Connie Glover, West Coast ceramicist and mosaicist, at work at a recreation center. Surrey, BC's Newton Mosaic Project, featured on the following pages, is a collaborative work involving Glover, fellow artist Vallalee Hoffman, and the local community.
Mosaic is a wonderful medium for community art. Mosaics require little in the way of tools or equipment, and skills are quickly be picked up by example.
An overhead projector enlarges images onto a wall. A child helps transfer the images onto tracing paper.
Making paper stencils for lettering. Later, clay letters will be bisque fired and then returned to these students for glazing.
Some of the donated glass tile 'seconds' were used on this project.
Fitting tiles into a traced image.
Designing the big picture.
A sheet of fiberglass mesh is placed over the tracing paper, with a layer of wax paper inserted between the two to prevent sticking. Once the tiles are arranged, each piece is be picked up, dabbed with glue, and set back on the mesh.
The mesh-mounted tile design is cut into manageable pieces, then taken outside and applied against the concrete block wall. Granni-rapid thinset is used because there was some concern about phosphorescence.
Grouting. The artists apply sanded grout because many of the spaces are more than ¼ inch wide. There was initial concern that the grout would be too gritty, and scratch the glossy, fused glass tiles. In fact, the tiles were not adversely affected. After drying, the grout is sealed with Prosolve 10.
Mosaics can galvanize a community both in their creation, and their result. They leave behind a figurative reminder of cultural diversity. Here, in an ethnically diverse community, the mural provides a literal and figurative representation of a local "cultural mosaic."
A finished mural. Connie Glover: "Community art serves to bring diverse sectors of the community together, creates a sense of belonging and ownership and gives participants an opportunity to engage in artmaking for their own public spaces."