Saturday, June 12, 2010

So We Begin

So we begin:  On day one Ms. Biggs gives us a first rate inspiring lecture in the a.m. and then goes around the room discussing project ideas with each student. I have long been thinking about creating a pattern using bugs as the main element so we talk about that and she tells me to do a bit of sketching. Then I run home to grab the materials I have been hoarding for the last 2 months to create this "bug pattern"  and I start playing around with materials.  I am unsure about what to use as the background element. I pour  through the supplies on hand at the arts center and I come up with a big fat nothing. All I have are these yummy shiny ceramic beads that look like bug bodies and I have no ideas for a background treatment.  Emma comes around and says well, let me see what I can find. She goes over to this huge stash of supplies that I have already spent 30 minutes digging through and she walks back over to me within about 2 minutes with a very ugly Mexican tile that looks like it belongs in the bathroom of a fast food taco joint.  She takes this ordinary tile with her thin broken hand ( no really she took a tumble recently and is in a cast) and she starts nipping away at it and she chips the glaze off to reveal this stunning rough pumpkin colored organic looking material that is totally perfect in color and texture for what I am doing.
I am in awe, how in the heck did she see the magic hiding inside this boring common tile? She points out that even the tiny bits of distressed glaze that did not get chipped off are very lovely. Of course I love anything messy and imperfect so I jump all over that and on day two I spend a lot of time chipping and preparing my distressed background tiles.

 On day three I had a go at the hammer and hardie ( shown above) in an effort to chip away the glaze faster. It worked pretty well.

Mr. Triangle is not my friend?
On day 3 of the mosaic workshop  Emma stresses again to us that triangles in mosaic work call a lot of attention to themselves and should be used rather sparingly. So on day three I find myself in a cutting funk and every where I place a tile I am setting myself up for the need of a triangle filler. I start to stress out over that and find myself in a real funk, nothing goes together easily on day three.  Then I fret that my apparent frustration is going to make me look like a real wimp, and then I tell myself to heck with it I am a real wimp!  This workshop is indeed just as hard as I had imagined it would be.  I am learning so much though. Emma is a delight and an inspiration. As a teacher she is tough yet encouraging.

 So this morning I find myself enthusiastic even after a somewhat restless night. We are going into day 4 and I am determined to lay down some tile today. I am also determined to relax and remember that it is not about me or this one silly project, we have a very inspiring woman here from across the pond as they say and I need to listen, ask questions and know that some of the stuff may not soak in until weeks later, and that is ok. The important thing is to be present.


AutumnLeaves said...

My gosh, Rebecca! Methinks you are getting a lot from this week that you didn't think you'd get or enjoy! I can't wait to see what you do come up with! Just out of curiosity...Couldn't you just use the back sides of those tiles and not worry about chipping off the ceramic glazed side?

Rebecca Collins said...

:) yes, I could and some are the backs but there is a real beauty in the way the glaze bits stick on in some areas. And even when using the backsides I still have to gnaw into the tile with my tool to achieve the irregular surface that resembles soft rock almost. I'll post detail pics soon and a wrap up. Day 4 went pretty well. My last day is today.