Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympia - A Mosaic Garden Sculpture

I finally finished a project that had literally stood behind me, looking over my shoulder, for over a year!
 I have named her Olympia because of the Olympics that are happening right now. A little corny, I know, but I am usually bad with naming my pieces. And she reminds me of how the gymnasts throw their arms into the air when they "stick" their landings.
 I started sculpting her about a year and a half ago. When that part was finished (shown here) I began mosaicking her. 
  As usual I just let the tessarae ramble where they wished....but then I got off track...or became daunted by the difficulty of mosaicking a 3D piece... or I simply lost my train of thought with her. So behind me she stood, silently and patiently reminding me to keep looking for that lost train of thought! 
So finally a week ago I restarted and finally finished her. 

 I love to use mirror, especially for garden mosaics, because it will reflect all the colors around it and camouflage it too. That makes it a much more interesting thing to discover hidden in the foliage.

She is 52 inches tall, 38 inches wide and 15 inches deep.  Made of styrofoam, cement, glass and ceramic tile tessarae. 2012. ©Kim Larson

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mosaic Garden Art: The Sally Jane Flamingo!

My latest mosaic flamingo sculpture arrived at her 
new home yesterday. I was on pins and needles while I waited 
for her new owner to write and confirm she had arrived. 
Here is side 1:

She is now living with Esther K in Maryville, Tennessee. 
This particular flamingo is a special one. 
Esther contacted me to create this piece as a memorial for her friend/cousin named Sally Jane. It turns out that Sally Jane, who died a year ago of cancer, had been a collector of flamingo art. But Esther also shared the history of her friendship with Sally Jane, beginning in childhood. Sally Jane sounded to me like a happy, unconventional woman who brought joy to Esther's life for decades. 
I have a friend like that too.
Esther also shared with me her experience of her friend's passing.
I won't breach her privacy so I will only give a 
brief outline of the story here:
 Esther was planning to be there with Sally Jane when she died but she would have to travel several hours when that time came. 
Near the end, Esther had a dream in which
Sally Jane was in a white room, surrounded by peaceful and protective beings. The beings welcomed Esther but eventually began to lead Sally Jane away. Those beings wouldn't let Esther go with them. Esther woke up at 3:45 that morning. 
A few hours later Sally Jane's husband called to say she had 
passed away at 3:40am. 
This is side 2:

When I read this story, I assured Esther I would allow Sally Jane to 
influence my process, if she would like to! 
I don't pretend to be psychic but 
I simply stayed "open" while I did this mosaic.
I rarely make "pictures" in my mosaics - preferring instead to create 
intuitively and "impressionistically." 
At the end of the first day, I looked at my work and 
realized that I could see what seemed to be an angel
shape where the wing would be. 
I did not in any way create that on purpose! 
 Here is the "angel" wing close-up:

I got the feeling that Sally Jane had been there with me!!
But, more amazingly, was the information Esther gave me when she
received this sculpture yesterday. 
I had allowed the colors and shapes to flow, without planning.  
And I saw that I was using colors that werent 
"normal" for a flamingo - like teals and greens. 
But I figure this is art and therefore there are no strict rules.

Well Esther told me that teal was Sally Jane's color and that 
green is her - Esther's - color! 
That, to both of us, confirmed Sally Jane's presence in 
my studio while I created this flamingo! 
  The Sally Jane Flamingo
July, 2012
4 feet tall x 2 feet wide x 3 inches deep
Styrofoam, cement, glass

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Woodman Of The World - Mountain View Cemetery Part 3

Recently I began exploring Mountain View Cemetery 
in Oakland CA on my dog walks. 

 I have written about it in two previous posts. 
This gorgeous and odd, even eerie, place was designed by the same 
man who created Central Park as well as many other 
treasures of American landscape design. 
And right next door is St Mary's Cemetery. 
Photos of these headstones come from both places.

 But on my walks there I kept coming upon one particular style of 
tombstone - a log...or sometimes a half-cut tree...
or two logs in the shape of a cross. But always logs. 
And when I examined them more closely I would see the inscription 
"Here Lies A Woodman Of The World". 

 Well I had no idea what they were about at all!! 
And many times there would be a 3 dimensional carving of a dove 
sitting on or inscribed into the log also. 

 The dates on these "logs" are very old with most of the 
people having died in the early part of the 1900s at the latest. 
So I came home and hit the computer and, sure enough, 
the info came right up in Wikipedia. 
Woodman of The World started as a fraternal organization 
and then became a huge insurance company. 
Go to the link below to read more about them.

 These people earned these "logs" for a lifetime of loyalty to the 
company and its' community involvement. 
I had never heard of them before! 
You can find some pretty cool history in an old cemetery!
Click on Woodman Of The World to learn more.