A labyrinth, a healing garden, and a chapel.
Allow me to introduce Tom Schulz. Tom is a philosopher, a creative thinker, a builder, and a brilliant artist. I have paid attention to Tom’s work over the years through pictures and other correspondence. Last week I was able to visit with Tom in Charlotte, N.C. The conversation was most interesting and I was given a tour of Tom’s lovely home and studio, followed by a visit to one of his installations.
Tom is a painter. But, then, he is much more than a painter because over the years he has developed a unique genre in which he molds his designs, his pictures, and his philosophy into environmental creations. He has the ability to listen to a need, turn it into a concept, and then to design and also build a finished product to satisfy that need. After a visit at his home, Tom took me to see the installation of a “healing garden” at the Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte. I had seen a picture of the labyrinth, but walking into the garden itself was most impressive. Here is a picture of the Jack Matney Memorial Courtyard.
Tom explained to me that as the hospital had grown the garden area had been enclosed and somewhat of a problem. Since the area could be viewed and accessed from all sides, it became a perfect place for a meditation garden. Tom came up with the more specific idea of a “healing garden.” I was able to go up to the fourth floor and get a picture of the garden through a window. “Walking the labyrinth” is a wonderful meditation process.
Back to the garden, I was taken with the prayer wall and its theme: “Yet also be still, for healing most likely whispers”
Prayers and prayer requests may be inserted into the openings in the wall. I thought about what a good feeling a person could have while sharing their needs or prayers with others in the garden.
Tom took us back upstairs to see the chapel that he had renovated. The chapel was quiet and beautiful. I was taken with the craftsmanship of the pews and kneeling pads which Tom had built. I was taken with the altar and the back lit 23rd psalm. But most of all I was taken by the levels of conceptuality that had provided this lovely, spiritual environment.
It was difficult to get a really good picture of the area behind the altar due to the backlighting. The installation is done with plexiglass which was etched with a laser and then colored to a pleasing halftone. Tom told me that the circle would represent the totality of spirituality in a non denominational manner.
To design and build a labyrinth, Tom will first paint a picture of what it will look like. These paintings are most often presented to the owners of the installation. After the design is finished, the installation is made by pouring just the right mix of concrete then using acid stains to imbed the colors into the concrete. It’s quite the process. Tom said that he will use liquid latex to mask each area to be stained before applying the color. When he is finished, he will have a sixty foot in diameter replication of his painting.
Now, here’s a picture of Tom with his friend Almetto Alexander. Almetto is in her 90’s, I think and she is working on funding for the first U.S. afro centric labyrinth to be installed at the McCrorey Family YMCA in Charlotte. Details are at http://www.almetto.org/
Tom is helping Almetto raise money for her project in several ways. One of them is to produce a limited number of prints: Tom says: “Like this image but can’t afford to bid on the original? I will make a limited run of 100, 20 inch by 24 inch archival Giclee prints on archival watercolor paper. Each print will be signed and dated and include a certificate of authenticity”—READ IT ALL HERE
Tom has done a number of installations using concrete and stain to put his paintings in locations where they will remain until, as Tom says, “someone takes them out with a jackhammer.” One of the latest was installed in New Bern, N.C. I really liked the picture. Here’s Tom finishing it up:
Oh, Yeah, I almost forgot. Tom has also produced some magnificent note cards featuring four of the labyrinth designs that he painted for the Allmeto Alexander Labyrinth. To help support the project, you may purchase a set. Check out these pictures. You could have unique note cards or give them as gifts. Check out the pics below:
These totally different a beautiful note cards may be purchased at
I guess I could go on and on about Tom’s unique work, but I can do better by sending you to his websites:
and to his more philosophical site,
You will find a very nice article on the history of the labyrinth HERE
So, become a Tom Schulz fan. I’m one.
As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?