The Horses of Equamore Mural Project/Artists for Equamore

I can’t believe how much time has passed since my last post, but life has been FULL! Work on the mural continues pretty much everyday and I am doing my best to try and get it up on the wall before July. (But no promises! I can only move so fast.) Keep your ears open for announcements of an unveiling event! It should be a fun one, as Equamore really wants to help me celebrate this with the community of Talent and the Rogue Valley. More on this below.

While working on the mural, I and my friend Lynn Adamo finished and installed the Booker T. Frog sculpture (the T. stands for “the”) on his new mosaic lily “pad” at the McMinnville Public Library at the end of April. (See earlier progress post) We had lots of help from friends to make this work just right. Everyone was excited to see Booker again and even more excited to see the mosaic brighten up the entrance to the library. You can read more about it and see photos over at Lynn Adamo’s great blog post: http://www.lynnadamo.com.

20150429_145142

I have to say I had no idea how many steps would and could go into creating The Horses of Equamore mural. I have done similar work before of course, but each project somehow seems totally different and new. I love a challenge, and rarely tackle anything that isn’t one, but this project turned out to be sort of a reverse-engineered mosaic, which is way more complicated than I originally thought it would be.

Rather than starting with pieces and putting them together to make a whole, I started with big slabs of clay (about 32″ x 24″) and cut them up to create the pieces. 20150517_181721Then those pieces were cut down further to create more and smaller sections. Then those sections were deeply scored to create spaces for grout lines so once filled, the lines would create the illusion of a true mosaic. I keep calling it a faux mosaic, but really it isn’t, it is turning out to be tens of thousands of pieces! 20150518_115420I also carve into the clay to create the critters, landscape, etc. by first tracing my template directly onto the leather hard clay.

20150518_175909Because I am designing grout lines into the pieces, I also realized I’d need to protect those grout lines from the shiny clear glaze I’m using on the rest of the pieces. In order to do that I have to hand wax every single grout line and edge of every piece after it is bisque fired and washed.

It sometimes takes an entire day just to wax a single half section. 20150520_205955However, my hope is that the rough texture of the bare clay will ensure the grout will grab and stay in the grout lines (xx= fingers crossed

I’m using underglazes to create the color on the panels. This is a bit more predictable than regular glaze, as the color applied looks somewhat similar to reality once fired. Regular glazes usually look nothing like the color they are — so what goes on green can come out blue, or what goes on pink can come out green. It’s a little maddening and for me too difficult for this type of work.First panels

Here’s a side by side comparison of underglaze before firing, and after firing with a clear coat on top.

To date I’ve completed about 19 feet of the 27 foot total! The next sections are in the kiln with another one awaiting bisque firing. The finish line is in sight 🙂

While that’s happening, I’m trying to create some work for the special fundraising event going on at the Equamore Foundation on Sunday May 31st. It’s called Artists for Equamore and looks like it should be a great deal of fun. I’ll have garden art, ceramic tile plaques, possibly some new mosaic jewelry, and more!artist event smOver 20 local artists (check out the above link), live music, wine, food, and really great horses! What more could one ask for? Even if it rains we’ll be doing it up in the arena area, so don’t give me any excuses. We need your help to make it a success! 20% of all sales are going to the horses – so come on out. 3-6pm.

Advertisements

Mosaic Mural progress

Another few weeks, another bit of progress on the massive project I’ve titled “The Horses of the Equamore Foundation”.
Here’s the step-by-step progress of the last few weeks on the Horses of Equamore mosaic mural.

image

Clay is rolled out, pieces traced from the earlier produced templates, and then cut to shape.

image

image

After the slab begins to set up a little more, detail can be added, shapes refined, and names stamped into the donor tiles.

image

image

Next the tiles are glazed with an underglaze, which differs from “regular” glaze, in that it goes on more like paint, can be applied before the clay is fired, and is mixable to create infinite colors.

image

Then the pieces are loaded into the kiln, fired to a bit over 1800F degrees, and allowed to cool. Then they are sprayed with a clear glaze to seal the underglaze and make them more durable and relatively impervious to dirt. They are reloaded into the kiln, and fired to a much higher temperature of 2100F+.
This is what the actual piece will look like, plus another 17 pieces the size of this one!

image

I started the next part yesterday. This is Flint, one of the rescued Percherons from Equamore.

