In 1982 I printed the story in 40 tiny photographs each with the image’s corresponding glyph on its mat. The unusual properties of Kodalith paper, a high contrast paper used primarily for mapmaking, enabled me to create unique painterly images.
As I was printing I imagined this work someday installed along a hospital corridor. I hoped it might bring comfort to others, as watching Lavina had sustained me. For nearly 20 years these prints remained wrapped and unshared. In 1997 they were framed and exhibited for the first time at Benham Studio Gallery in Seattle.
Four years later I was a patient at Seattle’s Swedish Hospital where the art collection is an integral part of healthcare. As I walked the corridors of the seventh floor I noticed an empty wall. Might it be long enough to accommodate the whole story of Lavina’s Gift? I imagined the work on that wall, the windows near the last images offering connection to life beyond the hospital. On the day I was to be discharged I asked my husband to bring a tape measure; with it I confirmed that the corridor was long enough.
In 2002 Swedish Hospital accepted my gift, painted the walls, installed bumper railings, and framed ten unique prints in a large composite format that includes Lavina’s words, “People think I’m a little strange, but that doesn’t bother me. The birds are always hungry, and that’s what matters.”