“Peace by Piece,” A mosaic stepping stone installation in collaboration with Artist Carolyn Grane and McClure Middle School. Thank you to Mayor Mike McGinn, the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Seattle City Council members, and McClure PTSA for funding our community art project.
Through an after school program and drop-in art sessions during lunch, students at McClure Middle School had the opportunity to design and create 20 mosaic stepping stones to be incorporated into the “School to Pool” landscaping project scheduled for summer 2012. The stepping stones will be installed along a well-used public sidewalk between the school, community center and swimming pool, and a prominent location as the site of the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market in the Spring and Summer. This public space will be transformed with fresh landscaping, new benches, and a mosaic installation that everyone in the school community had a hand in creating.
The students were so excited to have the chance to create art, and especially when they saw the colorful glass. We purchased beautiful stained glass and mirror tiles, as well as recycled, tumbled glass from Bedrock Industries. The students were fascinated with the glass, and with learning to nip tiles in controlled shapes.
We worked over a template covered with contact paper and laid our glass pieces on top of the contact paper.
Then we taped our tiles into place with tile tape.
When we were ready to adhere the tiles to the concrete paving stones, we removed the contact paper from the back and placed the tiles into the wet mortar. Because we were working in a studio that was COLDER than the cold temps outside, we had to let it set up for over a week, slicing up the tile tape to let air in and expidite dry time.
Finally, we were able to peel off the tape without losing too many tiles, do a bit of touch-up, and then my favorite part, GROUTING!!!
There is always a moment of pause before you slop on the grout. I usually use dark grout, so the transformation is even more dramatic. You cover it in goopy mud, and make a mud pie, just like I used to do as a little kid.
It is so amazing to see the background fill in and unify the design, making the colors pop. Mosaic also teaches us that the negative spaces, the gaps in between the tiles, are just as important as the positive shapes.
Carolyn & I are both so excited about the community art projects we’ve been working on. It is so inspiring to see the joy on the children’s faces as they create. It is a priviledge to bring art to children who don’t have it. They are hungry for it, asking when we will be back to do more art, and when will they see their piece in the finished product.