After several years in the making, the renovation of the glass mosaic affectionately known as Cosmic Jesus or Eggbeater Jesus is finally complete.
Cosmic Jesus, also known as Eggbeater Jesus, who resides majestically on the exterior of the First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama, had been deteriorating piece by piece. This massive, forty-five foot glass mosaic features Jesus Christ in front of the yellow and purple cosmos, earning the nicknames Cosmic or Eggbeater Jesus.
This mosaic was first designed by glass artist Gordon William Smith in 1966, and installed in 1973. However, as the mosaic began to fall apart piece by piece, it was decided in 2016 that it needed a renovation.
Jim Piercey of J. Piercey Studios of Orlando, Florida, was elected to take on the project, along with the Italian Ferrari & Baccic Mosaic Studios, Mosaics Dona Murano, and SunBelt Rentals and Dunlap Contracting of Huntsville.
There are many reasons why glass installations can fail—glass tiles used instead of Smalti, maybe the mounting of the tiles to a netting with epoxy was not the best solution, or the materials were of questionable quality, among other things. Piercey, with Manrico Bertellotti of Ferrari & Baccic Mosaic Studios and Emanuele Barsanti of Barsanti Marble, Bronze, and Mosaic, explained to the church trustees that a repair would be questionable at best—the whole thing needed to be redone. After electing to keep the design of Cosmic Jesus the same, the work began.
The solution was to use Smalti, which are small, thin pieces of glass designed for mosaic work, and generally include “opacifiers” to prevent light from penetrating the glass and instead reflect the light.
The collaboration entitled of J. Piercey Studios designing, Ferrari & Baccic Mosaics printing and cutting the full scale cartoons, and Mosaic Dona Murano to supply the Smalti—one out of very few studios in the world who do so.
After the demolition, manufacturing, and reinstallation over several years, the renovation is finally complete (opens new window).
A detailed article retelling the process of renovating Cosmic Jesus written by Jim Peircey can be found in three parts across the Fall 2016, Winter 2017, and Spring 2017 issues of Stained Glass Quarterly.
To celebrate, the First Baptist Church will hold a Cosmic Christ Mosaic Restoration Festival and Dedication Community Celebration on Saturday, June 4th. It will have local crafters and artisans, food, inflatables and face painting, and tours of the church’s sanctuary. A Dedication Ceremony will follow in the evening.
Cosmic Christ Mosaic Restoration Festival and Dedication Community Celebration
Saturday, June 4th
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 5th
10:30 a.m. (as part of the regular worship service)
First Baptist Church Huntsville is located at 600 Governors Drive in Huntsville.
Visit their website (opens new window) for more information
The back issues of Stained Glass Quarterly, including Fall 2016, Winter 2017, and Spring 2017, are available to purchase through our Store (opens new window).