By Samantha Herbst
The Saint Thomas More Chapel renovation was finally completed on Oct. 1 with,a 352 pound, 62 by 51 inch, bronze crucifih.
The crucifix was created by artist Alec Smith, who started to work on it in March of 2012. Smith also painted the images of our Patroness, Mary, and Saint John Baptist de La Salle, which were in place when the renovated chapel was unveiled last spring.
Liturgical designer for the chapel renovation Father Jim Notebaart sought Smith for the project after seeing his paintings and sculptures for the Church of the Holy Redeemer in Marshall, Minn.
The manufacturing process of the bronze cross is complex and.time consuming, said Smith. First, a clay sculpture is made then a shell of wax, and a hard shell over the wax is applied over the clay. Smith compared this last part to a chocolate Easter bunny. Then, the wax is melted creating a space where the molten bronze is poured. After this, the bronze sculpture must go through a heating process before the final finish can be applied to its surface.
Smith, a University of Minnesota graduate, currently lives in Saint Paul, Minn., and has been working as an artist in multiple media since 2005.
Smith said, “It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with President Brother William Mann and his immediate staff as well as all the others at Saint Mary’s whom I came in contact with while working on this project. I am fascinated by the concept of sacred space and the objects within that can help facilitate a spiritual experience. It has been an honor for me to be part of this stunning renovation.”
More details about the work that Smith did for our chapel are featured on his website, www.alecmsmith.com.