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

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!!