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.

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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:

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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. 🙂

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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!

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“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!!

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December is here already?!

Whew! what a crazy busy time last month was!

The 38th Annual Clayfolk show was a resounding success and I want to thank all of my supporters for coming out to make it our best year ever.  I was honored with the front page of the Medford Mail Tribune’s Tempo this year, and I have no doubt it helped me immeasurably.1

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My platters came out great- and I was able to do a trade with my friend Julie Young for wonderful photographs of my work. Here are a few:

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I totally enjoyed myself and did well in sales to boot. Bonus. However, I’m still trying to recover my energy to move on to new endeavors. I think the adrenaline is what took me through last weekend-and this week has been a long crash.

My first order of business after the show was to clean the house (which had been let go for far too long) do some laundry, and create the class description for my next workshop: Mosaic LOVE. I hope some of you can join me for this fun and informative class!

heart2Mosaic LOVE: A Class for Beginners of All Things Mosaic with Karen Rycheck

The mosaic art form is experiencing a resurgence all over the world – and you can be a part of it! Come get a taste of this dynamic and versatile art form while making a fun valentine gift for your sweetie, your mom, or yourself! We will be creating a small project to whet your appetite and give you the basic skills needed to begin creating in mosaic. Your first three hour session will be cutting and laying tesserae (pieces), the second one hour session will be grouting and finishing your piece.
Saturday February 1, from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, and Saturday February 8,              from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

$50 Members, $60 General
All materials provided
Ages 13 +
Click here for the registration form
Please register by Tuesday, January 28
Questions? Email karaQlewis@gmail.com

Or peruse the Ashland Art Center class schedule on their site at http://www.ashlandartcenter.org

This could make a unique Christmas gift for someone, or a fun activity to do together- so grab a friend and sign up NOW.

I’m also going to move my potters wheel indoors for the winter, so I can continue to practice and create more good looking bowls, yet still be warm and comfy. I gave away my futon couch on Craigslist-took less than 16 hrs. for it to disappear-to make the space for the wheel. Now I just need shelves for the work! One can never have enough shelves it seems. So if anyone wants to help transform the bedroom into an annex studio-give me a call 😉

Coming soon- the fictional downtown of Bedford Falls (from Frank Capra’s classic film It’s a Wonderful Life) in CAKE. By yours truly. I have to admit to loving food sculpture-as long as it isn’t taken too seriously. But I do like a challenge, and this will prove to be one. Stay tuned for that adventure.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and were able to give thanks for the wonderful lives we all have. Even when I’m whining and struggling I am always grateful to my clients, readers, friends, and family; without whom my life would be dull, dull, dull. Thanks everyone!  xxoo

Upcoming shows include my Artwork

Oh my god this has been a busy summer and now fall…I can’t wait to catch my breath, but there’s no end in sight until after The Clayfolk Show coming up November 22nd-24th at the Medford Armory on Hwy. 99 just off exit 27. Anyone wanting to take me to a warm sunny locale, just drop a line. I’m ready! SAMSUNG

I’m working on some new functional pieces since I’m learning to throw on the potters wheel, and I hope they’ll be well received. SAMSUNG These bowls are in the greenware stage-unfired and unglazed. The colors will change dramatically before they’re completed. The pastels will become deep reds and bright yellows and glowing greens. The outsides will become black and white. It one of the cool things about doing ceramics. You can’t tell until it comes out of the kiln on the final firing what it will look like. That’s part of the mystery of clay work. SAMSUNG

In the background is my reclining nude chaise lounge called “Eve”. It’s temporarily taking up space in my studio and serving as another shelf! Lol. I would love to sell her… anyone interested should contact me NOW! I need the studio space back and she needs a better home.

Stay tuned for updates on the progress of these new works as November draws nearer.

While going back and forth to Portland I was also working on some new garden art to be shown this October at the Illahe Gallery in Ashland, Oregon. The pieces shown will be the Mosaic Town I created this summer and blogged about earlier.  The opening reception will take place Oct. 4th from 5-8 pm for the First Friday art walk in Ashland. Come on down to Illahe at 4th and B Street and meet me and other great mosaic artists from the area and check out the variety of types and styles that mosaics can offer.

