Just about complete. With the help of volunteers from Hope Venture, friends, families, and artists the mosaic is just about finished. We would've finished the green had we not run out of larger pieces of glass. And thanks to someone I met last weekend when she came to work on the project, we will have green to finish up tomorrow. I am amazed at the generous spirit of people, from the giving of materials to the purchasing of caffeine so I could keep working. Today, many people returned to the mosaic to help place more pieces of glass. Some had come last weekend or the first weekend. They expressed their desire to come back because they had enjoyed their previous time working. Others came early in the process today, put a few pieces on, and then came back later and added more.
Each section of the mural holds the story of those who worked on it. I know I've said that before, but I look at the mosaic now and see those stories again. Like the image from today of the little green pieces. A young mother and her three girls came and spent quite a while with us placing glass. We were running out of large pieces but that didn't deter the four. One young gal, maybe 8 years old, had so many questions for me. Her mom shared, in somewhat broken English, that her daughter loved art and anything like what we were doing. I had to say that their visit was a highlight and also one of the challenges of the day. Artistically, it was hard for me to watch people do their "own thing" on the mosaic again after spending such an intense and productive week on it mostly by myself. Yet this is the nature of this project and I knew I had to learn to cope with it. Now, after a few hours, my emotions have mellowed and I think those places of the mosaic are what make it special. It makes it what it is and speaks of the community it has taken to create it.
Over the past few days, I have been astounded by the number of artists I have connected with through the project. Since part of what I'm called to do is to lead and encourage artists, it has been such a pleasure to meet new folks in our community who are creative. These artists are young, old, mosaic artists, painters, sculptors, wood workers, photographers, film makers, and even retired art teachers. The project has drawn people who work construction, teach, lead, work insurance, you name it, I've met them. Grandparents with grandkids, dads with their kids, moms and daughters, brides and their fiances, and all other sorts of relationships are represented in this mosaic. The mosaic is an experience these people have together and they won't soon forget it. My favorite was the fathers and their daughters, especially those who let their girls work, stood back for awhile, then jumped in, and 30 plus minutes later when I looked over - they were still there working! That is sweet, especially when you learn that dad only sees daughter once in a while. It's humbling to think they would spend their precious time together creating art.
Community sums up the day and many days of this mosaic. In so many ways I can't even express them all at this time. But I am thankful for people and I have learned so much from this project.
And now off to have a bowl of ice cream and get rested so I can return to Gateway tomorrow at noon for the final hours of the project.
Ann has worked as a professional artist since 2006. She currently works on her own studio artwork as well as large, commercial works and with other artists in any way she can.