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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Mosaic LOVE workshop February 2014

In my last post over a month ago I was attempting to entice all the locals to come out for this beginners mosaic workshop at the Ashland Art Center- and come out they did! I had a dozen wonderful women and we had a blast (where are the men I ask you?).P1000650

I started by giving everyone a small frame or shaped board that had been sealed with Kilz primer/sealer to keep it from taking on moisture. I gave out a myriad of materials, including the above handmade ceramic tile hearts from my studio as well as stained glass, commercial glass tile, millifiore (pulled glass rods), and other bits and bobs I’ve collected over the years.P1000653

Next I gave a short explanation of “keeping it simple”, as there is so much to learn it’s impossible to teach it all at once. I must admit to being surprised and a bit overwhelmed at the number of students. I was expecting five if I was lucky-but having 12 was awesome! There were a number of different aesthetics and therefore a nice variety of work came out of the day

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The first day I forgot to take photos (sigh), but luckily Kara Lewis was there to pick up the slack- so I have just a few from the beginning stages of work.

The following week, after all the pieces were finished and dry, we met to grout. I directed a little demo first with pieces I’d done with the first day’s “leftovers”. photo 2 copyphoto 2

Then I gave everyone their own grout to go to town with. Man are we messy! LOL!

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But the results are Beautiful ladies!! Love these little works of art 🙂20140208_12271320140208_12325520140208_12270520140208_124705photo 3 copy 320140212_152716photo-2

I am happy to say we all had a great time and I will be offering ANOTHER class next month at the Ashland Art Center on cutting and laying techniques. Here’s the class description:

Mosaic Cutting and Laying Techniques 

Sat. March 22nd from 10am-2pm (with an hour for lunch)

Learn to make those feisty tiles do what you want them to do! Create flow and motion and choose what your tiles do for you rather than allowing them to dictate to you. Learn to cut circles, leaf shapes, keystone cuts and more and lay them to create whatever is in your imagination. We will use commercial glass tiles, stained glass, and commercial ceramic tiles for this experience. This class will be primarily for hands on learning with a little bit of lecture and demo to help show how to achieve specific effects. We will create a 9″ x 9″ sampler of many different techniques combined to create one image and show off your new skill set. 

For all levels of mosaic experience from beginners on up, ages 13 up to adult. All materials and tools provided. If you have any of your own tools (side biter nippers, double wheeled nippers, stained glass cutters) please bring them along.

Minimum 3 students, maximum 6.
$65 members, $75 non members
Karen Rycheck
aka missmosaic

To sign up contact the Ashland Art Center after Feb. 14th by clicking the link HERE. And please tell your friends! Have a great wet week (yeah moisture!) and an even better weekend.

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

Paul’s mosaic panels are completed

After I created this exterior mosaic mirror to coordinate with my client’s new interior furnishings, he was so pleased he commissioned two more pieces for the entry walkway to his home.

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Paul’s mosaic mirror created in January 2013.

He lives in a beautiful complex on the shore of the bay in Tampa, Florida and has a walkway bridge that leads to his screened in porch and front door. The mirror hangs on his  porch.

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I created two panels that played off of his mosaic mirror design, as well as bringing in some new textures.

These panels were a combination of the original mirror, and the address plaque I made for my friend Penelope earlier this year, in my post “Penelope’s Plaque”.

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Address plaque created for Penelope in early 2013.

The client liked Penelope’s panel and wanted something similar, but in the same palette as his mirror and the colors from his home.

Here’s what we decided to do- one panel with 2 circles (12″ x 24″), and one panel with 3 circles (12″ x 36″). He left the rest up to me and here are the results:

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Paul’s 2 circle panel.

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Paul’s 3 circle panel.

These pieces include stained glass, handmade and commercial ceramic tile, mirror, commercial vitreous mosaic tiles, iridescent tiles, glass beads, millifiori, and Italian smalti left over from the Hannon Library mosaic installed in Ashland, Oregon in 2005.

I tied these panels to the mirror by making the background the same, as well as carrying over the color schemes. I feel they were pretty successful and also fun to make.

I find abstracts much more relaxing to create than realistic work. My mind is focused on the basics and not on “does it look like ___?” or not. I can allow myself to let go and play more. I have a feeling I’ll be going more in this direction in the future.

Anyhow, I’m shipping these panels out tomorrow and I look forward to seeing the photos once they’re installed on the pillars. Let me know what you think, feel, etc. about this work or anything else on my blog.

missmosaicgirl takes on WordPress.com

Welcome to my first blog post EVER. Well, not exactly ever, but I keep rewriting this one as I’m working on what to say in this new venture.Karen_Rycheck_MissMosaicGirl

My goal here is to introduce myself as a visual artist to those of you who don’t know me, as well as show those of you who do know me what the heck is going on out in my studio and in my tiny world of art making. I create mosaics, ceramics, sculpture, murals, and on occasion ridiculously elaborate cakes. I hope you’ll check back with me on a regular basis to see what’s new, what’s influencing my work, and where I’ll be showing and selling so you can become proud owners of some of my pieces! Have a great rest of your day!