I also presented the beginning of the mural at the Ashland Art Center on March 6th along with the 17 other receipients of the first annual Lloyd Haines Philanthropic Foundation Grants. We had a fabulous turn out and it was really fun to see how all the various artists had used their grants and how much it had enhanced their lives and their artistic journey.
My journey continues! I will try to keep you updated regularly through this process so you can share in the fun – and keep the cheerleading coming! I can use all the support 😉

Frog finds a new home (or the creation of the Lily Pond Mosaic)

Wonderful world! My friend and fellow mosaic artist Lynn Adamo and I applied for a large public art project in McMinnville, Oregon last year for a new bus station/rerouting center.

Well, we didn’t get that gig, but luckily for us, one of the folks who was present for that selection process saw and liked our work. They have hired us to do a different project for the McMinnville Library renovation that is happening now! We, of course, said “YES!”

frog3It all started with a bronze frog sculpture that was gifted to the library some years ago.

Frog1frog2

This cute contemplative frog is being relocated because of the renovations. He needed a new home, and we were being hired to create it!

The client requested a mosaic “pond” to be sited in an existing planter bed close to the front doors.

Bed_angled corner1Now… Lynn and I live at opposite ends of the state. We weren’t really sure how we were going to do this, but this is what we decided.

I did the design, color lily pad v4

and she did the in person meetings (since she’s far closer to McMinnville) and got a full sized copy made of my design. We chose and ordered tiles with lots of back and forth, online and on the phone.

And then Lynn made the cutest maquette ever!

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 6.59.29 PMTo begin the hands on part, we met up in Bend, at our friend Rochelle’s awesome studio Wild Rose Artworks (thanks Rochelle), to split the materials and layout the full size cartoon onto mesh.

Next we tiled along the imaginary center line, then when it was set over night, we cut the mesh into two large halves and brought them back to our respective homes to work on them.

20150206_162511So far, this is how it’s going on my end.

20150216_18241220150217_14170720150217_172903

I am also on the search, via a rock hound friend, to find the perfect rock for the frog sculpture to sit on in the center of the pond.

Fingers crossed!

In addition to all this great work that’s finally going on, I was accepted into the Rogue Gallery 2015 Biennial! The show is a collection of works from artists of the Rogue Valley. Please check it out when you can, it opens Feb.20th (from 5-8 pm) and will run through April 10th 2015.

Hope to see you there!

My FIRST Community Built Conference 2014 Davis, CA

What exactly IS this “Community Built” thing you ask? Well…I hope I can describe it in fewer words than the board members did- LOL. I describe it as: Community building and engagement through creative projects.

MRivera mural 2

Mosaic mural detail- Mark Rivera, artist Davis, CA

It all began with a bunch of playground designers and muralists “back in the day” (the 1970’s), and it’s not only still going strong, but is growing as a group and as a movement. All over the world folks like the 100 or so that gathered in Davis, California two weeks ago are yearning for connection. I am one of those folks and I didn’t really know it until I got there!

I had a hint these were my people when they said in the invite to “wear your messy clothes”, but I didn’t realize until I saw the projects these folks had pulled off, met the folks who fearlessly created and engaged with communities around the world, and heard the amazing speakers who are more concerned with bringing folks together than in a fat paycheck -how much I resonated with what was happening there at the conference.

Let me wow you with some photos from the weekend:

Leaf bench 6

Cottonwood bench, created by the artists of CBA Conference 2014

 

This is a Cottonwood leaf bench- created in under 4 days by volunteers from CBA with mosaic artist Donna Billick at the helm (almost done – and look- Amanda has on overalls!) 🙂 Those of you who know me know I LIVE in mine. 🙂

Street paint 5

City Repair project led by Mark Rivera, Davis, CA

Here I am painting the intersection/street with neighbors and CBA conference goers led by Mark Rivera- at 4th and K St. in Davis, CA – a one day project that took less than half a day due to so many participants!

