Sunday, May 18, 2008

A birthbath story

I have been feeling a bit off lately. No real reason I can put my fingers on. Spring has been slow coming. Not enough sun. Too much rain. I haven't worked on any of my own art in months, just a few random, not my style commissions. Yada, yada, yada, Yesterday I decided to stay home. It was fairly nice. I would spray some rampant weeds, clean up the junk piled in and out of my garage. Make room in there so that I can do some work! Clean out the garden etc........... As always my ADD kicked in, and I spray some of the weeds, cleaned part of the garden, cleaned some of the garage and straightened up some of the junk piled up outside of the garage. A little of everything, all of nothing, but in doing so I ran across one of my first mosaic projects, a birdbath.

It is very ugly, with mosaic only on the bowl portion. I used interior wall tile and polyurethane glue, which even then I knew could not stay outside in the winter. I justified it in my mind by promising that I would always bring it in for the cold part of the year. HA! That happened the first year and never again. It was left out to become nothing but a pile of glaze chips in an awful bowl with an even worse paint job on the base! Well needless to say, its dilapidated appearance distracted me from all else I had planned for the day.

I muscled it into the garage and with a maul and chisel removed all of the broken tile, therapy in itself. I grabbed the base and scrubbed it clean! Looking better already! It was about 3:30 I decided I would do a mosaic on the base, with three rules. One I couldn't go to the shop for any materials. Two I had to be finished by 5:30 (unrealistic!). No real reason I just wanted it to be done and fast without getting caught up in all the design process, and sitting half finished into eternity. Lastly no cutting. Pick it and stick it! I love the crude rawness of so many of the "folk" mosaicists like Sam Rodia and Fred Smith this was a good opportunity for me to enlist it and get out of my "It must be a great thing when it's finished zone". After all the birdbath could not get any worse!

I have a large pile of gravel sitting in my drive now. (Leftover from a landscaping project) The glacier has left some beautiful stone for us here in Wisconsin. Granites in all the colors of the rainbow, Quartz, and much of it was polished by god (and the glacier). So I grabbed a bucket of stones, mixed a bucket of mud and began to pick it and stick it! Smear on the mud, push in the stone, and cover it as fast as I could! As a worked the stones and I talked just as we did when I was a little girl collecting them in a bucket from the creek or at the lake. They were all excited to become a part of my birdbath, and no longer lost in the pile with the others, destined to become part of my driveway. I added some smalti in green and blue so that they could feel like they were at home at the creeks edge.

I finished at 7:00, not 5:30. The time flew and I remembered how I feel when I just make stuff, just because I had an idea, when I just let the process carry me to the end. Today I will do the bowl, and time will fly, and next week I will have a (hopefully permanent reminder) of why I do what I do, letting go of the rules and making it just because .

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