our goal for every work of Donor Art that we create.

P.S. Jain Malkin, whose quote I used at the beginning of this post, is working with us right now on an amazing project. Stay tuned to see what we do with the interactive Kettering Tribute at the beautiful new Schuster Heart Hospital in Kettering, Ohio.

A Fruitful Year

It has been a fruitful year for us at Amri Studio, and we wanted to take a moment to share some of its visual highlights with you before we close for our annual holiday vacation, Dec. 24 through Jan. 3.

From St. Mary's Hospital Heritage Wall

These projects are so recent, they are not yet on our website.  In fact, one of them was just installed last week. Please read on for a sneak preview . . .

We created a 20-foot long Art Glass Mural and Donor Wall alongside a custom Donor Tribute dedicated to J Willard and Alice Marriott at the ultramodern Marriott Research Library at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.


We had the honor of attending the opening of the new building, which was dedicated by former First Lady Laura Bush.

At Boston Children's Hospital we created an inspiring and playful Donor Wall, which included a custom-programmed Interactive Crystal Plaque placed at child height to entertain young patients.

A quiet seating area became a sacred space, the new Mathews Chapel at Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago, when we enclosed the space and mounted softly lit and exquisitely carved Art Glass panels of blossoming almond trees.

Two dark 100-foot hallways were transformed by an Art Glass Donor Wall and separate Heritage Wall, tracing the stirring history and heartfelt values of St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Cascading roses and a rosary of pearls morph into a dotted line showing the route of a 19th century sea voyage, then into railroad tracks marking a journey crossing the Wild West, and are finally transformed into the beads on a teething ring held by a baby in a nurse's arms. These were the key elements in the largest installation we have ever done. 


Wishing you all the happiest and safest holiday season.  We are looking forward to some exciting projects in 2010!

Christina sig 

More Than Just a Wall

Question }  When is a donor wall . . . not just a wall?

Answer }  When its innovative spiral design breaks free from the limits of two dimensions and becomes a breathtaking piece of free-standing Art Glass Sculpture, dedicated to the memory of the beloved wife and son of a medical center's Major Donor.


Institution: Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute in Orlando, part of the Adventist Health System

Donor: The Alan Ginsburg Family Foundation

Source of inspiration: A Biblical quotation provided by the donors:

Faith, it is a tree of life to those that grasp it.


Highlights: 13 crystal panels deep-carved and etched with “Faith” text in eight languages which overlap the vivid images of leafy trees, making the sculpture a memorial grove for the honorees. Panels are mounted in a custom hardwood base and illuminated by soft amber and pink LED's. 

The Meaning Behind the Form: The gently undulating clusters of text visually echo the rhythm of the human heart beat – an apt effect for a cardiovascular facility.

First Place Winner, Unique Signs Category

2009 International Sign Contest sponsored by Signs of the Times magazine

Projects from 2009

As we look back on the many projects we have been privileged to create this year, I think the words that best describe them are "acts of light." I also think this is the perfect way to describe what generous donors do when they make gifts to their favorite institutions: They are truly committing "acts of light" that affect everyone they touch....

light, my light
the world-filling light
the eye-kissing light
heart-sweetening light
. . .
the light is shattered 
into gold on every cloud
my darling
and it scatters gems
in profusion

Donor Tribute and Room Plaques, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 


Personal Tribute to Heather Pick, Nationwide Children's Hospital


Art Glass, Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York

Art Glass, Mathews Chapel at Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago


Donor Wall and Interactive Art Glass, Children's Hospital Boston

Donor Wall and Donor Tribute, Marriott Library, University of Utah


Heritage Wall, St Mary's Hospital, Grand Junction, CO


Donor Wall, St Mary's Hospital, Grand Junction, CO

Christina sig