Saturday, April 30, 2011

83: Back to Reality

Reality, as in, the regular, non-mosaic Saturday job.

I swear there is a smidge of blue paint to the left of the chair. Click on it to see the large (huge) version if you want to be sure. This surprise encounter in the alley on the way to work was too wonderful not to share.

Sweet little lonely barrette. As long as you're clicking on photos, go ahead with this one, too. I think it reads better in a larger version.

Closing up shop at the end of the season. This is next door to my job.

Friday, April 29, 2011

82: End of the Week

The only change here is that the sun has been adhered, and the tiles scrubbed with a little vinegar, which removes the gray haze from the thinset adhesive.

Fall is done! Detail below is the same one from yesterday which grass background filled in.

Summer with two details below. Very little left to fill in on this piece. 

Winter after just two days. I am really amazed and impressed at how quickly this one came together. Moon and bat details below. Spring is set at sunrise, Summer at midday, Fall at sunset and Winter, as you see here, is set at night.

One more exciting outcome of this project for me has been that at least two of the parent volunteers have really taken to cutting and laying the mosaic tiles. It's so satisfying to be able to share and maybe even pass on a little of my love for working in this art form.

I'll be heading back in for a couple mornings next week to help grout, and my husband is building a beautiful sunflower motif bridge to be installed in the school's courtyard garden. Keep your eye out for more updates!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

81: One Done! (almost)

Today we started work on the fourth panel, Winter, and essentially completed laying tile on the first panel, Spring. You can see all four mosaics in progress here.

To save on costs and waste, the students share gloves. Hand sanitizer is how we keep it clean. We tried cheaper vinyl and latex, but these heavier duty gloves can handle more shifts. I've been amazed at the span of hand sizes, from the teeniest tiniest that barely fill the gloves to third graders with hands bigger than my own who can't fit squeeze into them!

Spring, complete. Well, except for adhering the sun in place and grouting. I'm so pleased with the final result, but especially the effect of the sky. I was feeling so nervous about it, but in the end I think it reads successfully as a sunrise.

Spring detail. How darling is that caterpillar??

Fall at the end of its fifth day. For several reasons, both practical and aesthetic, we decided to alter the horizon line from the original flat, straight one. This panel will represent sunset, and I'm feeling much more confident about creating a second gradient with a crowd of elementary students. I find color gradients to be more challenging in mosaic than in other mediums.

Fall detail. The ponds will link across two panels each, Spring to Summer and Fall to Winter.

Summer at the end of Day 3 with details below. As appropriate, lots of insects in this piece!

The circled X is a space saver for a hole by which the mosaics can be hung. There is one in each corner, and I expect the bolts to be used will be huge. These pieces are heavy.


Winter at the end of its very first day with details below. This piece was an incomplete sketch  this morning.


To honor the goal of this project, I have included here only photos that contain blue in them. If you would like to see more, you can find them here. To see the day-by-day of each panel, check this out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

80: Frantic Pace

Only two days left of my "residency." We were hoping to have the tiles laid on all four panels by now so they would be ready to grout tomorrow. We are far from that goal, but I am still impressed by how far we have come. The Summer tree, the third to be completed, was finished in half the time we took to create the Spring tree.

You can see just how many people working at once, round the clock throughout the school day, it takes to get so much done. At this point, each adult (teacher, parent volunteer or myself) can manage anywhere from two to five students, depending on age and grade level. In fact, it works out to about the same number of students at one time as their grade level, so five fifth graders at once, as you can see in the above photo.

The need to complete as much as possible this week sets a pace that doesn't allow for much (any) photography while the students are in class. I took a very quick break while the extremely self-sufficient fifth graders worked to take these two shots of the kids at work.

Spring tree at the end of the day. Hoping to finish this panel tomorrow. Just a little left to fill in the grass in the mid- and foreground and the bottom portion of the sky. The sunrise sky is not working out quite as we envisioned, but so far everything has pulled together really well once the entire area is filled in, so we remain optimistic.

Spring tree detail.  I am thrilled with the color of the grass and the way it pulls the foreground together.

Fall tree.

Summer tree. This is just two days work!

Tomorrow we start on the Winter tree. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

79: Three Trees

This gives some sense of the number of hands involved and the busy pace of this fantastic project. 

We started the third panel today!

The Spring panel at the end of its fourth day, with detail shots below.

Fall panel at the end of its third day, with a detail shot below. You can see we are picking up speed!

This is the Summer panel at the end of its very first day!

Saw this while running an errand this evening. I thought the confluence of the stop sign and the handlettered "If you witnessed a bicycle accident" sign interesting.

Monday, April 25, 2011

78: Back to School

First day of the final week for the elementary school mosaic project. Today we started on the pond in the Spring panel, using  the lovely oblong blue glass globs you can see near the frogs in the foreground and in the boxes in the background.

This is the Spring panel at the end of the day. Green tiles on the left will be used to fill in the grass around the tree, pond, animals and flowers.

And here is the Fall panel at the end of today. Pumpkin patch in the midground and acorn pile in the foreground will get filled in and really come together tomorrow.

I took a break from the current project to photograph some of the students' other cool projects hanging in the hallway.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

77: Easter and More

Bunny with some 'tude.

Homage to my friend Amy and her project, Snow Globe 365. I have a whole new level of respect for her work and her project after my attempts to get something interesting out of this globe. As I was reminded by every passerby as I worked on this photograph, "Wrong holiday, dude."

Something about photos of a bed, even neatly made up, seems inherently voyeuristic to me.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

76: Eggs and Earth

You expected this, right? More tomorrow, I'm sure.

This was our first attempt at egg dyeing with our kids. Given the constant need to pull the toddler away from cracked eggs and spilled cups of dye, I can see why we waited so long with our older child.

Finally made it to the Richmond Earth Day Festival this year, though only for an hour. Can we talk about the awesome gold and pink pattern here? This is the Helping Hands booth.

I thought this apt for this project, considering the tremendous sense of community it has engendered for me.

Wind chimes made from reused/ repurposed trash at our friend's booth in the kids' activities section.

Musical instruments in the same area. The washboard is a repurposed instrument!

Part of the wind chimes from a different angle. 

Main music stage.

Farm to Family bus. Outside...

...and inside.

Banjo player singing his heart out while a fan records the performance.

We did not devote nearly enough time to this awesome festival. I can't wait to go back next year, with kids each a year older and a better sense of what is where. As is so very typical of this type of event, I came away feeling frustrated that I didn't get close to all the shots I wanted to get, but the nine here plus a few others is really more than enough. Perhaps I should take the Monument 10K experience to heart, and devote only 15 minutes to documenting this type of experience. I was so busy taking pictures (and looking for the rain barrel booth) that I missed the tactile experience of the festival.