Highlands Ranch Hospital

A Story of Emerging Intention

Development crews broke ground on the construction of a new hospital in Highlands Ranch, CO in Spring 2017. The construction of this hospital is in response to the ever-increasing population in the Highlands Ranch area. UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital will include a birth center, NICU, ICU, operating rooms, trauma center, emergency department, cardiac services, and more. The team behind the hospital commissioned Natalie to create transformational glass art for the main entryway walls.

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The Challenge

Natalie received digital renderings of what her work would look like in the hospital as the space was still in the planning stages.  She loved the concept and went to work on the 10-piece commission that will be mounted on the wall of a long hallway at the entrance. When asked about the intention for the piece in DESTIG Magazine, Natalie responded: "I am imbuing the energy of strength, healing and love into the glass so that when people walk through the front entrance they are surrounded by this energy and can carry it to the rest of the hospital feeling supported in whatever challenging situation brought them there." (Read the full article here.)


We Can Be Fixed


Not every moment of this creation process was smooth sailing, but Natalie found meaning and motivation within it all.  While removing one of the ten pieces from the kiln, Natalie noticed a crack. Natalie had used this same kiln firing schedule on works of similar style and size at least 100 times without error. She could not troubleshoot what caused this issue. With a mindset to discard the cracked piece and create a new one, Natalie heard a whisper saying "I can be fixed." Although starting over with a new panel would have been easier, she knew that she was meant to repair this piece. She used a saw to cut out the parts that were cracked and proceed with the repair by integrating new glass. With this message, the glass took on a new intention of "We don't always know why the cracks began, yet ultimately we can be fixed."

The Plot Thickens

Natalie was talking with some colleagues about how the intention of this work evolved when some new insight was revealed to her. It just so happened that these artists had each spent a significant amount of time in hospitals. After Natalie told them about the issues she had in repairing this piece, they connected with the feeling of needing repair yet maintaining their identity and value throughout it all. The message of "We can be fixed" was replaced with " We were never broken."

Natalie wondered how she was going to convey this more advanced intention into the piece. When she returned to the work to wrap it for transit she saw a previously unnoticed crack beginning to form on a different piece. Without this new awareness, it would have been easy to fall into self pity and doubt. Yet instead she decided to celebrate this feature and pushed the crack to the ends of the work so it split. 
Natalie recognized the true intention of this work that had been emerging was a combination of all these signs.

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Emergence of the True Intention

Natalie was able to repair the first broken piece and use it within the installation. However, the second cracked piece is now proudly displayed at the hospital. She uncovered a significant message in this process that directly relates to the intended environment of the work, a place of healing.  Natalie believes that we are shown the cracks so they may be healed and emerge from the experience better than before. Ultimately what is significant is that we do not identify our own ailments, struggles, and flaws as depreciating our worth. Alternatively we could wear life's battle scars proudly and know that our value comes from within.