Celebrating Flight in Lancaster

Anita Thomas, Denis O'Connor Studio, and MosaicArt di D.Colledani, Home Savings, Lancaster, 1986-1987. Photo by James Daniel of Daniel Designs

Anita Thomas, Denis O’Connor Studio, and MosaicArt di D.Colledani, Home Savings, Lancaster, 1986-1987. Photo by James Daniel of Daniel Designs

As promised a few weeks ago, we are back with the details about the other space-themed Home Savings mosaic, in Lancaster, California, in the Antelope Valley.

Here the “triptych” design is not chonological, but shows a farmer and a rancher, an orange tree and some cow grazing, flanking the central image of Edwards Air Force Base, with test pilots and planes from many eras, spanning the twentieth century. (Lancaster also has an Aerospace Walk of Honor, profiling pilots and displaying aircraft.)

This is the only Home Savings design by Anita Thomas, a Scripps and Claremont Graduate School graduate who was married at one time to Denis O’Connor. As she described it, “The process was fairly straightforward. The history of the area was simple to track down, then it was a matter of deciding how to organize it.” After input from Denis and Sue Hertel, the mosaic was fabricated by MosaicArt di D.Colledani in Milan, Italy, near the heart of world mosaic-smalti production and instruction.

When the mosaic was installed, the space shuttle reflected the current state-of-the-art in aerospace exploration; now, with the shuttles retired and making their way to museums around the country, this image reflects nostalgia for that recent past as well.

Thanks to Shel Weisbach, James Daniel of Daniel Designs, Kevin O’Connor, Alba Cisneros, Anita Thomas, and the Denis O’Connor Papers at the Huntington Library ¬†for helping to confirm information about the mosaic. (Even a short post can require a lot of research!)

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Yesterday I enjoyed interviewing Marlo Bartels about his work for Home Savings and other corporate public-art clients, and I came back via a second tour of Orange County Home Savings locations, along the coast in Newport, Long Beach, Rolling Hills Estates, Redondo Beach, Torrance, and South L.A. More images from those locations will appear here soon, along with updates to the definitive list. Be in touch with any tips on others to interview or unique stories to tell.

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