Friday, November 8, 2013

MM day 5 last day with kids

Day 5: last day with kids...

2 more faces
4 icons (montessori tower blocks, art palette, world, school
4 pattern blocks
1 letter R
white double border rows  by teachers :)

 Everything stuck down.  Clean up.  Hugs, Hi-Fives, and Thank Yous.  Waiting for install.....

Thursday, November 7, 2013

MM day 4

More faces from 2nd/3rd
More pattern blocks with Pre K
More letter blocks with K/1st

Thank you Mr. Mathias and Ms. Weaver for your help today!!  One day left!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

MM day 3

I love it when the light bulb goes off.... making collaborative mosaics is about working together, respecting each other, making choices and decisions together, compromise, and the joy of a shared experience.  Mosaic making provides all of this and it's such a pleasure when it all comes together.

Progress Day 3:
3 faces 2nd/3rd graders
3 icons 4th/5th graders
2 Montessori "bead" sections  Mr. Williams class
3 pattern/color blocks  Pre-K

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

MM Day 2

K and 1st graders "read" a graphed paper pattern of a letter, and then used the square tiles to make the letter sections with free color choice background.

Monday, November 4, 2013

This week at Morehead Montessori....

3 faces with 2/3rd graders
3 "icons" that students felt represented "20 year anniversary" with 4/5th graders
     Meercat mascot
     Downtown Durham cityscape
     violin/music (ugg, I did glue it the wrong way... green musical notes, SORRY!)
3 pattern blocks with Pre K

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

wonder in the Wonder Garden

"Busy Pollinators" in the Children's Wonder Garden at NC Botanical Gardens Chapel Hill, NC

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

squish it on, wipe it off

I was describing the grout process to someone at the NC Botanical Garden today and they paraphrased it nicely, " So you just squish it on, then wipe it off".  Yes.

Monday, October 28, 2013

NCBG mural going up

 Children's "Busy Pollinators" mosaic mural pieced in sections with directional tapes.
 Thinset cement adhesive mixed and applied to wall, sections of mural reassembled in place. Orange and black tapes help secure while drying.
All sections installed on the vertical wall and ready to be tarped for overnight security/dryness.

Monday, September 30, 2013

double duty

Besides having a mosaic sculpture, "Geode" at the NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill (25th Annual Sculpture Show), I have been working with some fabulous children designing and assembling a mosaic mural for the Wonder Garden.  The theme is NC pollinators, and the kids did most of the designing themselves, and cooperated (with a bit of guidance) to bring their wonderful ideas together in one art work.  The participants were ages 7-10, and full of great ideas and energy!  The first 3 hr session they learned about mosaics, pollination, went down to the garden to see plants and pollinators in action, sketched some very creative design ideas, and then enlarged their ideas and made individual pollinator components with tumbled stained glass pieces.  Their works were captured with tile tape.
This past Saturday, we met again for another 3 hr session to arrange the pollinator components based on a compilation design plan, and fill in the background (which included a flowering tree, ancient stone helmet gate with bee hive, waterfall with stream, and Carolina blue sky).  Working on the floor was easiest, and everyone was able to work on an area they were interested in.  The background was assembled in no time, so they were able to go out and enjoy a bit of the sculpture show and do some paper mosaics to take home.
Installation of the mural will take place later in October, weather pending, and will be a whimsical permanent addition to the NCBG.  Thanks to Orange County Arts Commission for grant support of this project, and NCBG, particularly Elisha and Nancy, for coordinating and believing in the power of art and science in learning!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

NCBG Fall Sculpture in the Garden 2013

 "Geode" is officially installed at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill for the 2013 Fall Sculpture in the Gardens Show.  Opening preview reception Sept 20th, 2013, tickets available via the NCBG website. 50+ outdoor works in a beautiful setting this Fall, free and open to the public starting Saturday Sept 21, 2013.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

cute or annoying?

