Tuesday, September 12, 2023

dandelions in Hershey

Next week, is the installation of the biggest mosaic of my career so far.  I can't even tell you how surreal this is.  The project started 2 1/2 years ago and had gotten cancelled twice.  Both times the project came back into being, it was a greater plan than it was prior to cancellation. I would be writing for days if I told you all the disappointments, close calls, and crappy events that turned out to be the exact path this project needed to take to become what it was always meant to be. 

There is no way to tell you the hundreds of stories about tile ideas that this mosaic contains. That is half of the reason these projects are such a joy to "work" on. This dandelion project is a literal dream, starting with the amazing people I got to work with.  I have wanted to do a project with multiple schools and this project called for exactly that.  This past winter, four schools, Milton Hershey, Hershey, Lower Dauphin, and Vista School all made tiles for this project. Students won't see all the tiles from students at other schools until October when there is a reveal event.

Each school had different amounts of time they were able to devote to tile making.  Some of the really amazing tiles were made in one class period! I ended up working with about 500 students that made about 1000 tiles!  They were all white, blue and green to make dandelion poofs.

The front has three poofs in the dandelion plant that is amongst other flowers.  Each poof is almost three feet across.  This photo is the mosaic laid out so I could measure.  It is still covered with tape and ungrouted.  The wall that it will be installed on is 20 feet long and five feet tall.

The back of the wall is the two poofs and a little ladybug with a whole lotta beautiful blue glass.  I am just trying to not burst till this gets installed. I can't believe how blessed I am.  In fact, I am already working on the next mosaic that will be installed about a mile away from this wall.  I'll tell you about it soon... and also show you photos of these dandelions installed. The Foundation for Enhancing Communities is the fiscal sponsor of this project. The location for the mural was provided by the Hershey Trust Company as trustee for Milton Hershey School. The mural is sponsored through the generosity of The Hershey Company, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, Capital Blue Cross, Capital Construction Management, Hershey Federal Credit Union, McQuaide Blasko, and the Rotary Club of Hershey.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

time to make the donuts

If you know ahead of time you will be making rainbow sprinkles, you know it's going to be fun.  In this project, I worked with three teachers, and I had worked with each of them separately before in different projects.  I felt like it was kismet that these three ended up in Mifflin County High School and I was blessed to work with them.

I wish I could say that donuts were MY idea but they weren't.  Nobody remembers who came up with the idea but I love it.  Their cafeteria is the perfect place for this mosaic.

I always say that I am amazed at what people come up with for tiles.  One surprise here was a comb from a guy that cuts hair! Never had one of those that I can remember.    

It's so nice to see humans shoulder to shoulder again. When working on a mosaic, it is such slow momentum that it is difficult to see that we have even made any progress in a whole class.  But below, I have a progression of day to day. Keep in mind that this is about 15-20 people at a time almost all day. The first four days were spent making tiles. Then it took two days to grout because we used two colors.  This project was made possible by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, through the Perry County Council of the Arts. I'm beyond grateful.

I am already working on the next mosaic and hope to show you some progress photos soon.  The feature tiles will be dandelion poofs and they were made in four different schools in my area.  Life is but a dream.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Harrisburg Artsfest 2022

Yesterday, I said I was crazy busy and made a short blog post... so why am I here today with another? I had to get a newsletter out to tell everyone about the reveal of this mosaic... and I usually link to my blog for a few more photos.  So here we go.

Harrisburg Artsfest had me set up in a mega tent with Capital Area Intermediate Unit to make tiles with festival attendees.  I had no idea what to expect but it was wonderful.  There were over a thousand people of every age making tiles.  The result of this great community effort will be gifted to the Harrisburg High School.  

By my count, we ended up with 1130 tiles and then the kids in the CAIU camp made almost 100 more tiles.  The goal was to have kids assemble the mosaic in camp but we did not get enough kids to get it finished.  That's why I am scrambling to get done by the reveal date.  There is an open house Aug 26th and at 1PM will be the reveal.  I'd love to see you there.
I will get a photo of it hanging as soon as possible.  The four panels will fit to make the mosaic 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Right now, the yellow and orange that is on the table is finished and I am working on the blue and green circles.  Busy = happy here.  I'm so grateful.

