Wednesday, February 6, 2013

River of Life Mosaic Project Begins

This is the third mosaic project I have led at the Unitarian Church of Berkeley, California. These folks are getting to be real pros at this!
 The theme for the latest mural is River Of Life. I was offered a second story wall over a breezeway area that is approximately 247 square feet. As you can see in the picture, there are stairs on the right side. So I designed the "River" to begin up in the left hand corner and trail off down to the right hand lower corner. I will be working on scaffolding. Not my favorite thing but I have done it before and this scaffolding has stairs and is very sturdy.
The Co-Ministers, Barbara and Bill Hamilton-Holway, wanted to do a series of sermons on spiritual practice. Their theme was "8 Stepping Stones on the Spiritual Journey: Show Up, Practice, Grow, Serve, Go Forth, Give, Create and Love". And therefore there are 8 stones in my river design.
 A simple idea and a simple design. But I knew I wanted to challenge this congregation with a little more difficult production than last time. I wanted to make the leaf-making for the Tree of Life mural seem like arts and crafts. The total size of the design is about 110 square feet. I always design on my computer and have it printed out full size. The above picture a partial view of the art. Each section is labelled, numbered and named. For this project I cut each section out, prepared it for mosaicking on mesh and arranged each section by color. Below is a photo of the pile of pieces ready to go:
The congregation had again donated all kinds of tessarae for this project. And it was my job to divide them up by color and texture and call out which colors would go on which sections of the mural. Each box, in photo below, is labelled to correspond by color with specific  sections of the mural.
So far there there have been two workshops - each held after the Sunday service. This Sunday is the last one and I only have a few odds and ends for them to finish. 
My goal was to have people working together on these larger pieces - using only the tessarae that was right in front of them. People worked shoulder to shoulder. I wanted to control the flow and blending of the color of the "water" as it flows down and around the "rocks". 

 This is a TOTAL experiment for all of us - me included. When these pieces are cut apart and worked on separately, it is very hard to know if my idea is coming together or not. So I have to rely my organizing skills and then just move ahead on a wing and a prayer! Here are the finished pieces, cut apart, organized by section and ready to be installed:

I am also making mosaic pieces myself out of the more special tessarae, like jewelry, watches, rings, gemstones, etc.

All in all there might be about 90 sections I will be installing. It sounds daunting but I am excited to get started and to see if my vision of this mural can come true!

1 comment:

barbara l. hale said...

I can't wait to see the finished product. I'm a Unitarian, by the way. Wish we could put something like that up in our church.