Tribute (mural no. 1 of 6), commission for Central Insurance Company, June, 2008
Tribute, a series of six tile murals, honors the values and history of Central Insurance Company. Words expressing corporate values of Central; integrity, relationships and excellence are integrated with historical images and subjects such as the “Fidelity Medal,” the “Pumper,” the “Van Wert, Ohio Courthouse,” the “1876 Founding Date”
and “Purmort Family Crest.”
The Central Collection of Fire Marks provided inspiration for the other images. Fire marks, relief sculptures dating from the early days of the insurance industry, use imagery and text to identify an insurance company. For example, an early fire mark, the “Fireman’s Grip,” was used by an insurance contributorship founded by Ben Franklin in 1752.
This fire mark image was reinterpreted by sculptors in different times and places for a variety of insurance companies. I too, have reinterpreted “The Fireman’s Grip” and it can be found repeated in three of the murals.
When the overall design concept for the murals was completed, I proceeded with the sculpting phase of the project. I worked with two assistants using oil clay to sculpt all of the images. Metal letters and other materials were used for the geometric framing devices. Once the prototypes were completed, plaster molds were made of the original sculptures. Next, ceramic water clay was pressed into the plaster molds, creating a hollow form with interior walls, much like architectural terra cotta. After drying and bisque firing the ceramic tiles, I sprayed glaze on them and fired them to stoneware temperatures.
The tiles in the murals are designed and arranged to allow the relief, color, images and text to play off of each other. Themes of trust, courage, and service- beauty, mercy and truth emerge from the broad theme of a tribute to Central Insurance Company.
Completed; June, 2008
Artist/Designer/Sculptor: Nancy McCroskey
Assistant Sculptors: John Hrehov and Deborah Miller