This little guy likes to sit on my mosaic and look in the living room window.  He has his 'umbrella' tail up to shield him from the light sprinkling rain .  His friends like to sit on my other sculptures and crack open their nuts.  I try not to take it personally.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Grandma's Pie Crust

My Grandma is great at EVERYTHING.  She's a very young 89 years old, with sparkly blue eyes, energy to spare, and the warmest smiles and hugs in the world.  Our family looks to her for comfort, wisdom, and love, and tries to surround her with the same.  I have been trying to master her pie crust recipe (or method- she never measures and seldom writes down instructions) for years to no avail.  Her pies are always delicious and flaky, often with fruit from her own garden, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries.  She knows who likes what pie best, and usually has one waiting if they are visiting.

Last weekend I was able to visit and stay with her for a couple of nights, and mentioned that I had never been able to get her crust right... she had written it down for me once.  With her usual loving, sharing heart, she jumped up and said," let's make it together"!  Her blueberry bushes were asking to be picked, so in a flash, I had a plastic bucket tied around my waist and in no time filled with berries.  With all the rain they've had in WNC this year, they were quite tart, but plentiful.

She patiently showed me EXACTLY her secret tricks; fluffing the flour directly in the bag, how to mix the cold water and corn oil so that it blends and doesn't separate, using wax paper to roll out the dough and peel off into the glass plate. ... all the things that she does, step by step.  Our pie turned out wonderfully, of course.

Before I left, I was able to pick enough berries to take them home for making one solo with her simple, but specific knowledge.  As I fluttered around my own kitchen, fluffing the flour in the bag, combining the water and oil to her specifications, and rolling between wax paper sheets (using the rolling pin that my Grandfather made), I knew this would be my best pie ever. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

texture color shape flow

sneak peek of my "Geode" sculpture for the NCBG Fall Sculpture Show.... harmonizing texture, color, shape, and flow....

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pet Portrait

I haven't done very many small projects recently.  I do like a variety, so I was happy to take this small pet portrait commission recently.  The client's photos were not very good, and the pet had passed away several years ago.  I found a reuse clock frame at the Scrap Exchange, and had a couple great pieces of orangey-brown stained glass already in my mosaic stash.  The pupils do have an iridescence to them, although doesn't show on this photo for a great glossy touch.  The glue is still drying, and I will be grouting it, so not 100% completed, but it shows a great expressiveness, and I wanted to share.  The piece is smallish, about 7x7" without the frame.  Not sure why it loaded sideways...but I kinda like it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The School for Creative Studies

This week I've been working with some fantastic folks at The School for Creative Studies, a new DPS 6-12 year round choice school.  The Principal Renee Price,  Asst Principal Andrea Hundredmark, and Instructional Facilitator Rita Rathbone,  are all women I have known (previously) at my own childrens' schools, and are leading the dynamic administrative team at SCS.  They asked me about creating a mosaic for the front desk, and I jumped on board, organizing and planning for a volunteer making day, as well as the installation.  We had administrators, teachers, and families all working together to create the logo in mosaic.

Today was grout day, with a final cleaning tomorrow.  What a great impact this will have for the front office visitors, and a fantastic project to begin the new school year...!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Little Middle 2013

One of my favorite weeks of the summer is the Little Middle week at John C Campbell Folk School.  It's one of only two weeks that children take classes at this incredible creative arts vacation school/camp for adults.  This week is sold out every year with long waiting lists, and I have been so happy to share mosaics for 4 years now.  Each day I see the same 4 groups of 12 kids, first grade-5th, and this year I had a bonus kid to make 49 total. We did paper mosaics the first day to get the hang of using shapes instead of lines.

Alphabet cement blocks, like mini-stepping stones were the most fun.  Groups had to collaborate together to design and execute large mosaic sun catchers.  Unfortunately we had big rain downpours almost every day, but lots of smiles, hugs, and awesome art.

I'll be teaching an adult week in October, which will be a great experience too.  But, Little Middle holds a special place in my heart.

Friday, May 10, 2013

last chance

If you didn't get a chance to see my exhibit, "layers", this weekend is your last chance!  

