Beauty + Spirit: The Berea Sundial

BC-Sundial-Pattern-Full-HALA powerful symbol of change, sustainability and Kentucky arts and crafts – the Berea sundial will grace the building’s front entrance, welcoming residents and visitors to this very special learning/living environment.

Based on early brainstorming, designers and the Building Team expressed interest in a sundial motif to be featured prominently on the new residence hall.

With the assistance of architects Hastings+Chivetta and Hellmuth+Bicknese, the Berea Art Department explored several themes and materials appropriate for the project. They decided on a large format sundial made of ceramic tiles. Installed on the front façade, this design charts the path of the sun across a geometrical pattern: indicating the time and season, as well as the winter and summer solstice and the spring and fall equinox.

A traditional barn quilt pattern – similar to those found in barns throughout the area ­– is superimposed into the dial geometry. The top row of star patterns represent winter, the middle features spring and fall, with summer at the bottom. Also, two color options differentiate the seasons and shades of blue, highlighting the “Berea Blue” theme.

Four students will lead design and production of these custom ceramic tiles via a new academic course at the college – taught by Sarah Gross, Ceramic Artist-in-Residence, and Philip Wiggs, Resident Potter and Ceramic Technician. During Berea’s Spring Term 2013, this course explores various methodologies to obtain the desired specs for the final glazed product, as well as techniques to break up the pattern for production purposes.

The BC Ceramics Team (faculty & students) has documented their process here.

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