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Shows & Events                                                   October 2013
Gallery Newsletter
Historic Charles Nininger Building
215 Fourth Street
Ashland, Oregon  97520

 

 OCTOBER:

We are happy to bring an eclectic group of nine skilled mosaic artists to the gallery this month for our Third Annual Mosaic Invitational.   Each of these artists skillfully takes the craft of mosaic in a unique direction and form, from furniture to wall hanging to outdoor sculptural works.  Join us for the Artists’ Reception, held during Ashland’s First Friday Art Walk on October 4th  from 5~8 p.m.  Enjoy a late summer evening stroll with other art lovers and meet the artists.  Wine and light refreshments will be served along with the music of Jef Ramsey.

THIRD ANNUAL MOSAIC INVITATIONAL:

Joanne Chase

Kory Dollar

Tina Ellis

Jennifer Kuhns

Jill McAlvage Smith

Penny Meads

Mimi Near

Karen Rycheck

Wilma Wyss

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“Phalaenopsis” Joanne Chase

First Friday Artist Reception

Friday, October 3rd 5-8 pm


“Resonance” Joanne Chase: ::::: :

 

JOANNE CHASE

I love to immerse myself in all aspects of the world of plants, growing edibles and ornamentals, walking amongst wild flowers, harvesting for food and medicine. Orchids are amazing flowers with such complex and unlikely architecture. Our local natives are miniscule and grow from the ground while tropical orchids such as I’ve recently seen in Panamaattach themselves to trees and have bigger, showy flowers. They all delight me and have inspired this body of work along with the notion of resonance, something that evokes a strong emotion, such as these flowers do for me.

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“Zahara, Goddess of Dance” Kory Dollar: ::::: :

 

KORY DOLLAR

Kory Dollar is a stained glass mosaic artist of Clark County Washington. She has been creating colorful mosaics for 15 years and is a self-taught artist. Kory uses a wide range of materials to create mosaics; she searches for unique bits and pieces that can be turned into treasures. She places bits of color and texture together to create elements in nature and fantasy. All of the items she creates are one-of-a-kind. She assembles each work of art one piece at a time, making every piece just right. Kory uses a broad range of materials, combining texture, reflectivity, and spacing to create her vision. Kory shapes the materials to fit like puzzle pieces, using modern tools. She is intrigued by mandalas, nature, and the human body. Her visions come from her surroundings; “I watch nature and people, studding movement, expression, tone, and light. My aspirations allow my imagination to create vivid themes and expression for others to interpret.”

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“Classic Ribbon Vase” Tina Ellis

TINA ELLIS

After representing glass artists to galleries for eight years, Tina found herself compelled to create her own artwork. She was inspired to work with dichroic glass because of its lively and reflective light transmitting qualities. The glass she uses is predominantly recycled. Tina hand cuts and fuses each piece of glass creating soft pillowed pieces for her mosaics. She also slumps some pieces of the molten glass to fit the form on which she is working.

This exhibit is a series of mosaic vases. Most of the vases are recycled period pieces. Tina’s work contrasts classical shapes with contemporary materials. She loves the way these contrasting elements play off of each other creating an entirely different expression.

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“Gimli” Jennifer Kuhns

JENNIFER KUHNS

My specialty is stained glass mosaic, with emphasis on use of reclaimed materials.  I collect stained glass scraps from leaded and fused glass artists, tiles are scavenged from contractors, tile setters, and salvage yards.  The bases for my fine art panels are leftover tile boards, cupboard doors, and old windows.

Throughout my life, faces have been the primary focus of my artwork.  If I’m stuck waiting in a line or at an airport, I entertain myself by sketching the faces of the people around me.  I love how different all of our faces are, and yet so similar.  The lines and contours of a face tell a story.  The arch of an eyebrow or clenching of a jaw can completely change a person’s expression.

While I have always enjoyed sketching realistic faces, I began to play with use of unexpected colors in my twenties, working in oil pastel.  From there, my faces became more and more whimsical as I also worked in linocut and collage, and when I discovered mosaic, I began by translating many of my earlier designs using tile and glass.

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“More Orange Bubbles” Jill McAlvage Smith

JILL McALVAGE SMITH

My sisters accuse me of having enough Scrabble tiles to write a novel. I don’t. But almost.

I am a finder, a collector, a bricoleur. Each of my artistic journeys begins with the hunt. I can be found most weekends haunting yard sales, imagining new lives for the dusty treasures I unearth.

