A Glass Act

How does Kentucky’s largest glass studio keep things interesting? By producing its largest and most ambitious work ever: a 1,000-pound, 10-foot chandelier hanging 35 feet overhead in the atrium at Masonic Homes Kentucky’s newest active lifestyle community, Meadow.

The artists of Flame Run Gallery and Hotshop in Louisville crafted this masterpiece that consists of about 400 individual hand-blown glass pieces assembled in a stainless steel cage. Flame Run owner and chief artist Brook Forrest White, Jr. and five other glass blowers spent more than nine months on the chandelier.

When planning began for Meadow, an employee suggested that a glass structure could be a focal point of the interior. Proposals were solicited from glass artists across the state. All involved agreed that White and the Flame Run team were the obvious choice. The team has produced glass work for clients including Maker’s Mark, Churchill Downs, The Muhammad Ali Center, YUM! Brands, Humana, Greater Louisville Inc. and KFC.

White shared sketches before the work began, but it was more of a concept than an exact blueprint. “It’s like when you do a puzzle, the box has a picture of the finished puzzle. I jokingly told Gary I lost the box cover. We won’t know exactly what it looks like until it’s completely put together.”

White said he’s never created a chandelier as large as this, or with as many individual components.

“That makes it more challenging and more exciting. It will also have its own lighting system, so all these different bursts of color will really come alive,” he said.

Installing the chandelier in its permanent perch was no small feat of engineering. The cage is too large to fit through Meadow’s permanent doors, so it was transported before the doors were in place. Then the cage was hung, lighting was wired, and finally, the glass pieces were put in place by hand, one by one.

Meadow is one of the few communities in the region to offer Life Care – the opportunity to plan for long-term care while living independently. The chandelier will be both the focal point and statement piece of an already state-of-the-art facility. The 120-apartment community will feature an 80-seat theater, a gourmet dining room and an art studio, among other amenities.

“Each piece in the chandelier is individual and unique, just like our residents,” said J Scott Judy, Interim CEO of Masonic Homes. “We try to make living with us a special experience. We think this feature will be a part of that experience and make them feel excited and proud to live here.”