Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Greener Pastures" Mosaic Installation

For several months - starting in September '08 - I have been working on a large mosaic project headed by my friend and fellow Bay Area mosaic artist Delaine Hackney, pictured below.

Earlier in the year she was commissioned to create a mosaic piece for the front of a new building under construction. This piece consists of 9 pillars, all approximately 14 feet tall and 5 feet around. Delaine named it "Greener Pastures" - for the good times to come - and it now brightens the corner of Adeline and San Pablo in Emeryville, California. After several discussions with the architect and others, the design was honed down to be professional looking, visually captivating and yet not too flashy. Anyone who has ever had to sit in a design meeting hashing out an art project knows how difficult this must have been.

Delaine's final design consists of multiple-sized mosaic circles all in shades of green that sit in a field of 1 inch Penny Round tiles in an off-white color. 650 square feet of these small tiles were required!

But for those of you who know Delaine it will be no surprise that the green circles would not be made of just boring factory tiles!
We used any green tile or bauble that she could find.
And Saundra Warren was commissioned to make 12 green circles of various hues and textures only to have us smash them up to use!

Old tiles, newly bought tiles, found objects like bangle earrings and glass frogs are all included in these circles.

The installation took about three weeks and finished at the end of January '09.

Here are just some of the circles laid out at the begining of the installation.

Our mosaic-artist friend and all-around good egg, Julia Alpers, joined us for the install and was invaluable with her knowledge of perfectly square and level setting. She taught us a lot!

The weather veered from very cold and rainy to very hot and dry.
We worked on ladders and scaffolding and got used to some pretty precarious situations!

As Julia and Delaine would finish a pillar I would move in to grout it.
We were a great team - like a machine!
And for two days Mary Earl, a mosaic artist from Las Vegas, drove all the way up to lend a hand and be part of the action too.

Ichiban, Delaine's beloved dog,

and Julia's Olive, were our doggy support team and provided comic relief.

We were in the midst of some serious construction and at one point Julia was overwhelmed by a desire to pilot this steamroller. I have to say the guys on this job site were great. Helpful, nice, respectful and fun.
As the time passed we raced to stay one step ahead of the window installers!

In this visually over-stimulated world we live in, drivers speeding by will barely notice these pillars.

Pedestrians might notice the multiple colors, textures, sizes and designs as they stroll by.

But for adventurous people who spend time with them - perhaps people who live and shop in and near this building - these circles will provide endless entertainment and visual treasure hunting opportunites. There are 210 circles in total and Delaine and I each mosaicked about half of them. She, of course, did the very special ones!
This job should be done soon so I can post a finished photo without the construction equipment obscuring the view.
See more of Delaine Hackney's work here and Julia Alpers here.


Stacy Alexander said...

Talk about kicking some mosaic BUTT! WOOHOOO! Way to go, gals! Great job! Wonderful job! Your team is a pink-hatted inspiration!! Looks FABULOUS!!!!


AVenefica said...

How great! Love the comraderie expressed here - both in artistic common vision as well as a cool kinship with the construction crew too.