Tuesday, May 29, 2012


4 years.  This was how long I pondered about, wished upon, and mulled over the enormity of the mural.

4 months.  This is the amount of time it took of hardcore work to produce it.

11 cans of spraypaint.  I kept trying for 15 so that I could be like the Bright Eyes lyric.

2.  We tapped out both the Lowes in DuBois AND Bartonsville of bronze spraypaint.

300ish pounds of clay.  I say "ish" because this is the amount of 50 pound boxes that I opened, but there's no telling how much clay we actually used.

69 designers... and, boy, are they diverse.

74 tiles.  Some kids did two.

One heart. (Thanks, Dante, for that one).

20-25.  This was how many tiles fit into a kiln load at a time.

5 trips to Lowes for spraypaint or tile adhesive.  I'm a bad estimator.

2 weeks.  This was the amount of time that I walked around with a permanent headache because of the spraypaint.

A heapful of fans.  Thanks, guys.  You had no idea what your simple, "It's goods", did for me.

One tube of lipstick for the celebration toast (because, damnit, I deserve it).

5 bottles of soda and 80 fancy cups.  One knod from Elvis in Walmart at 9:15 in the evening.

3 months.  When the mural will actually be finished.  We still have a three dimensional border to do.

Soda toast

This place is crazy.

We are in the homestretch of the end of school.  It's hot, children are complacent at best, and we have a crap ton of obligations to scratch off of the ol' to-do list.  Forget grades!  Let's build something, kids.

The mural is not easy to figure out how to lay out, and granted, I should have had a talk with my dad, or the maintenance guys, or somebody else (anybody else!) who had a brain about these logistics.  Perhaps I breathed in too much spray paint.  Lordy.


I didn't have that conversation, though.  I laid out the first layer because I was worried about structure, and cemented the suckers up.  Halfway through, I realized that was just about the dumbest thing I could have possibly done.  This mural needs strategically-placed gaps to accomodate the crazy dimensions of these tiles (particularly in the O section).  Kids build with clay, and not everything is precise, let's face it.  So, I was left with places where tiles were just not fitting, and luckily, we could pry off the problematic ones and readjust to fit the mural into place.  In retrospect, I should have built the mural by placing tiles in vertical groupings, and just line 'em up as they were needed (which we did for the latter portion).  I know that the central part of the mural would be way more precise if I had started out this way, but in the spirit of Louise Nevelson, I just have to say that I reacted to what the art was telling me to do, and this is how it turned out.  Wanna make something of it?  HUH?!?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Everything's Better with Sparkle

So, for four months, people have asked one question more than any.  WHAT COLOR?

Louise Nevelson, City Sunscape, 1979

Exactly.  What color?  I knew what I didn't want.  I didn't want black.  That would be way too dark to make everyone in the school happy.

Louise Nevelson, Dawn's Wedding Chapel IV, 1960

I didn't want white, either.  This is noteworthy because I consider myself to be the queen of white, with its crispness and simplicity.  It wouldn't transform the space the way that I wish to.  The hallway seems to be too much of an institutional white to begin with.  We need something with a bit more zip...

photo courtesy Riley Maynard

I wanted something warm, something that would give contrast to the existing wall color that did not overpower.  I desired something different from my palette that I normally go to.  Bronze seems like the perfect selection.  Earthy and warm, without overpowering tones of orange like copper has, bronze gives great shadows along with a fantastic sheen to highlight with.  I love it.  There's a life to the tiles now that there is color added.