Compassion bench 3

“Compassion is…” Earthbench with Mosaic Ceramic Inlays by Mark Rivera, Brennan Bird, and the community of Davis, CA

 

The Compassion Bench, created out of recycled materials, cob, and love. Here’s a peek at what’s “inside”:Compassion bench 2  Old soda bottles filled with plastic bags, compacted together to create a wall of waste that then gets turned into a useful place of community gathering – SO much cooler than throwing it all in the landfill, and cheaper than any other material.

What you don’t see about what’s going on here is that by creating tangible projects together as a community folks are: meeting their neighbors, learning more about themselves and those around them, and then continuing to interact with each other AFTER the initial projects are finished to keep creating community in their towns, neighborhoods, and what have you. Folks are being empowered to make change happen themselves, and are less whiny, less apt to blame things on the “powers that be” and more engaged in life! They are taking ownership of where they live and creating what they want to see in the world.

Awesome huh? Are you excited by the possibilities yet?? If so, check out the website of this amazing organization at http://www.communitybuiltassociation.org or LIKE them on Facebook at Community Built Association. I learned so much in the 4 days I was there my head was exploding with it all!

Also check out the wonderful work of the Pomegranate Center at http://pomegranatecenter.org – and watch the Ted talk by Milenko Matanovic at TedX. He’s an amazing man, great speaker, and you won’t be sorry you watched it. He was an inspiring lecturer at the Davis conference. One of those people you want to “follow”.

Now I am forging ahead to write my own grant to do a community mosaic mural project for Talent, OR (my home) this summer. I plan to mount the panels onto the side of The Grotto pizzeria near the intersection of Main St. and Talent Ave. in the fall if all goes as planned. I will be engaging with my neighbors and friends to make some handmade tile elements, rounding up off-cuts and extras from tile setters in the area to create the background (and save the tile from the landfill), and hopefully having a ton of fun in the process.

Wish me luck- and if you know any tile contractors in the Rogue Valley let me know!!

Clayfolk is coming!

Well it’s that time of the year again- The 38th Annual Clayfolk Show and Sale is on the horizon. I’ve been spending days and nights non-stop creating new work for this year’s show so I hope to see a lot of folks there.

The platters I wrote about in my last post came out beautifully and I’m excited to get them out in the public view.

.SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG

 

The last batch of small bowls also came out great. I hope folks like these as much as I do!

SAMSUNG

 

I’m getting some professional photos taken this week and looking forward to seeing what she does to make these look more appealing. I’ve never been the greatest photographer which seems ironic, but I guess we all have our weak spots!

In addition to prepping for Clayfolk, I was busy making and wearing my best Halloween costume to date- and it was all free! Gotta love that 🙂 I went as Sacajawea- Lewis and Clark’s guide to the west. She had a newborn infant strapped in her papoose the whole journey! What an amazing strong woman she had to have been to deal with all those white guys and a little baby to boot. Anyway, here’s the costume:

1382105_3416785433683_1712387986_n1379939_10202323921279704_1602828421_n

 

Yep- that’s Raggedy Ann standing in for the infant! And my friend Sara hanging onto my boat for dear life! It was a fun party- and dancing in a boat is way fun. Really rockin’.

I also made some new “furniture” for my booth yesterday- plate holders from scratch. I got bamboo off-cuts from a friend and purchased dowel rods that I cut and sanded, and borrowed a drill press from another friend to make all the evenly deep holes for them. Only took an hour or so- and they turned out perfectly. I love when stuff works the way you want it to! I’m also creating a pedestal out of cardboard and putting a wooden top on it for sculptural pieces. I never seem to have enough surfaces for all the work I want to show!SAMSUNG

 

In addition, I created 8 “busts” to display scarves for our next show over at Talent City Hall, “Celebrating Textiles and Fashion”. We have 14 artists displaying their works for the next 2 months. Our first invitational show, and a really nice spectrum of types of work too. Hope some of you get to see it! It will be opening Nov. 13th and run through Jan. 10th 2014. 

Well- back to it. Just wanted to let you know I’m still out here working away! Hope to see you soon- or just keep checking in to see what’s next on my agenda.

I’ll be creating another crazy cake for the “It’s a Wonderful Life” party in December, as well as creating a new custom mirror project and possibly a new mosaic for the Upper 5 Vineyards here in Talent- a wonderful biodynamic vintner. Stay tuned.

