The last leg of our trip - and also the very last workshop of the Gwoździec project - was in the western Polish city of Wrocław.
Wrocław has a long history dating back over a thousand years. At different points in time it has been part of Germany or Poland, depending on the border. The city’s center still has a large square and traditional architecture.
Handshouse was working in the recently renovated White Stork Synagogue. In the remaining two weeks, they needed to finish painting several animals, two 30’-long cove panels, and the lantern, the topmost structure of the synagogue.
They had an entirely new group of students to train and get skilled enough to paint the hundreds of flowers still left to be done.
Just moving the lantern into the building was a complex project. Because its the only panel that’s mounted into a structure, the team also had to develop a process for painting each side - sometimes upside down or vertically.
After Emily White and Krista Lima gesso’d the inside of the lantern, Jason Bashaw, Nick Farnham, and several others were tasked with getting the background colors on as fast possible.
Savana Vagueiro da Fonseca was painting the very top panel of the lantern, what you might see if you looked directly up from the center of synagogue. Because the old photos of Gwoździec were lit either with dim daylight or candelight, her swirling design was very hard to see.
By comparing the grayscale tones of the old photos with new black and white photos of her tests, Savana was able to reinterpret the shape and colors.
By the time we left Poland, the team was just starting to do test assemblies of the lantern to see how the different parts would connect.