Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Cat In Tall Grass" Mosaic Sculpture

 Continuing my newfound interest in sculpting for mosaics 
is my latest one: "Cat In Tall Grass".

This guy is 32" tall. My initial vision was to mosaic him totally in purple glass. I love the effect of that particular color because it appears to be black until you get in into the right light. I think of it as a metaphor for so many things: you can't see it until you really look! I like much of my mosaics to be that way. You only really see them when you take time to linger and look. 

 As it turned out, I already had on hand a lot of green glass but only a little purple. So I rethought my design and decided that this guy would be hiding in the grass. He even has a bee buzzing around the back of his head!

I initially set out to create a pleasing shape that had 
popped into my head. I pretty much achieved it!

Here he is, in situ.

Cat In Tall Grass
December, 2010
Cement sculpture with glass and mirror mosaic
32" tall x 44" around x 16" wide

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Blessing of Jingletown's Virgin of Guadalupe Mosaic Mural

As you may know, the center mural on the Peterson Street Art Wall is a mosaic of the Virgin Of Guadalupe. She was created by me at the request of Cynthia Elliot, the "Mayor of Jingletown",  as a gift to the neighborhood and as a way to stop the gang graffiti on the wall.
  December 12 is traditionally the Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day.  To mark the occasion, Jingletown's own Victoria Slind-Flor and her witch's coven, the Coven of the Sacred Feminine, held a blessing of this mural. The day began with a procession:

The Lady is viewed by many as the patroness of North America and the incarnation of Tonatzin, Aztec Goddess.
This is Victoria Slind-Flor: 
First, the artists were recognized and all the art 
honored as sacred work.
That is me in the middle with Bill Silveira and Saundra Warren.

The first offering was "fire". Incense was lit, passed around, 
then laid at the Lady's feet.

Next, "water" was offered. Each glass came from a different area of the country: the Colorado, Mississippi, Willamette, Potomac, the Oakland Estuary and the Great Lakes.
Cynthia poured the water onto the new rose bushes, which are an essential part of the Lady's lore. Neighbors are being enlisted to water and tend these bushes.

Next was the offering of flowers. Every person took a red flower from a basket and laid it at Her feet.  It was obvious that many of us were saying our private prayers also.

Many flowers were laid.
At the end, a young couple from the neighborhood, who had stood by watching quietly, approached the mural, knelt and prayed. We gave them their privacy and left them to their prayers.

We went back to Victoria's loft for a feast of 
Christmas cookies and cider.
 We all agreed it was a very sweet and unique celebration. 
All photos by Merri Besden

Peterson Street Art Wall and Garden in Jingletown

Last April, the good folks of Jingletown broke ground on a long-planned project: the Peterson Street Art Wall and Garden. I've written about this project in past posts. The wall is long and empty and the "garden" was a messy dog walking area about 10' wide.

The ground was leveled, railroad ties created a "curb",  cardboard was laid to keep weeds at bay, mulch was spread, etc. As usual, the neighborhood showed up in large numbers with each person doing their share. Then the artists started adding their murals.

 By September the artists had been working feverishly and by November it was time to add a walking path and landscaping to the garden area. The center panel of the wall is a mosaic mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe (created by me). She has become a place where people are leaving flowers, candles and other offerings.  So a special area was 
created with railroad ties, gravel, pavers and 
rose bushes in front of her. 

Here is some of the art so far:

 Bill Silveira's Oakland Riviera spray paint graffiti. (Love the "bricks"!)

Carlos Jahen is painting this mural of all the dogs in Jingletown. 
This 'hood is a dog-loving place! Carlos also is the architect of the garden path and landscaping.

 This is my friend Saundra Warren, tile maker and mosaic artist. The "leaves" of this mosaic tree were made by Jingletown residents in her studio. They all have people's names or their pets' names or whatever struck their fancy! 

Then Saundra and I started the mosaic itself. It's still in progress, as much of this project is. 
But it's turning out beautifully so far:

Here is Russ Osterweil, photographer extraordinare. His mural consists of 9 of his photographs printed on ceramic tiles. The surrounding area, painted gray for now, will have some type of "word art" but he is still pondering this next step. Stay tuned!

This is a painting by Jill McLennan. 

Darwin Price, a religious scholar, gives us the Elephant God, Ganesh.

There is more to come. I am waiting for the names of the artists. Stay tuned!

Jingletown Holiday Art Walk 2010

Jingletown just held it's 5th Annual Holiday Art Walk. 
As usual it happened on the first weekend in December. 

 I always show at the 4:20 Gallery, 420 Peterson Street - one half block from the famous Peterson Street Art Garden.  Above is my work, pre-crowds.

This year we had over 300 visitors come through our doors to enjoy everything from jewelry to photography to mosaics. 
Lots of sales and fun conversations were had by all. 
We're starting to think that Jingletown, 
as an art destination, is on the map!!