St. Charles Public Library Now Features Local Artist's First Mosaic Sculpture in Terrace Garden
Danielle Casali, a well-respected mosaic muralist from St. Charles, IL poses in the library's prairie-influenced terrace garden with her first mosaic sculpture -- a Luna moth. The work, titled “In Her Light/ inner light”, was officially unveiled to the public, Monday, October 3, 2022. Scroll down for construction photos...
Primarily known as a mosaic muralist, Danielle Casali of St. Charles, IL was eager to attempt her first public mosaic sculpture when responding to the “Call for Artists” issued by the Friends of the Library earlier this year. Their request included preferring a local artist, a nature theme, and a touch of whimsy for the terrace garden at St. Charles Public Library, 1 Sixth Avenue in St. Charles.
Danielle’s Luna moth sculpture titled, “In Her Light/ inner light” checked off all the boxes and was the winning selection from 18 entries. It was officially unveiled at a public ceremony on Monday, October 3, 2022.
Choosing a Luna moth was no accident, but an idea that she said came to her almost miraculously in the middle of the night. It was the perfect subject matter for a variety of reasons, but especially because it is a native species to the Illinois prairie.
Because Luna is the Spanish word for moon, she embellished the moth with astronomical motifs that include constellations, the moon, and stars. Connecting the eight constellations she placed on it are threads of book quotes. These include:
" Second star to the right and straight on till morning” -- Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
"We are already extraordinary for we are made of stars” -- Stephen Hawking
“Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere” -- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
“Mosaic work is something I just can’t stop doing,” Danielle shares. “It creates a beautiful balance of creativity and artmaking. It’s like creating a puzzle, but first making all your own pieces. As I work, it generates a meditative space for me.”
The challenging back story of Danielle’s Luna moth included identifying many types of materials, at each stage of its construction, that would withstand harsh outdoor weather conditions and temperature fluctuations. Constructed from stained glass and mirror on Pal Tiya, foam and steel, she also used self-sealing, weatherproof grout formulated for swimming pools.
Once completed, the sculpture was very heavy requiring multiple attempts at designing its tripod footing for firmer support. Once they were remedied, the entire structure was installed and cemented into place.
Danielle generously credits neighbors and friends for assisting and encouraging her at various steps along the way when she’d hit a barrier.
“So many of my neighbors kept up with the progress of my project throughout the summer as I worked on it in my garage, and also lent a helping hand,” Danielle says. “Creating, transporting, and installing was no small task and it definitely took a village.”
She added that she was grateful to the Friends of the Library for giving her this opportunity and having faith in her.
Danielle, who holds a Master’s degree in sculpture, has been creating mosaic murals since her junior year in college. Locally, she has completed about 12 in the tri-city area and beyond. Her next project will be a collaborative mural for the City of DeKalb for the south wall of their city hall and measuring about 600 square feet.
As Danielle initially explained in her written proposal to the Friends of the Library, “The overarching theme of the artwork, like a good mystery novel, is to inspire wonder and investigation. It is my hope that this piece will also inspire interaction with the library and its resources.”
From concept to completion, this labor of love took six months. Now, glowing in the sunlight and nested in the prairie grasses of the terrace garden, library patrons are sure to agree, Danielle did a stellar job.
Installation of “In Her Light/ inner light” was no easy task requiring some "heavy lifting" to place it correctly.
Welding the framework.
Construction work took place in Danielle's garage with neighbors stopping by frequently to check on its progress.
Sounds crazy but adding aluminum foil is an important part of the chemical bonding process during assembly.
Adding the stained glass and mirrored tiles -- starting to look more finished.