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Phoenix mosaic unveiled as finishing touch to Findhorn Foundation’s Universal Hall

Leslie Downie (designer and artist) Stuart Voder (Stone Mason) Sebastian Freudenthal (Stonemason) and Marialaura Romagnoli (Assistant Art Director) unveiling the Phoenix mosaic.
Leslie Downie (designer and artist) Stuart Voder (Stone Mason) Sebastian Freudenthal (Stonemason) and Marialaura Romagnoli (Assistant Art Director) unveiling the Phoenix mosaic.

The finishing touches have been made at the Findhorn Foundation’s Universal Hall to honour the community’s history -more than 40 years after it was built.

The pentagon shaped building was designed by British architect George Ripley and constructed by thousands of volunteers between 1974 and 1984.

The hall located at the edge of the Findhorn’s sand dunes was created as the theatre, conference centre and meeting point for the foundation and community.

Around 280 people can sit inside the auditorium, which is primarily used for music, drama, dance, mixed media shows and conferences.

Now the foundation has unveiled a phoenix mosaic to complete their vision for the hall.

It was part of the original vision for the hall but the community did not have the funds to create it at the time.

The mosaic has taken its place as the foundation marks 58 years since it was established by individuals with the shared interests of spiritualism and growing fruit and vegetables.

Together a team of artists, stonemasons and volunteers have been working since April on the large scale phoenix mosaic, which symbolises rebirth.

The artwork is designed in the old Findhorn pottery style in tribute to the foundation’s roots.

Each ceramic piece was designed, shaped, glazed and fired from recycled clay in the community’s pottery.

Project manager Caroline Shaw said the mosaic project had offered a “phenomenal” opportunity for people to learn new skills and socialise.

Mrs Shaw said: “It has brought together a lot of people and they have been able to learn together.

“Many have been living alone, so it was great to be able to get them out to socialise while cleaning the tiles or making them.

“There were a lot of different jobs to do and we even had a group of local builders who worked for free to clear the pathways, which was really amazing.I want to thank everyone who took part in its creation.”

I want to thank everyone who took part in its creation.”

“Throughout this fundraising project many people have came out to give us a helping hand.

“The mosaic represents the foundation, people and the world. It has already created a lot of love and it is so amazing that it is finished.

“It was part of the original vision for the hall. About 38 years ago I was in charge of the project but we simply didn’t have the money or time to complete it.

“The concrete foundations were laid down back in the day and only this year they community decided to complete it .

“It is quite difficult to see the whole mosaic as it is so big and what has been created is so superb.

“I want to thank everyone who took part in its creation.”

The Findhorn Foundation’s chief financial officer, Simon Steadman, said the team had created a “legend” and described the unveiling as a “watershed” moment in the relationship between the foundation and wider Moray community.

He added: ” Like a phoenix rising, the impulse of the foundation burns as strongly as it ever has.

“We will bring this mosaic further to life at Findhorn by recognising everybody’s donations, which help us rise again.”

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