Cornwall Manor

This was a great project that I don't yet have close ups for but its already delivered.  I hope to attend an unveiling ceremony soon and will get some then.  Cornwall Manor asked me to do a community project with their senior residents.  They glued glass together and I brought it all home and fired it to make tiles. The resulting tiles were AMAZING and used in this mosaic that I put together.  I wasn't sure what to expect but it was by far one of the most rewarding projects to date.  Residents apparently had as much fun as I did because they are talking about the next project. I am going to keep this short because I am up to my ears in the next three projects.  Stay tuned. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

I know.  It's true.  I have been remiss in blogging.  For a while there was nothing to blog about then a tidal wave happened.  I'm not complaining.  The above project was finished in February at Allen Middle School.  One crazy thing is that this project involved a record number of 26 students at one time in one of the classes.  

This project was facilitated and supported by Capital Area Intermediate Unit.  I am so grateful and love working with them. In case you worry about me getting a swelled head about anything ever, I included a photo of the entire crowd for the reveal of the mosaic.  Other than the faculty and CAIU representatives, this cool family was the only ones to show up for the event.  Sigh... 

Then right after that, I started the above koi mosaic with Susquenita Middle School.  I've been dying to do a koi mosaic and was so happy the project landed with these cutie pies.  After the record-breaking large class of last project, every class in this project was about the same size!

I wish you could walk past it but I am going to add a video so you can better sense how cool the mirror is in this. BTW, that mirror was donated from Rainbow Vision in Harrisburg to help support our efforts.  This project was facilitated and supported by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Perry County Council of the Arts.  It's always been a pleasure working with them.

Friday, September 3, 2021

weird times

Each of my residencies is unique and offers it's own challenges.  This one involved collaborating with people that I did not even get to meet!  Obviously, I would have enjoyed working in person WITH these people but we dealt with the restrictions at that time, I did get to go in briefly, but most tile making was done at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, by the staff, with glass that I dropped off. 
This mosaic is 3x5 feet and is a different recipe than I have used in the past.  It features the tiles made by participants like in most of my residencies. The part that was different was that I assembled the mosaic myself.  I love assembling with a group, but when I work myself, I am able to do more complicated work than I can accomplish with the hands of 20 glass newbies working full speed ahead all at the same time.  
This art was definitely a "labor" of love.   The project was intended as an artistic outlet to benefit staff that has been on the front lines of the grind through a historically challenging time. I proposed my fingerprint idea as a way to symbolize the way these people touch our community. 

 There's so much personality in here.  I absolutely LOVE when people can point to the part or parts they made... where they were able to do whatever they wanted. Moving forward, I am hoping to find a lot more projects just like this... but hopefully in person.


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Dawson Residency of March 2021

It has been such a long time since I worked with kids.  Dawson School in Colorado was the first residency that I ever did out of my own state.  When I travel long distance, it is a challenge to make sure I have everything because I don't go home at night.  In this residency I was not only away from my shop the whole time, but I had to pack all tools to fly and purchase materials after I arrived. The design had to be adapted to what I was able to purchase.  Luckily, one of the best glass stores in the country, D&L Glass Supply was close by.  This residency was only five days which made things a bit hairy, but then the first day was cancelled due to a blizzard! These guys were fantastic and they pulled it off!
Dawson's was another project based on my favorite recipe.  Kids get to make tiles with few limitations.  Then we use those tiles to make the mosaic.  I was waiting to blog about it because I hoped to have a photo of it installed... not yet.

This mosaic had plenty of mirror and iridescent so it really twinkles as one walks past. I have been wanting to do a DNA strand for years and Dawson lived up to my expectations.  My daughter-in-law works at Dawson and I was fortunate enough to work with her on this project.  Next residency, I will be working with my granddaughter in my own state!