North Carolina School of Science and Math, Durham NC, ETC Auditorium Lobby

NCSSM has several year end FREE student events happening as well:

NCSSM Annual Concerto Concert, May 11, 2013, 2:00 PM  ETC Auditorium

Spring Drama Production: A Weekend of Shakespeare, May 10,11,12 2013, Reynolds Circle in front of Watts Hall (Broad Street side of campus)
o    7:00 Show on Friday and Saturday
o    3:30 Show on Sunday

 Spring Choral/Vocal  Department Mother's Day Recital, May 12, 2:00 PM, 2012
o    Featuring NCSSM Chorale and Voice Students
o NCSSM Bryan Lobby

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Alternate View

This year's Scrapel Hill exhibit opens next week.  I installed my recycled/scrap/repurposed sculpture today at the University Mall in Chapel Hill.  It is titled "Alternate View" and uses scrap and discarded mirror, reconfigured into prisms, to give viewers an opportunity to see unique kaleidoscope/mosaic fractured images through the sculpture.  There is a bit of mirror mosaic decoration, but mainly the idea is the deconstruction and reconfiguration of images with each passing glance, changing light, and who or what is on the other side.

The first photo is the lower prism complex which is at a child's height, and has 42 prisms each made with three 12x2" mirrors (cut from scrap/discards).  You are seeing Frank, the Footlocker employee, who was very supportive of my Flytrap piece last year.  His iconic Footlocker stripes looked extra cool in the prisms.

The second photo is looking at the University Mall banner thru the upper prism complex (adult height) with 12 12x3" prisms.

The prisms are housed in discarded foam coolers with applied fiberglass and cement to make each piece durable, finished, and suitable for stacking/support of the mirrors.  There are pvc sections within each so they can be attached together and to the cafe table base (perfectly good, which my Dad rescued from a dumpster).

Please go check out this exhibit, which will run from April -August.  Plenty of time, no excuse to miss rethinking about the items in your garbage can....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

120 million

 Last week I took a quick trip to NYC with my 13 yr old son.  I told him that he could pick the things he wanted to see/do, with one exception:  one art museum for no more than 2 hrs.  I decided on Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) since I had been to the Guggenheim, and Metropolitan Museum of Art in previous years.  My NYC guidebook suggested going straight to the 5th floor and working down.  Just the 5th floor was totally worth it.  Each work is recognizable, and many of them are iconic such as "The Scream".  This is one of the 4 originals, pastel, that sold last year for an incredible 120 million dollars at auction.  120 MILLION.
Who knows how much "Starry Night" would bring???!!!  It was there too.  Yes, the REAL one.  Right there in front of us.  It was busy at the museum, but as you can see by my pics, we were up close and personal with these incredible works of art.  In fact, I was shocked that photography was allowed at all. 

This Monet "Water Lilies" version took 12 years to paint.  It was huge.

There were a ton of Picasso works, this one was bright and bold, and instantly recognizable.  They also had the boy with horse, musicians, and several others that anyone would know as a Picasso.

 This is the only work of Freida Kahlo's they had currently on display, it had a very ornate mirrored frame that was hard to photograph.
This Matisse was also very large, and what an impact it had in that space!

Each floor of the MOMA had treasures, but eventually Austin was making comments such as, "Mom, isn't that just green paint on cardboard, like the samples you  get at Lowes?"  I knew my time at MOMA was up.  Such a sweet boy, he did voice his opinion that my "Flytrap" was at least better than that.... sigh. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

something to ponder

metal electrical discard, faucet handle, screws, glow in the dark glass, milifiore

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

so happy

I'm so happy with this beautiful project... It's the I/Eye Rebus mosaic at Hope Valley Elementary.  5 classes of Kindergarteners made the letter I/i border sections based on a graphed paper grid design.  5 classes of 2nd graders worked in small groups to create the eyeball designs (some drawn by them as well) with tumbled stained glass pieces.  We talked about shape, color, design, pattern, picture, Rebus puzzles (pictures that can substitute for words or letters), counting, mosaic, diversity, and collaboration.  Each panel is 3x5'.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

mad scientist/artist tip #23

Don't get spray foam in your hair while you're making this:


Sunday, March 17, 2013


Working on something new... anyone got old mirrors hanging around they don't need/want?  12" or bigger, preferably not beveled on the edge.....

