Gary Drostle

The River of Life

The River of Life

This 50 foot long ceramic floor mosaic is the focal feature for the three story atrium entrance to Iowa Universities new state of the art aquatic and wellness centre.
The theme of the mosaic is the ‘River of Life’ and was inspired by the nearby Iowa River.

“One of the things that made a big impression with me during my trip to Iowa City was the relationship with the river. In thinking about the concept of Wellbeing it struck me that the idea of the river and the vision of wellbeing as a path through our lives, rather than just a state of being at a single moment in time, came together in the River of Life. This seems also to connect well with the aquatic focus of the CRWC centre.

The River symbolising life is an ancient image connecting our most ancient cultures. The source of the river symbolising birth and the start of life’s journey, the path to enlightenment. The river is the bringer of life and purification.”

In the mosaic each course of tesserae in the river is seen as a life line, flowing through patterned fields inspired by the textiles of Iowa Native Americans, Amish quilts and local basket makers. The golden central zone symbolises life in balance whilst lives out of balance burst out of the boundary much like the Iowa River itself burst it’s banks in the recent flooding.



Project Details

Client: The University of Iowa

Date: 2010

Medium: Unglazed Ceramic and glass

Location: Iowa, USA

Award: NTCA TileLetter Awards 2011 - Best Mosaic