Spinalwood

2′ w x 3’3″ h

Dr. Michael Fortini, owner of Merrimon Family Chiropractic in Asheville, NC, was upgrading his clinic in many ways, hiring new staff and improving systems. He decided to take the leap of commissioning a work of art for the first time, and asked Elana to make a mosaic wood sculpture for the waiting room wall.

He and Elana batted around different ideas involving the spine as “outstanding, alive, important,” and central to optimal functioning of body, mind, and spirit. He wanted a subtle sense of energy fields around the spine, with the goal of inspiring in waiting patients a sense of awe at their own bodies and at what happens when a chiropractor adjusts them. Then Dr. Fortini had the idea for Rodin’s statue The Thinker with his back hurting. Elana asked, which vertebra would need adjusting from sitting in that position too long? That’s how the third vertebra from the top became the one out of alignment. The spine, with the vertebrae angled slightly to fit into each other, is already a beautiful 3D puzzle, perfect for sculptural interpretation. And The Thinker’s muscular body inspired Elana to use dense, strongly grained woods like oak and ash. Elana’s first “chiropractic art” was born.

When it was installed, Dr. Fortini held a contest among his patients to name it, and the winner who suggested “Spinalwood” won an IPad tablet. Dr. Fortini and Elana were interviewed for an article in the Citizen-Times (link to article) and they threw a party for the sculpture.

Here’s Dr. Fortini:

I’d never commissioned any art work before. I’d never thought it would be so simple. Elana makes things work out in every way.

Having the sculpture in our waiting room has made a big difference, esthetically for the wall of course and also for the business as a whole. The sculpture gets a lot of attention. Staff and patients are interested in it, uplifted by it. The office feels a lot more elegant. It’s like everyone who’s in the space wants to live up to the art.

Slideshow