I am passionate about creating my artworks using entirely salvaged and found materials (with the notable exception of adhesive and grout). My creative process begins with those discarded items. I am inspired by the challenge of transforming these rescued and reclaimed objects into meaningful works of art.

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“Rooster” Penny Meads

PENNY MEADS

Mosaic art creating for me is a form of mental therapy.  When working on a piece I can clear my mind of everything and find relaxation in creating a piece.  I have taught myself over many years and consider myself an advanced amateur.  When asked to describe how I do this, I describe it as having a vision and working backwards like a jigsaw puzzle.

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“Joy of Joys” Mimi Near

MIMI NEAR

I fell in love with glass mosaic the moment I encountered this intrepid art form in the Cathedrals of Europe at age 13. Using the technical skills I gained from being a journeyman tilesetter, the understanding of mosaic art from my studies inRavennaItaly and various art and design classes I set out to explore the inner and outer world of mosaic art. I create mosaics for Public Art Installations as well as private residence installations such as water features, sculptural interior or exterior pieces, bathrooms, kitchens, terraces etc. I also create what could be considered “Fine Art” that is hung as a painting would be hung in one’s home. The pieces I have created for this show have been inspired by a variety of things, my recent exploration of Spain, my love of the natural world and my absolute infatuation with the creation process.

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“Mosaic Houses” Karen Rycheck

Exploring different subject matters and concepts ranging from light to dark and whimsical to weighty drives my art making.

I begin a work with a general concept, giving myself space to develop the piece as I’m interacting with it. Allowing myself more room to play in my abstract work, I focus on design, texture and color as my guides.

Different materials call to me for each individual piece, so various types of glass, clay, stone, and metal as well as non-traditional materials such as CD’s and LP’s may all be found in my work. Choosing not to limit myself by material, I select my medium according to what sense I want to convey in the piece itself.

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“Out to Sea” Wilma Wyss

WILMA WYSS

The different settings and cultures that I’ve experienced are reflected in my mosaic work. My childhood was a multicultural gyre: I was raised by Swiss parents in the U.S. and Africa, and often felt like an outsider, spiraling between continental divides. I’m inspired by the lively, colorful ornamentation in African culture that often draws from nature, even as it collides in my art with the Swiss tradition of orderliness and precision-a collision I hope infuses my work with intriguing contrasts and a dichotomy of order and the unexpected. As a resident of the Bay Area for 25 years, I also feel a strong connection to the western landscape, and often integrate natural materials in my work, including river rock, pebbles, beach glass, fossils and shells. Color, texture and shape are key. I enjoy the technical challenges in creating my mosaic work, whether applying the mosaic to a substrate that I cast in concrete, build up an armature of wire mesh, or repurpose an old frame or ceramic roof tile.

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Finally Finished! “Mosaic Town” photos

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The sculptural grouping that is “Mosaic Town” in situ on 8th St. in Ashland, OR. July 2013

Here are the final photos for my mosaic town project, just completed days ago. These pieces are ready to live in your garden or can be gifted to a friend or loved one. They’re on my website at missmosaic.com if you’d like more information about how to make them yours. They went to visit the garden of my friends Steve and Martha, who were gracious enough to host them for the afternoon shoot. Their shady moist garden was a much better place for them to be shown than my dried up piece of lawn. It’s hot out there this week!

For larger and much clearer views of the photos- just click on one and it’ll open in another window for you.

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Front side view of Little House

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Front side view of Office Building

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Front side view of 2 Story House

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Right side view of Mod Building

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Left side view of Mod Building

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Front side view of the Cinema Building

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Back side view of the Cinema Building

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Another view of Mosaic Town- coming to a garden near you?

Just imagine how happy these will make you every time you go outside!

I create custom work too, so if there’s a particular style, color, or idea you have, let me know. I enjoy making my customers happy!

The care and feeding of your new town is easy. Just keep them inside during freezing temperatures and they will last forever (as long as you don’t drop them on a hard surface). They are fine in rain and heat, and not nearly as heavy as you might think. Check out my previous blogs for all the construction photos and insights into mosaic and tile projects in general. And stay tuned to this station for more adventures in mosaics. Soon I’m starting another couple pieces to go with my mosaic mirror made back in January (for Tampa, FL), and I will also be making several trips up to the Portland, OR area to help out on a public mosaic project for Astoria, OR! I’m excited. Woot woot!

