Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Indian Elephant Mosaic

This was a recent commission for a person who loves the way ceremonial elephants are decorated in India.
"Indian Elephant"
20.5" long x 14.5" tall
Mirrored and stained glass

More Circus Elephant Mosaics

This is a blue version of the previous elephants done in pinks, reds and blacks.
They are made of mirrored and stained glass on Easyboard.
Tail to trunk, as they are meant to be displayed, they measure 31" x 13".

The Mama Elephant is 16.5" long x 13" tall

The Baby Elephant is 16" long x 10" tall.

These were created in November 2008 and will be on display during this year's Jingletown Holiday Art Walk, December 6 & 7 from 11:30 - 5:00.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mosaic Lemon Bench

My friend, Saundra Warren, and I have just completed our first project. (I've written about Saundra in a couple of previous posts) We started from scratch with just an idea and, voila, the result is this Lemon Bench. And this is Saundra hard at work.

Recently Saundra had purchased a tile saw. As you may know, nowadays when you buy a large item, it is very common for it to come encased in a styrofoam box within the outer cardboard box. Saundra had an idea for us to put that styrofoam, usually a nuisance to dispose of, to good use. We decided to turn it into a cement bench that we could then mosaic. First we covered it with strips of fiberglass mesh dipped in a cement slurry - like paper mache only using cement instead of flour. After we had totally encased the styrofoam with it, we covered it with cement. Tips and techniques on how to do this are all over the web. And it's easy and fun to do too.

Next we needed to decide where the bench would ultimately "live". I have a sweet and rustic little brick area under a lemon tree out in my backyard, so we chose that place. Saundra is an expert at taking leaves, fruit and other organic things and making ceramic tiles and molds out of them.

So we took lemon leaves and lemons from my tree, as well as ivy leaves which grow all around it, and began a long process of creating the decorations for the bench. They came out just great.

With Saundra's personal tutoring on how to get the glaze to come out just right, and after some wrestling with the kilns, our ceramic pieces were ready. We supplemented with factory tiles in various shades of white and with small hits of other color tiles too. I also created some glass and mirror butterflies on Easyboard to add sparkle. Then we grouted with Antique White to keep the crisp white look against the natural colors in the environment.

We are very happy with our first triumph. But we have learned a lot too and will put our new knowledge to use on our next project - "The Persimmon Trio". Stay tuned!

"Lemon Bench"
Kim Larson & Saundra Warren
November 2008
32" wide x 23" tall x 15" deep
Handmade tiles, factory tiles and glass

Jingletown Is At It Again

Jingletown is having a Holiday Art Walk. Yep, that's right! Just in time for the gift-giving time of year. Buy unique presents during our Open Studios - Saturday & Sunday, December 6 & 7, 2008. You'll find everything from furniture to jewelry, mosaics to paintings, postcard art to garden art...and much much more. Everything unique! Each piece hand made! You'll also see a lot of local color and charming characters. You may even meet the "mayor" - she's always lurking about! So come on down! I'll be showing my art at 4:20 Gallery. See you there.

Circus Elephants

Here are my Mom and Baby Circus Elephants.
They are made of mirrored and stained glass on Easyboard.
Tail to trunk, as they are meant to be displayed, they measure 31" x 13".

Individually, the Baby is 16" x 10"
Mom is 16.5" x 13".

These were created in November, 2008, and will be on display during the Jingletown Holiday Art Walk, December 6 & 7, 11:30 - 5pm.

CYC, YAWAV and "Project Peaces" Mosaic Installation

I recently completed a mural project that I am
particularly proud to have been a part of.
Back in August I received an email from a group named
YAWAV - Young Asian Women Against Violence - who had been awarded a grant by
the city of San Francisco to create a mural about peace and
in their building in downtown SF.
I learned while working with this group that in SF there are about 100 homicides per year but over 5,000 instances of domestic violence in that same time period. And each instance of violence can lead to a homicide.
These young women committed themselves to educating other teens
about the problems of violence in their community.

When I first met with them, I was greeted by 6 smiling and eager
teenage girls and their peer leader, Den.
They laid out their ideas for an anti-violence mural and I had to catch my breath! The artist, Susanna, had come up with a very intricate drawing involving
the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, a Mayan temple and the Great Wall of China as well as many other images. I knew this could not be done - not by a group of inexperienced artists and volunteers in a few months, at any rate! But I listened to their ideas about the message of the mural, gave my professional feedback and Susanna went back to her drawing board.

A gifted and intelligent artist, she came back with a perfect drawing that would be
easy for the group to execute and yet told the story they wanted to tell.
This is her second drawing and the one we went with.
The mural is called Project Peaces and is meant to impart the feeling that the "sun" of peace and community can extinguish the "flames" of violence and hatred if all the diverse people of the world work together.

This mural was to be painted on the wall of a staircase and unfold as you walk up the stairs. As you can see it is narrow and therefore almost impossible to photograph!

The process began with the YAWAV girls and the volunteers cleaning and prepping the area. Then we drew the image onto the wall and started painting.

When one first walks in the front door, one is immediately struck by flames and words of violence with a black mosaic bird of doom looming overhead.

The "Crow" is about 18" from wingtip to wingtip and is made of black glass, with flecks of purple, on Easyboard.

As the mural's story unfolds the viewer comes upon a line of children of all ethnicities holding a hose which is dousing the flames.

The "hose" originates at the top of the stairs in a sun filled with words of love, friendship, community and peace. A mosaic dove flies from the sun.

The "Dove" is approximately 18" tall and is made of mirror on Easyboard.

The flags of many nations come together to create a large peace sign over the children.

And sprinkled throughout the mural are mosaic pieces in the shapes of hearts, flowers, rainbows and peace signs created by these multitalented young women to further support their positive message of peaceful coexistence.

Part of the girls' vision was to have mosaics be a part of their mural.
So one Saturday afternoon was spent making glass marble mosaics.

All the substrate shapes had been designed and cut out by me in my home studio. After a short lesson, the girls began work and filled their pieces with trinkets of personal significance to them.

Then I took them home and grouted them. The next Saturday we adhered them to the wall. This mural and those mosaic pieces will stand for a very very long time as a tribute to their vision and hard work.

Of course, between mosaics, painting, SATs, dances and Senior Boat, sometimes
they got exhausted and had to take a break!

Here is a photo of us at the opening ceremony
for Project Peaces, November 21, 2008.

The young women of YAWAV are:
Jenny Vuong - a lively personality who loves to share ideas
Julie Youn - a strong friend who is also the life of the party
Leslie Yip - a tough cookie who is always ready for a laugh
Kelly Liu - a sweet joker and storyteller
Kathie Huang - she's filled with spunk, wit and a willingness to help her friends
Susanna Cheng - the always-happy swimmer and the mural's main artist

and this is their beloved Peer Leader, Den Quinsay.

Here I am inspecting the finished product one last time after the ceremony.
I wish the YAWAV girls luck in everything they do in their lives.
This was definitely a memorable experience for me!
Learn more about YAWAV by going to their website here.

CYC Logo

This is a large mosaic logo I just completed for Community Youth Center in San Francisco. CYC was started in 1970 and addresses problems of violence in the Asian community as well as offering programs for job-readiness, educational enrichment and leadership building.
As usual, photographing glass and mirror mosaics is very difficult and leaves a lot to be desired. This piece is made out of deep purple mirrored glass and other shades of purple stained glass. It is approximately 36" wide by 48" tall and will hang in their offices at 1038 Post Street in SF.