The future may not be written in stone, but the past is in cork. "Verse," the brainchild of artist Ann Hamilton, is a 6,080-square-foot cork floor with raised lettering detailing three different histories of the world. Located in The Ohio State University's Thompson Library, it was fitting that pro Kevin Jones handled the 2011 install—as an alumnus of OSU, he had a personal history with the space. "I spent many long hours just studying in there," he says. The cork for Verse was prefabricated in 1-by-2-foot panels, each 3/8 inch thick. Jones started with a control line down the center of the room, then used a diagram from the artist as a map for the glue-down install. He kept numbered cork pieces on his left and right, corresponding to their respective sides of the oval-shaped room. Jones had only two weeks to complete the job, and in the spirit of study cram sessions, he hunkered down. To prevent history from literally being erased, Jones didn't sand the floor. So once the install wrapped up, he used patience to add a sealer and three waterborne coats, working carefully so finish didn't pool around the letters. When he completed the job, Jones, now a partner at Reynoldsburg, Ohio-based Jones-Schlater Flooring, felt he'd turned a page of his own history. "Being asked to be involved in this very unique room was an honor," he says. "It just kind of put a cap on my experience at Ohio State."
See a timelapse of the installation, courtesy of Kevin Jones: