Spinning Some Gold for “The Saint John’s Bible” Exhibition

On Oct. 23, when we open the two exhibitions Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible and Contemplative Landscape, visitors will be treated to world-class examples of calligraphy and illumination, on a par with the most cherished works of the medieval era. Workers are busily preparing the space in our second-floor Albert and Ethel Herzstein Gallery, where craftsman Tom Hyland spent the day adding a glittering touch to the title wall–the first thing visitors to the exhibition will see.

Because The Saint John’s Bible features the first entirely handwritten and illuminated Bible to be commissioned by Benedictine monks in 500 years, “We thought it would be morally correct to have the letters hand-lettered,” Hyland said.

Using the logo script created by Diane von Arx, one of the calligraphers on the project, Natalie Baca, our graphics designer, developed a computer-generated stencil, called a frisket, which Hyland applied to the wall, then filled in with a metallic gold paint.

If you’ve walked around Santa Fe, you’ve already seen Hyland’s work. He hand-painted the signs for the Cowboys and Indians shop on the Plaza, Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery; Pasqual’s Cafe; and the Hotel St. Francis, among others.

Here’s a peek at how he accomplished our title wall (and it’s your first look, by the way, at the exhibition itself):

Tom Hyland and exhibit designer Caroline Lajoie tested a variety of metallic paints against a swatch of the wall's purple color.

The frisket was applied to the wall.

Tom Hyland got to work filling in the frisket...

...which required clambering up a ladder.

He carefully, carefully peeled off the frisket.

And, voila, the finished, glimmering wall.