Fabrication of Astoria Mosaic Complete!

Session three had finally arrived for me. After a busy start to my week, during which we held the first Talent Art Forum for the Talent Public Arts Committee, I arrived in Hillsboro two weekends ago at 10 pm to find an almost completed mosaic.P1000413

These were the last 3 sections that remained to be done.P1000420

The first morning I was there, Sandy and I quickly knocked out the first section, with Lynn’s  help.

P1000418

Lynn is here, with the first section, and the second, prior to fitting into the mosaic.P1000421

With only one more section to go we are feeling pretty good, as we still have 2 days of my visit left.

P1000424

The mosaic after sections one and two are added. The excitement is building for the final bit.

P1000426

The final section well on it’s way while Lynn and Bob celebrate their anniversary out on the town in Portland.

P1000428.1

And finally the last piece goes in.

P1000430

Next morning, we fitted the final piece, and here is the mosaic with all the main work done!

P1000431

Lynn does some finessing in joint spaces to make sure everything looks good and fits well.

P1000422 copy

Me adding the last of the outside edge to the medallion.

P1000432

Here’s a closeup of one of the sturgeon’s whiskers.P1000438

Lynn with the completed mosaic, ready for installation after her return from Italy.lynnadamo-rickpaulsonphoto-sep-2013-8504

The whole team who helped create this masterpiece.

P1000417

Celebrating completion with a bottle of wine on one of the prettiest days of the weekend-a last hurrah before fall sets in.

The mosaic is scheduled to be installed in late October. Can’t wait to see the park completed! If you visit Astoria don’t miss it, the Garden of Surging Waves, and be sure to let us know what you think.

Mosaic sturgeon will be brightening up Astoria- Part 2

Back up in Hillboro this past week for more work on the Astoria project with Lynn Adamo and her faithful minions.

When I arrived the fish were all completed except for a little eye surgery (later) and the watery background was begun.P1000376

Lynn’s order of blue smalti from Mexico had been delayed by U.S. Customs and had just arrived in the middle of last week when artists’ Richard Davis and Jennifer Kuhns were just leaving.  So Lynn was anxious to get going with the background and cover some ground (literally).

However, we had a limited amount of certain blue colors we were using as accents. The only way we could figure out to evenly distribute them throughout the piece was to scatter them loosely across the template, then bag them up and label them according to the sections they would end up in. The system may look weird, but it was fairly quick and effective.

P1000374

Layout of fish with accent colors evenly distributed.

Notice the eyes of the fish in the photo above…somewhat ghostlike…

As I lay more of the blue field, Lynn began her “eye surgery”.

P1000387

“Eye-ectomy” being perfomed on the first fish.

We decided the eyes needed more of a true pupil to make them a bit more animated and alive, so we trimmed out the existing center,

P1000384  Added a few darker tiles,…

P1000401 …and voile! A much more lively fish.

In addition to these minute tasks, we also decided to make a new template that was fully laminated and protected from the weather, as our previous one was getting a bit soggy in the rain, and shrinking as a result (!) making it difficult to get an accurate measure and fit for our MANY sections of mosaic on mesh.

That took up some of my evening and half of the next day to do- working on the kitchen floor and in the front room in sections until I got it all done. We then moved it out onto the back porch and transferred all the completed mosaic sections to it and taped them down so they wouldn’t shift – ensuring a better fit later when it’s installed.

P1000404

Taping the sections together to avoid shift during fitting.

Lynn was very meticulous with keeping things organized and clean during the whole process- and you have to! One little sliver of misplaced smalti can throw off the whole thing.

P1000398

Cleaning up the shards of glass, bits of dirt (no shoes here!), and other detritus blown in from the yard.

By the time I left Friday morning we had fitted all the mesh for the next sections, gotten a little further on the blue field, and had the planning behind us so Lynn could move forward more quickly and easily to completion. (Or so I like to think!)

P1000403

Slowly but surely…and looking beautiful!

I’ll be going back up at the end of next week for the final push…and will keep updating as we progress…

But be sure to keep up with the progress of this project for the Garden of Surging Waves in Astoria, Oregon on Lynn’s blog at www.lynnadamo.com/blog/ too!