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Artist Eileen Jager’s work at Easthampton Savings Bank

  • Artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton sits on one of her works of glass, "Love Seat", in her Cottage Street Studios space last week. Jager has created a new work to be unveiled Friday at the new Easthampton Savings Bank Loan Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton sits on one of her works of glass, "Love Seat", in her Cottage Street Studios space last week. Jager has created a new work to be unveiled Friday at the new Easthampton Savings Bank Loan Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Eileen Jager demonstrates a cutting technique with the iridescent glass she uses in her work.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Eileen Jager demonstrates a cutting technique with the iridescent glass she uses in her work.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • This is a detail of a love seat created by Cottage Street Studios artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    This is a detail of a love seat created by Cottage Street Studios artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Cottage Street Studios artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton uses iridescent glass in her work.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Cottage Street Studios artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton uses iridescent glass in her work.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • This is a detail of a love seat created by artist Eileen Jager.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    This is a detail of a love seat created by artist Eileen Jager.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Cottage Street Studios artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton demonstrates a cutting technique with the iridescent glass that she uses in her work.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Cottage Street Studios artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton demonstrates a cutting technique with the iridescent glass that she uses in her work.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton talks about the work she makes in her Cottage Street Studios space. Jager has created a work for the new Easthampton Savings Bank Loan Center to be unveiled Friday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton talks about the work she makes in her Cottage Street Studios space. Jager has created a work for the new Easthampton Savings Bank Loan Center to be unveiled Friday.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton sits on one of her works of glass, "Love Seat", in her Cottage Street Studios space last week. Jager has created a new work to be unveiled Friday at the new Easthampton Savings Bank Loan Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Eileen Jager demonstrates a cutting technique with the iridescent glass she uses in her work.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • This is a detail of a love seat created by Cottage Street Studios artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Cottage Street Studios artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton uses iridescent glass in her work.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • This is a detail of a love seat created by artist Eileen Jager.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Cottage Street Studios artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton demonstrates a cutting technique with the iridescent glass that she uses in her work.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Artist Eileen Jager of Easthampton talks about the work she makes in her Cottage Street Studios space. Jager has created a work for the new Easthampton Savings Bank Loan Center to be unveiled Friday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

But it will step into the role of a gallery for the first time Friday when it unveils a 150-pound, 4½-by-4½-foot glass mosaic wall hanging created by city artist Eileen Jager especially for the bank’s Loan and Banking Center at 241 Northampton St.

“I haven’t seen it finished, so I’m really looking forward to seeing it unveiled in its final place,” bank President and CEO William S. Hogan Jr. said. “I know it’s going to be terrific and everyone will see something different in it.”

Jager was selected out of a pool of 30 artists to create the $10,000 work in May after the bank asked local artists to submit proposals for art to be placed in the lobby of the building, which opened in September.

“We were overwhelmed by responses,” Hogan said Wednesday. Members of Easthampton City Arts Plus, a city arts committee, helped bank officials narrow the list of applicants, and finally chose Jager after seeing some of her work in person, Hogan said.

“We were so taken with it,” he said. “Her art is one of a kind.”

Jager, 54, said she has been creating glass art since 1979, but she developed her unique glass mosaic style in 1999. She assembles items ranging from wall hangings to benches and tables from intricately cut pieces of colored, swirled glass that is grouted together.

The piece she created for Easthampton Savings Bank is called “Waterdance.” Using iridescent purple-blue glass as well as mirrored glass in similar hues, Jager crafted an abstract water-themed wall hanging that brings to mind ripples, waves and rivers. Because of the iridescent glass, it looks different from every angle.

“Because of the nature of the material, it’s very alive,” she said in her studio in the One Cottage Street building last week. “It’s all about the relationship between the art, the light and the person viewing it.”

Hogan said that is one of the reasons bank officials thought it would be perfect for the lobby of 241 Northampton St., where light pours in from large windows in the back and the front of the building depending on the time of day. Compared to a still life painting, he said, “Waterdance” will evolve with the position of the viewer, the time of day, even the weather.

“It’s fluid and ever changing,” he said. “When an employee or customer walks by the piece, it’s sure to get a wow from every angle.”

Jager has spent the last four months completing the piece. Her process works like this:

She starts by sketching ideas and then creating a full-scale drawing. She then makes a paper pattern for each piece of glass to be cut.

The sheets of glass — usually about 20-by-35 inches — are made by baking molten glass and, as it cools, spraying oxides and other things onto it to give it its iridescence, swirls and other features.

Using her paper patterns and a silicon carbide cutting tool, she carefully cuts the pieces from the glass, positioning her patterns to make the best use of the features of the glass. She glues the pieces onto a backing — wood, in this case — and grouts them together.

One round piece of glass with swirls that make it resemble a yin-yang is a favorite of hers, she said, so she placed it in the center of the “Waterdance.”

“I’ve been saving it since 1997” for the right piece, she said.

She usually creates her work by order for residential clients to put in their homes or gardens. She once made a piece for a hotel in New Jersey, but she said this will be her first “local, public piece.”

“Whatever I create, I want it to be the jewel of that particular environment,” she said.

Jager said she was encouraged when Easthampton Savings Bank officials trusted her to create something right for the space without asking to see sketches or give feedback.

“This is the greatest gift any client can give an artist when commissioning an original work of art,” she said. “It allowed me to do my best work without pressure.”

The piece has been laying flat on a table in Jager’s studio, so she has yet to see it hanging vertically in the bank.

“I won’t know the fullness of its beauty until it’s installed,” she said. “And things will continue to emerge. I can’t wait for it.”

The unveiling ceremony will take place Friday at 11 a.m. at 241 Northampton St.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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