ALEXANDRIA BAY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The River Hospital in Alexandria Bay will be honoring their post-traumatic stress program participants once again, through a unique process.

The Hospital announced on January 7 that they will be reinstalling their Handprint Wall which features hundreds of former Program participants’ hands. According to a press release from the Hospital, the inspiration for the reinstallation of the wall comes from the Japanese practice of Kintsugi.

The process takes pieces of pottery, joins them together, and adheres them with a mixture of lacquer and powdered gold. It has been known as “The Art of Embracing Imperfection” and practices artfully mending broken pottery. This is exactly what had to be done to the wall when the Hospital’s River Post Traumatic Stress Services has to move locations.

The Handprint Wall featured program participants’ handprints since 2013 and was previously part of RPTSS’s quarters in River Hospital’s former Administrative Office Building. Upon completing the Program, soldiers would be invited to contribute a handprint as their signature to the quote, “The Healing of Invisible Wounds Start Here”.

When the building was removed during construction of the hospital’s new Medical Office Building, RPTSS temporarily relocated to the recently refurbished Macsherry Building. However, RPTSS’s Program Director Bradley Frey said that the art form was too important to be left behind.

“The Handprint Wall was far too meaningful, to me and to my team, to be left behind,” Frey said. “Since this program was started in 2013, over 800 service members have completed it, contributing more than 500 handprints. This 30-foot wall represents the journey of many service members, some of whom are no longer with us. And to save it would require an artful solution.”

Local craftsman Andy Greene devised a way to deconstruct the wall by dividing it into moveable pieces. Since the handprints were not arranged in a grid pattern, the wall was removed in irregular shapes and stored in the basement of the Macsherry Building for more than one year.

Once  RPTSS was comfortably re-settled in River Hospital’s new Medical Office Building Greene went back to work assembling the pieces. After arranging the pieces in the correct place RPTSS’s Creative Arts Therapist Allison Williams filled the seams with a gold-colored filler.

The new wall is now displayed in the Macsherry Building. Pictures of the program’s take on Kintsugi can be found on the River Hospital website.