MARQUETTE - As a group of volunteers helped unload the mosaic mural panels that were artist Ed Lantzer's life work, Deb Heinzelman stepped back for a minute to watch, shaking her head in amazement.
She quoted the artist himself, sharing what he had to say about why he did this work.
"I want to know their story. I want to give them hope, to help them dream, and to live and to develop love in its fullest degree," said Heinzelman, a Marquette resident who has been part of a group helping to bring the work to Marquette.
Bringing one of downstate artist Ed Lantzer’s mosaic murals off the truck is a group of volunteers. The truck came to St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette from lower Michigan to deliver the panels, which depict various moments in the life of Jesus Christ. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)
Indeed, Lantzer's amazing work - 30 4- by 8-foot panels weighing 100 pounds each - has arrived at St. Peter Cathedral, brought by truck by Harold "Woody" Woodruff of Petoskey, a trustee of the My Father's Love Foundation, a group established to bring Lantzer's work to the public.
A schedule for when the public will get to view the works in Marquette will be announced soon, Heinzelman said. In addition to setting up the 30 panels, the local group which wanted the work brought here will need to train docents to explain the panels, which are mosaic murals made made up of small wooden diamonds cut either on a 30- or a 60-degree angle.
Four different saws cut the diamonds so that their dimensions are identical. The wood is finished with simple varnish rather than painting or staining so the natural hue of the material remains.
It's a process called marquetry, an art form in which small pieces of wood are overlaid onto another wood surface to form a picture.
Lantzer did the work over the course of his life, much of the time as a homeless person, mostly in solitude in an abandoned school in central lower Michigan.
The panels depict various moments in the life of Jesus Christ, but are more than that.
"People just really have to see them," Heinzelman said.
For Woodruff, who arrived in Marquette Aug. 4 with his brother, Bud, bringing the panels to the Upper Peninsula is an emotional journey.
"Ed's dream of people seeing the glory of God through his work has finally reached Marquette," Woodruff said with a catch in his voice.
The Rev. Ryan Ford of St. Peter said people would be welcome to visit the works in the cathedral now, during the hours the building is open (7 a.m. to 10 p.m.) if they felt they could not wait for the guided docent tours. He had been told the story of Lantzer and his panels and worked to help bring them to the cathedral's lower floor.
"I said I think we have a place where they can be shown," he said. "And here they are."
For more information on Lantzer, who died in 2009, and his artwork, visit myfatherslove.info.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.