We did a 2 day community build installation in late August. Here’s some snaps of the fun! This is the 2nd year of an ongoing community built, artist led and organized, mosaic mural (now about 70′ long!), on the wall of the DPW facility, facing the Sciencenter parking lot (and Rt. 13) in Ithaca, NY. Volunteers pictured here are part of Ithaca College’s Community Plunge program. We were also lucky to have several local high school students, hired as apprentices, through the Ithaca Youth Bureau’s summer employment program.
This year we teamed up with the Ithaca Children’s Garden, that is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their Gaia snapping turtle sculptural installation. ICG summer campers (Ithaca area kids ages 6 to 10 years old) brainstormed the design and created turtle and fairy tiles based on their plan. Much of the Children’s Garden is represented in this latest panel of the mural. The outdoor kitchen is shown as a building housing a big steaming bowl over a fire. The bulb labyrinth is shown as a big spiral path. The phases of the moon appear over Gaia and six children that ride her back. To the left, a fabulous teapot pours out an herbal brew, from the Children’s garden. And last, a chicken on a nest full of eggs, under a fruit tree.
Please stop by and enjoy if you are in Ithaca. And stay in touch though our FaceBook page.
A city wide day of volunteering was inaugurated this year by Ithaca’s new mayor, Svante Myrick, on a rainy Earth Day. On the Commons, in Ithaca, a fantastic team of volunteers gathered and helped me grout one of the panels of the “Spirit of Ithaca”, the public art mosaic I’ve been working on since last summer. I plan to have it installed this summer on the exterior wall of the parking garage at the corner of Tioga and Seneca Streets.
Back in January, the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, New York and The City of Ithaca Public Arts Commission put out a call for design submissions for a mural on a parking garage at Tioga and Seneca Streets, in Ithaca. They were applying for a grant that’s deadline was quickly approaching. Based on the commission’s suggestions of themes, and my own ideas about what is important in life and how I see Ithaca, I pulled some photos together in a collage in Photoshop, created a budget, and submitted it. In March or so, I heard back that I had been chosen as their artist and now we would wait to hear if we received the grant monies. In early August, I heard from City of Ithaca Common Councilor, and member of the public art commission, Edward Rooker saying that “Yes! We had gotten the grant” and could proceed. During the time I had to muse on this project, my heart settled on the idea that instead of using paint I would like to try making this mural out of mosaics. Last summer I purchased an electric kiln. I have gotten more confident in firing it & I feel that I now have the tools at my command to be able to do a ceramic mosaic of my own design, creating many (most?) of the tiles I will use by hand. I am really excited to do this! First, I needed to create a scale drawing. The space I will use measures 6′ x 13′. Next, I made a pilgrimage to Susan Jablon Mosaics in Vestal, NY. Emily Jablon, Susan’s daughter, & a mosaic artist who has done many public art installations, was there and was very generous in her donation of materials. I came back to my studio, absolutely thrilled!, and set the glass tiles from Jablon out on the scale drawing. This helped me wrap my mind around how many square feet (out of 78) I would need to construct by hand from clay. Next, I headed over to my friend and fellow artist Deb Youngling’s house to roll out some slabs from a heavy grog, high fire, white clay body. Here are some examples of the tiles I’ve been making.
All ten schools in the Ithaca City School District participated in making this ceramic tile mosaic mural. The Ithaca Fine Arts Booster Group and the Ithaca Public Education Initiative generously sponsored the project and the City of Ithaca supported it as well. The mosaic is an image of the Ithaca area watershed with the smooth dark pebbles representing Cayuga Lake inlet and the tributary creeks that flow into it. Students made the tiles that represent the land masses from slabs of clay carefully cut out to create a map.