Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter will have seen my posts early on Monday morning, about the amazing architectural decorative work that went up on top of Fireworks Gallery in downtown Halifax that morning.
I wanted to share a bit more about this amazing project, and particularly, some more photos.
I actually couldn’t help myself and burst into tears at some point, purely from the fact that someone actually believes in decorative work, in the beautification of a building through locally hand-crafted art of such a scale.
Judy Anderson, owner of Fireworks Gallery in Halifax, has been in that building on Barrington since 1980. That’s 33 years in this location, through thick and thin. She is an avid advocate for the downtown.
Judy says that she first had the idea for a ‘crown’ on the building ten years ago. Partially inspired by a photograph of her building from the late 18hundreds, that shows an iron teapot on top of the building, and partially inspired by the architecture in New Orleans and San Fransisco, she started scale drawings for the project four years ago. Seeing it come to fruition must have been exciting!
Central to the piece is the giant 3D gold-leaved diamond, and the trademark Fireworks Dragon. On a buying trip to Las Vegas, Judy saw lotuses on a fountain, and decided to use those as the imagery, instead of just scrolls.
Judy is also the personal jeweller to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. She made many items for that family, including the crown for the empowerment of his wife, the Sakyong Wangmo, and the couple’s wedding rings.
Judy’s work with the Shambhala Royal family is partially where some of the imagery for the ironwork came from: lotuses and protective vajras.
Judy believes in the downtown area, and in the beautification of Barrington Street. She wants to be an inspiration for the surrounding businesses. One could say, she literally sets the standard higher (above the street!), a real gold standard.
The decorative ironwork was partially made possible by a Heritage District Grant from City of Halifax as part of HRM by design, which was meant to cover 50% of the cost of the project. However, during the realization of Judy’s concept several problems were encountered, which unfortunately blew the budget out of the water.
Nader Parsarad of Pars Ironworks spent 1,000 expert blacksmithing hours executing Judy’s design in six separate pieces, which were then powdercoated. Following this, Judy spent two weeks gold leafing select parts by hand in her home. Contractor Patrick Jardine of Tekton meanwhile spent two months reinforcing the top edge of the masonry brickwork and the roof, building the cornice piece, and the structural supports for the ironwork. What a huge project!
I really love this project, and salute Judy for her courage and vision. I find her enthusiasm truly inspiring.