Life is a Mosaic

October 2013

Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study.  Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.  ~Henry L. Doherty

Have you ever had the experience of learning something new that sort of takes over your brain – your thinking patterns or how you actually see things?

For example:
My mother once told me that when she was learning how to sew, she actually sewed her dreams. She sewed peoples faces as she stood talking to them. She sewed the landscape of southern Illinois. In other words, she saw everything as pieces of fabric stitched together.
Can you imagine? You’re looking someone square in the eye and all you can see are the stitches that are holding their baby blues in place?

We laughed so hard, but I actually understood what she was saying.She shared that story with me when I was in high school and taking the mandatory typing class (which I hated and skipped most of the time, because – and I quote – “I am never going to be any one’s secretary. I’m going to be an actress. I will never need this skill.”) This was, of course, long before computers, cell phones and tablets. I had mentioned to Mom that learning how to type was driving me crazy, not only because I inherently hated it and what it stood for in my mind, but also because I typed everything out in my head; every single thing I said and was said to me, every sentence uttered on television and every song on the radio – it all had to be typed out in my mind before I could actually process it. It drove me crazy.

Believe it or not, I’m experiencing it all over, again. I’ve been working on a mosaic to donate to a local homeless center for an auction folks there are planning. They asked nine local and well-known artists  – and me – to re-purpose some items picked out from the center’s thrift store. I laughed when they asked me to “join the fun,” because I’m far from being an artist. But I love a challenge and, frankly, I prefer to be as busy as possible. So, I said, “Sure!”

I picked out a two-drawer night stand, thinking all I’d do would be to repaint it. But I soon decided that i needed to do something a little  more challenging for me. So I decided  I’d cover the top of it in a mosaic.
Now, be sure you understand this – I have never made a mosaic, and I’m no artist.
I started off sanding and repainting the nightstand, then drew my pattern on a piece of paper the same size as the top of it. I transferred my pattern to the wood top, cracked up some pieces of colored glass (supplied by a very good friend) and began gluing them in place (using Liquid Nails).
It started to take shape and that’s when the “trouble” began. I’m sure it will stop in a few days, but right now, everything I look at is a mosaic. I can’t look at anything without wondering what it would look like as a pattern for a mosaic or if it would make a good surface for one. I close my eyes and see a mosaic. Ha!
Once all the glass pieces were glued down, I grouted the top of the nightstand with sandless, pre-made grout available at any home improvement store. I wiped off the excess and waited a day or two for it to completely dry. Then I cleaned all of the glass and sealed the grout.
I’m still not an artist, certainly no Italo Botti. But I am enjoying this new art form/craft and actually hope to have the time to do more. (I’m hoping I can bid on my beautiful nightstand.)
PS — this project took me about two weeks to complete, working on it for about an hour each night after work. But well worth the effort.
And, yes, I also tried something new with my hair, but very soon went back to my old ways.

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