After over 50 years, the bare cinder block walls of Congregation Ohev Shalom’s sanctuary (Wallingford, PA) are now adorned with 14 magnificent mosaic panels representing Jacob’s children. Known as The Children of Israel Collection, these mosaics were designed by artist Heather Bryson. But she did not make them herself. In a unique twist, these mosaics were assembled by congregants who gathered in groups over a period of about 2 years, to embed the elements themselves. In addition to the pieces created by Heather, each person placed their own personal mementoes into the panels. Jewelry, keys, pottery shards, and all sorts of personal memorabilia now reside on the walls so the story of each “tribe” is now also the story of the community.
It was critical to archive each and every object that went into the mosaics. With the panels hung high on the walls, the details cannot be seen. In addition, each object has a story. So, just like in an art gallery, we created a large laminated placard for each mosaic; each placard has a photo of the mosaic, information about the tribe/child depicted, and on the back, photos and stories about every object. In addition, there are photos of the people who crafted each mosaic. We also designed notecards that feature the mosaics.
The project was a marvelous creative undertaking by many, many people and earned Congregation Ohev Shalom a Solomon Schechter Award from USCJ.
Watch the video that we made to see how this all came together.