Wayland artist Christina Zwart takes to the woods to create custom installations for the Carriage House at Lee’s Farm

Artist Chritina Zwart in front of the installation
Artist Chritina Zwart in front of the installation

Carriage House at Lee’s Farm, Wayland’s new assisted living community, was built upon Lee’s Farm so it’s fitting that the architecture and interior design reflect the rich history of the landscape. The community, owned by The Northbridge Companies, commissioned Wayland artist Christina Zwart to create unique installations that would complement the farming landscape.

Zwart began her research with a trip to the Wayland Historical Society where she learned that Wayland’s most famous resident was Lydia Maria Child, now famous for writing the song “Over the River and Through the Wood.” Child originally penned it in 1844 as a short poem titled “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day.” It has since taken on iterations as books, poems and the well-known holiday song.

Inspired by Child’s poem, Zwart literally took to the woods to begin her designs and gather materials. The feature piece is a wall installation fashioned from a tree branch and embellished with sparkly beads, crystals and paper flowers. Zwart fastened the delicate flowers by hand from the illustrated pages of the book Over the River and Through the Wood.

"The natural landscape of Wayland's woods dictates my designs," said Zwart. "I take cues from unusually-shaped branches, hollows in trees, gnarly roots -- and go from there. Creating these pieces for the Carriage House enabled me to share my work in the woods, literally allowing me to bring a bit of the outside in."

Added Sharon Ricardi, Senior Vice President of Northbridge Companies: “Christina shared our philosophy that the art and design of the community should focus on local, organic materials. She far exceeded all of our expectations with these gorgeous pieces that bring the woods of Wayland into the Carriage House. They are especially loved by our residents, many of whom have lived in Wayland for decades.”

In addition to the main installation, Zwart created three tapestries that hang in the Carriage House art studio. They feature "outdoor installations" she created in local woods, which she then photographed and printed on satin cloth. Entitled "Pretty Poison," "Roots 'n' Things" and "My Bleeding Heart," each features a collection of colorful leaves, flowers, buds and other items she gathered and assembled into a beautiful arrangement. "Pretty Poison," taken in Green Way woods, features four vibrant leaves "woven" in and out of rows of twigs as if they're climbing the rungs of a ladder. Only the next day did Zwart realize the leaves were poison oak, necessitating a trip to the ER and a few very uncomfortable days.

Prior to venturing out on her own, Zwart designed window installations for Hermes, Valentino, Shreve Crump & Low and Lux, Bond & Green. Today she lives in Wayland with her husband and two children, and helps create stunning environments for a variety of companies and institutions.

Carriage House at Lee’s Farm is a 62-unit, state-of-the-art, senior living community located at 134 Boston Post Road. It offers independent living, assisted living and memory care. Carriage House features an array of amenities for its residents, including a salon and barber shop, computer lab, pub, theater, library, activity room with Wii technology, art studio, open and enclosed courtyards, and a grand dining room. Visit www.carriagehousewayland.com or call 508-358-2800 for more information.


About The Northbridge Companies

The Northbridge Companies develops, owns and manages quality senior living communities throughout New England. As a privately owned company, Northbridge offers innovative, quality senior housing solutions to today’s senior. Northbridge’s thorough market knowledge, combined with solid financial strength, has enabled The Northbridge Companies to grow from a single property in Plymouth, Massachusetts to a portfolio of eight properties (Burlington, MA; Dartmouth, MA; Milford, NH; Wayland, MA; Needham, MA; Plymouth, MA; Tewksbury, MA; Westbrook, ME) serving 605 residents.

Hardy Hasenfuss April 11, 2014 at 06:41 PM
Christina, this is AWSOME work you do!!! You are so gifted in your art and in creating such deep meaning for those who get to admire your work. Your work belongs in every senior living community! Keep doing! Hardy
Argie Shapiro April 12, 2014 at 08:01 AM
I have no doubt Christina will be famous some day. You should see the mural she made with wasabi packets at an exhibit at Regis College. I saw the prints she made on satin paper; they were incredible. I can't wait to see what her next projects are!


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