Mosaic Town is growing

Mosaic town has been growing steadily over the past week, and is almost complete. I have added three new buildings and created several montage photos so you can see the process as well as the various views of the new buildings.

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This is the 2 Story House made of handmade ceramic tile with a glass mosaic tile roof.

I created the texture on the red tile by rolling the wet clay onto a sheet of deeply textured fabric, then lifting and repositioning the fabric and rolling it again. The glaze catches in the different depths of the texture, causing some areas to have deeper colors than others.

The little yellow swirls are left over sun-centers from my History Underfoot mosaic. They make me happy, and I wanted a happy home- so there they are!

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The next building to be created was the Mod Building. Not sure where this came from in my head, though the Price Tower by Frank Lloyd Wright, in my hometown in Oklahoma, has always been a big influence. It might be a residence, it might be an office, it’s up to your imagination.

This one is covered in three colors of handmade tile, sea foam and clear with a touch of green for the walls, and forest green for the roof areas. The windows are made of a painted glass that adds great depth, as well as suggesting an interior light source.

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The final building I see as a Theatre of some sort. Cinema probably, though could be a regular theatre too.

It is covered in a huge array of colors and textures I have had sitting in my studio for a couple of years now. The front and sides are in a bright cheerful yellow, with the back being made of a combination of red and textured red handmade tiles.

The decorative tiles around the doors and windows are bits from tiles that warped or cracked in the kiln, but I didn’t want to throw away. The roof is made of orange tile and orange/brown tile from a failed attempt at a platter. I used the platter edges to edge the front of the roof. Oh, and the gingko leaf on the back is cut from the same failed platter. Happy it found a home here.

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So the town is now complete. I grouted them today, and as soon as I can find the appropriate garden setting I’ll photograph them to post here, and they’ll be up for grabs by some lucky new owner. Of course they need to live indoors in the winter to prolong their lifespan, but what a fun way to decorate your home!

TOWN FOR SALE

Progress on Mosaic Town

Just a brief update on my little town project.

Today I completed another building I think of as the Office Building-with a striated copper tiled roof of glass and seafoam green handmade ceramic tile for the walls.

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Again-this is ungrouted to date.

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I am starting on the 2 Story House tomorrow, but have already deviated from my original drawn ideas.

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I loved these little yellow spirals I had left from a previous project, so decided to use them here.
The doors/windows will be of glass tile, while the main house siding will be a textured red ceramic tile I made a year or more ago.
I’ll keep you all updated on the progress.

Creating Mosaic Town

Hey everyone-Happy 4th of July-or as I like to call it, Interdependence Day.
I’m working on another mosaic town and thought I’d share some progress photos with you today.

I start with a hunk of insulation foam board. Yep-the kind they use to insulate homes with. The color denotes the density. Pink and blue are most common here in the states. This is dense enough that you can stand on it and it won’t compress at all.

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I cut the board into shapes using various saws and rasps

And sitting on top of this foam is a roll of self adhesive fiberglass mesh tape. Most often used for creating seams in drywall, this makes a fabulous cement-tolerant wrap.

So- Cut the foam board to the desired shape, wrap with the fiberglass mesh, then coat with a layer or two of a special cement mix created by me using the guidance of a great book-Creating Concrete Garden Ornaments, by Sherri Warner Hunter (the mastermind of this art form). And after a little sanding and waiting for it to dry it looks like this:

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A few of the buildings for my mosaic town after their cement coat

I’ve drawn my suggested windows, doors, etc. to guide me during the mosaic process. I now begin covering all sides and the roof tops with a combination of handmade ceramic tile and commercial mosaic glass tile, adding little bits of different textures and colors to add interest. Here’s how it’s going…

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and after finishing up the next day…

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Once these are thoroughly dry and I’ve done a few more of the other buildings, I’ll grout them. That always brings it all together, smooths out the rough edges, and makes them feel finished. More to come, but now I’m off to the annual July 4th BBQ potluck at my friend’s home. After drinks and dinner, we’re watching the ultimate summer movie- JAWS. So in honor of that, here’s the cake I’m bringing for dessert…

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Hope you’re having a great day off, or just a great day wherever you are.