Writing about mosaics is like dancing about architecture, or something like that. (I’ve appropriated this quote from a similar one that I just love.) That’s probably why I haven’t written anything in awhile, it’s not that easy for me. That, and the fact that I’ve been crazy busy… with being an “Artist in Residence.”
So, I had been thinking lately that I wanted to say something about being an “artist in residence.” Just to define; being an artist in residence means staying in one place for a period of time to achieve a certain artistic goal. In my case, creating mosaics with people, mostly students in schools and so far, that means grades K through 8. I’ve been loving it. It’s super hard work, physically and energetically demanding. There is so much leading up to the actual residency… planning, proposing, budgeting, preparation of substrates and other materials, making all the artwork come together. Then there is the actual residency. I come to your school early in the day to get ready, then spend the day seeing one class after another. We work on the mosaics together. Students are reminded to either, “Keep your hands off the sticky mesh!” or to “Go easy on that glue! Just a drop and then you stop!” We make sure everyone is safe if they’re using the tile cutters, safety glasses on and away from other students. Then comes the day we get to put the icing on the cake so to speak- the day we grout and fill in all the spaces between the tesserae or pieces. What fun! We make a mess, it’s like playing in mud, but it is so fun and the results are absolutely worth it! The last piece of any residency is the “Grand Unveiling.” This is the time when the students get to show off what they’ve accomplished. Sometimes there is a slide show of the students in process, followed by an actual uncovering of the mosaics. Other times it’s an uncovering and a walk through. Sometimes it’s a “ta da!” moment when parents and students get to see the mosaics all together for the first time. No matter how the mosaics are presented, it’s always rewarding, always thrills me to bits to see how proud and happy everyone is of their efforts. The fact that it’s such a positive and lasting experience is something that keeps me wanting to do more and more. It’s such hard work, and so worthwhile!