It's almost time. A couple more weeks. I can't wait. I'll be heading back to the John C Campbell Folk School for a week of teaching mosaics, new and old friends, beautiful mountain vistas, delicious meals, and some creative re-energizing! I know I've posted before about how much I love this place, and the unique opportunity to learn and share it nurtures. I can't help myself.
I wish that everyone could take some time, take a class, take a few moments to enjoy what the Folk School has to offer. Have you made spring break plans yet? Summer vacation? Weekend getaway????
They've been around for almost 100 years. Hundreds of class choices taught by leading artists in their fields. Little Middle week for those under 18 in June. Come make something, look at things in a new way, enjoy yourself and take a deep breath of mountain air. Hang out with me and create a mosaic, April 15.
The Sandy Ridge Elementary Mosaic is in the home stretch. Yesterday I worked with the Pre-K class and Kindergarten classes to fill in the "thumbs up kid". They took turns so nicely, and were really excited to complete their part of the project! They filled in the "thumbs up kid" with all different flesh colors to represent all kids, boys and girls, everyone. Third graders worked with me today to get those background spaces filled up. We're on track for our last day tomorrow with 2nd grade... finishing up a bit of background as well as a multicolored area that will look like paint flowing from the paintbrush "I". It has been a pleasure to work at this school, with all these eager children, who really are STARS!
I'm preparing a mosaic for a gazebo floor, using a wide variety of porcelain and recycled glass tile. Blending these gorgeous colors together is so hypnotizing and intoxicating, I don't mind that I missed the sunny blue skies and yellow daffodils blooming outside today. I had them with me in my studio.
Explaining to kids that I'm an artist but I don't paint can be tricky. When I ask them to please raise their hands and share what they know about being an artist, 99 times out of 100 they respond very eagerly that I draw and/or paint. I am admittedly not very proficient at either of those skills. Then there's a long silence... the children are completely baffled about how I could possibly make pictures without drawing or painting... Well, I do draw a little bit, just enough to create a "cartoon". A cartoon in mosaic is a shape with volume, not a lot of small linear details, and spaces that can be filled in. Using contrasting colors, shapes, and movement, the cartoon is filled in with small pieces. It doesn't take them long to figure that out. Often they work faster and more spontaneously than I ever could. It's usually the not-quite-perfect work that I love best. Many kids working together also achieve this effect by the blending of their individual choices into one work. At the end of our time together I ask what each participant has observed, or learned, or would like to share, and inevitably, there is just one little voice that proclaims, "You're an artist, but you don't paint!"
I saw this little guy in Greensboro last week. He was just sitting there, on the edge of the brick wall. Thinking. It looked like he just flew down from the building's eave and poised himself perfectly to enjoy the sunshiney day and contemplate something very important. Normally I'm not drawn to gargoyles, they are sort of creepy leering down at you from the shadowy rooftops. This one was different. Like a renegade gargoyle that was thinking about creating a different life for himself. In the garden, embracing light and life.