Friday, March 8, 2013

the 'eyes' of March

I know it's really the 'ides' of March... but this month begins with a great residency for Kindergarten and 2nd grades at a local Elementary School.  They wanted a literacy objective tandem with the art project.  I may have mentioned rebus puzzles before... it's old school reading puzzle fun in which pictures are substituted for letters or words.  "Highlights" magazine used to have them all the time.  So, I've got K classes reading 7x7 unit graphs (check for math objectives) to create the capital I and lowercase i patterns onto the tile grids, they're creating the border pieces.  The letters are done in 5 shades of skin tone browns, light to dark, background dark blues.  2nd graders have drawn eyeball patterns using shapes, not lines, on an 8" square and are using tumbled stained glass pieces to fill in the pattern, starting with the pupil, lids, iris, corneas, and surrounding flesh (check plus for science objective).  Overall  the work will make 2 panels, 3x5' each (30 sf total) of I/eye rebus mosaic.  Double check plus for collaborative work, celebrating individuality and community! 

Two sessions down, three to go...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

what makes art contemporary?

 One definition of contemporary art is that it is art created by an artist that is living, now, in this time.  I suppose that makes all art 'contemporary' during the time in which is it or was created.  But then how do you describe it after it's not timely or fresh or new?

'Modern' would be another word that seems wrapped up with those same ideas, but again, what are the time constraints for something to be modern?  And then what does it become?

The DAG/Student U mentor pairs took a field trip yesterday to the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh (CAM).  I had been once before, but one of the galleries was essentially closed, hanging a new exhibit, and the other had some funky, found object, interactive sculptures with music and light.  I wasn't overly impressed with that exhibit, my friends at the  could have come up with more interesting pieces (I am biased).

The exhibits we saw yesterday were interesting.  The one in the photos above, in the lower gallery, were mainly black and white drawings on paper, very reminiscent of MC Escher with optical tricks and cartoonish figures.  Some were extremely intricate, others bolder in their presentation.  The artist had also created these linear patterns on the floor with tape which appealed to me the most, and as you walked into the gallery space, YOU were immediately part of the canvas.  He was there at the time, giving a gallery talk, and I asked him about the floor; whether he figured out the math ahead or what was his planning process.  He bravely admitted that he just started in one spot and kept going.  He said there were some mistakes, and that he had strategically placed a few smallish sculptures over the really bad spots.  I immediately warmed to that information, and the courage it took to admit it to the group who were listening.  I think contemporary art has to be bold and brash, it takes a lot of gumption to decide to cover a museum floor in tape (with mistakes) and force the viewers of your wall pieces to be part of a canvas.

 The artist in the upper gallery had made some scientific machines, one captured a single drop of water and kept it suspended on a gentle breeze, he also had a tornado machine that could whip around some paint dots, and make a painting.  Then again, he stacked up some mdf boards using prime number configurations and called it a bench.  And boiled up Evian water and put the sediment in a glass etched with the mountain range from which it came.....

I think most contemporary art must ask the viewer in some way whether they think what is being presented is art (or not).  I have a pretty broad acceptance, how about you?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

layers exhibit additional hours

Several of you wonderful friends have asked about additional viewing dates/times for my mosaic exhibit "layers" over at NC School of Science and Math ETC Auditorium Lobby.  It is a student building on campus, so not always open to the public.  Here are some upcoming open dates/times...

Feb 23,24 8am-3pm
Mar 2, 9,16 8am-3pm
April 27  8am-3pm

May 10, 11  6-9pm
May 12 1-5pm

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

sweet arts

If you're looking for a fun and special event for your Valentine (or be your own Valentine), please consider the Durham Art Guild's 19 Annual Sweet Arts Auction and Fundraiser event, this Friday, Feb 15, 7-10pm at Golden Belt.  Proceeds support our local artist events and programs, including a new Mentor Partnership program with Student U.  Five mentor/student partners are spending two hours per week from Jan-May working together, learning together, and creating and practicing different art skills.  In just a few weeks, my student has taken dozens of photographs, edited them with computer software, measured and cut glass, applied photo transfers, learned how to safely use two glass and cutting tools, trying different design ideas and layouts, and is now working on her first mosaic panel.

 Meanwhile, I am enjoying getting to know this young lady, and brewing up some ideas of my own.  Join us Friday evening, celebrate Valentine's day, and support our local arts!