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USA Mosaic trip – part two – Washington DC

From New York I travelled with the bus to Washington DC. Washington is well known to me because it was my 4th visit. But so far I visited friends and museums in general. I never had a mosaic focus. This time next to seeing good old friends I dedicated two days to a mosaic focus. The first was on the cold and windy Monday April 15 to the Maverick Mosaic Studio of Bonnie Fitzgerald.

Bonnie and I in her garden

Bonnie received me in her studio, which is located in her house in the woods near Vienna, Fairfax County, Virginia. I was astonished that so much high quality and versatile work comes out of this relatively small studio. Next to the studio Bonnie showed me all her wonderful own mosaics and the rich collection of mosaics that she keeps in her house. We chatted and I was surprised that we easily spent two hours exchanging thoughts and information about the passion that connects us.

I departed with the advise to visit the catholic Basilica in DC and an invitation to observe Bonnies class at the Smithsonian Institute the next day.

So the next day I cycled with one of the metro bikes to the Basilica of the Shrine of the immaculate conception. It’s an amazing romanesque church built between 1920 – 1959 at the premises of the Catholic University in Washington DC.

The Basilica is filled with Mosaics! The bishop that oversaw the main decoration period of the shrine, Bishop Shahan, “sought a style that combined the symmetry and eloquence of the ancient basilica (romanesque) with the mystical language of the mosaic and the joy and triumph of the dome (byzantine).” source: the guide book of the basilica, page 8

The mosaic design of the Chancel, the golden mosaic in the dome above the altar, is by Max Ingrand, manufactured by Ravenna Mosaic Co. in 1968. There are 2500 different colors and 50 shades of gold in this mosaic.

Especially impressive are the many side chapels holding mosaics from different diaspora christians living in America.

I in particular liked the mosaic from Lithuania.

In the afternoon of this beautiful day I visited Bonnie in her mosaic tapestry class at the Smithsonian Institute at the Mall in DC. I thank her for this opportunity. It’s always interesting to see how others are teaching. Thank you Bonnie!

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