Mosaics Everywhere!

We never noticed how many mosaics are in our local community until we started doing them ourselves. Edwin and I adore public art and hope to become public mosaic artists. With our interest in public art, it has been amazing to realize that mosaics are all around us. I always get excited when we are out and about and see a mosaic that we had no idea existed.

I first noticed public art mosaics in Silver Spring when I walked through the pedestrian passageway to get to my classes at Montgomery College. Soon after, I noticed that the back of the benches in downtown Silver Spring are decorated with broken glass. The big stairway next to the fountain in downtown Silver Spring used to be decorated with mosaics too.

When I spot mosaics, I like to look them up, try to find the artist, and learn more about their style and how they got into the art form. Some of the mosaics we see don’t have the name of the artist, making it all the more interesting because we are left to wonder about its story.

Seeing mosaics is inspiring because it is proof that mosaic art is alive and well and is integrated into so much of our community. I have posted photos of some of the mosaics that we have snapped while we were out to show how common they are.

We hope to find many more public mosaics and we hope to one day do some ourselves. :)

The Galaxy Apartments (8025 13th Street, Silver Spring, MD, 20910)

The Galaxy Apartments (8025 13th Street, Silver Spring, MD, 20910)

Glenmont Metro Station (12501 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20906) 

Glenmont Metro Station (12501 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20906) 

The Silver Pass by Arts on the Block (Georgia Avenue between Sligo Ave and Blair Mill Rd. Silver Spring, MD 20910)

The Silver Pass by Arts on the Block (Georgia Avenue between Sligo Ave and Blair Mill Rd. Silver Spring, MD 20910)

One of many mosaic benches in downtown Silver Spring by Arts on the Block

One of many mosaic benches in downtown Silver Spring by Arts on the Block

From a Model to a Rainbow, Sam Gilliam, 2011: Takoma Park Metro Station (327 Cedar St. NW, Washington, DC 20012)

From a Model to a Rainbow, Sam Gilliam, 2011: Takoma Park Metro Station (327 Cedar St. NW, Washington, DC 20012)

Washington Ethical Society (7750 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20012)  

Washington Ethical Society (7750 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20012)

 

HOW WE UNWIND

Every week feels busy. Scratch that, every week is busy. Starting our small business has been a whirlwind and we are, of course, still learning the ropes. With every day being so busy, we try to take time out for ourselves and do little things we enjoy- you know, so we can still stay sane. Self-care is so important. Between both of us working full-time, having a small business, and me working on my other passion- a children’s novel- we have to find time to do things that relax us and play. :)

1.      Soccer/running- Edwin loves soccer, I love running. Some days after work we will go to the park down the street and either run or play soccer. An hour or so of being outside and being in the moment with physical activity helps to relieve stress and keep me balanced. I love working out and used to do it a lot more. Now I find myself with less energy and time, but I still try to do it as much as possible.

 

2.       Meditation- I’ve practiced little by little over the years and I can see the difference. I am more able to stay in the moment and keep focused. When we have time we like to go the Meditation Museum and practice/learn about meditation.

 

3.       Baking/Making snacks: I love to bake. I find it relaxing and at the end of it there is a sweet treat to eat. I find that baking clears my head, slows things down, and keeps me in the moment. Plus Edwin always gets excited when I bake something. It’s a win-win.

 

4.       Hiking/nature- If it involves physical activity I’m usually in. If it involves physical activity outdoors, well, what can be better than that? I like hiking so much because it’s a great way to get moving and also enjoy nature. Other things we both enjoy are gardens and watching/spotting animals. I love how we’re always excited to see a bunny, a deer, or a chipmunk. :)

5.       Doing something new: Getting out of the routine is refreshing and needed. Luckily, we have a dear friend who is always inviting us to events and encouraging us to get out and enjoy ourselves- the mosaics will be there when we get back. Whether an activity is new for one of us or both of us, it’s always fun to share an experience that we’ve never had together before!

The Art of Making Mosaics Together

I remember coming home from class one day and telling Edwin about the new craft we were learning-mosaics. 

I was intrigued by them and so was he. He helped me work on a project, and then a week or so later we made another one just for fun. While most of my crafts class was vowing to never do a mosaic again, Edwin and I were thinking about all the mosaic making possibilities. After trying our hand at a few more "just for fun" mosaics, we really got into it and decided to start our own business. Edwin and I love working together and I want to share how we make it work. 

Patience for the art form.

First of all we have to practice patience for the art form. Mosaics take a ton of work. There's designing, cutting glass, choosing color schemes, and grouting and finishing the mosaic. We put a lot of time into each of our mosaics. Sometimes I think we are moving too slow. Sometimes I feel like I've been looking at the same unfinished mosaic for weeks. Chances are, I probably have. Mosaics are an arduous task, and depending upon design size and glass cuts, it can take quite a bit of time. Although mosaics can be a time consuming undertaking, we love doing them and we love seeing our finished products. Our love for mosaics allows us to have patience for them. 

Understanding each other's working styles.

Edwin and I make it a point to acknowledge and respect each other's working styles.

When I cut glass I like to cut a bunch in advance. Edwin cuts glass tiles as he goes, one by one (bless his soul, I don't know how he does this). Interestingly enough, this is a very efficient way of working for him.

Edwin and I think differently about some things, but ultimately we both have a passion for mosaics and want to make interesting work. Everything else is a matter of learning, acknowledging, and respecting each other's processes. Our differences often allow us to have interesting conversations and give us the opportunity to see things in a new light. 

Being open to each other's ideas and allowing freedom and independence.

Working in a pair is so much fun because we are always brainstorming together. We also constantly tweak our work depending upon suggestions from one another. Oftentimes we come up with neat collaborative ideas that we would have never thought of by ourselves.

On the same token, it is also important for us to have freedom and independence. We don't always completely agree on each other's ideas or even understand them. Sometimes the way we make it work is by just letting the other person do their own thing. Later we can show each other the results. We then can have a discussion about what each of us thinks does and doesn't work.

What we are learning is that experimenting is great, and when in doubt that is usually what we do. When we experiment we always learn something new. Even if the new thing learned is to never do what we did again. 

Knowing both our weaknesses and strengths/likes and dislikes.

I'm terrible at color schemes. At least I think I am. I love designing, but when it comes to color schemes I always have trouble.  Edwin on the other hand has a natural knack for colors. His skill in color definitely makes up for what I'm lacking. With that being said, Edwin doesn't like transferring designs to the wood. This is something I love and find relaxing. It's so nice to have one another to help with weaknesses and dislikes, and also enhance our strengths. It makes mosaic making all the more enjoyable.

Just having fun.

All in all, making mosaics is something both Edwin and I enjoy. We feel lucky to be able to do it with someone we love. :)