Last week we were in a school making mosaics with children for the entire week. We’re always looking for ways to give children more creative decision making and control when using this process so I decided to explore some ideas with art club this term.
In this first session the children worked as a group to create their own colour wheel and think about colour mixing. They placed a selection of glass tiles where they felt they should sit on the colour wheel. Then, to think about the idea of contrast which is really important in mosaic, they took sheets of coloured paper and looked for tiles that really stood out against the background colour. Interestingly a lot of children automatically tried to match the colours so I probably need to think about how I explain the concept of contrast. As a group we talked about the colour choices.
The children used what they had learnt to plan some very simple mosaics which they’ll start work on next week.
After so many people enjoyed the mosaic session we decided to use this medium again. This time we gave each participant a large tile as a base and a plate of different textures and colours of mosaic tiles to work with. Most people immediately started arranging the tiles into very precise patterns and asked for colours as they needed them. One lady experimented further by stacking tiles on top of each other to create a relief pattern.
We were very pleased to have some gentlemen join us today and one of them very carefully cut tiles for us.
Liz started drawing up the panel for the back fence and attracted a few spectators enjoying watching the process. This session felt lively and stimulating and everyone enjoyed a visit from Bury Free Press, EADT and Bury in Bloom.
This week we took along mosaic tiles in a range of colours that the participants had said that they liked most in the garden. We gave each person a plate of mixed colours and surface textures and spent a while just chatting about how they looked and felt and how we might use then to make art.
Because the glue for outdoor mosaic work is not particularly kind to the skin we suggested that people could just lay out the tiles without fixing then we would photograph them to replicate with stronger materials. They laid out the tiles following the lines of cardboard templates based on the shapes they had cut last week.
The materials and process seemed very accessible and most people were very keen to handle the tiles and take creative decisions over the layout. Other participants enjoyed looking at finished mosaics we brought along and joining in the conversation about the garden plans.
This mosaic was made as a community project by Risbygate Arts about 10 years ago and has been hidden away on a wall by the loos in the Abbey Gardens. Bury in Bloom were brave enough to move it to a new prominent location overlooking the Magna Carta flower bed and asked Rojo Art to look at doing some renovation work on it for the Anglia in Bloom judging.
My first inspection of it wasn’t very positive: there were about 200 tiles fallen off and a good coating of mould in parts. Strangely though, once I got started this turned into a very addictive and satisfying process. I also had the added entertainment of explaining the mosaic’s history to interested park users.
Elveden Primary wanted a mosaic inspired by their forest location to brighten the wall outside their main entrance. The children worked on the bird designs in school ahead of the project start and arrived on the first day with plenty of ideas. They then worked in small groups creating the bird designs in glass tiles. They particularly enjoyed used the tile nippers to get the shapes they needed.
The birds were glued to the mosaic bases outdoors and the children took turns to work with the artists on the swirling lines of the mosaic background.