mid-winter mosaic

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

This work has great potential for flexibility, for adding panels over time, as well as changing out the garden as the community sees fit. It can have trellises or not have trellises. It can grow food or ornamental native plants. 10 panels more were made through this winter, and were installed to meet our grant deadline. They are beautiful, and leave an open composition for additions later; a planter, a painting, more panels.

One concern as we experiment with a rain garden is the salt runoff from the parking lot above, given the number of icy, snowy days we’ve had. We’ll see how the plants weather the winter. We will let you know about the celebration for the official spring opening. It may be part of a big arts celebration with Art Hop and some other fun and ultra-local events. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, stay warm!

Categories: Uncategorized

takoma park/westmoreland mosaic/fall & winter

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Time to take a break, hibernate. Contact us if you are interested in making an additional panel in the studio of Takoma Park artist Fritzie Seidler. We’ll install more panels and have a party this spring when our garden wakes up. Thanks to all the participants, teachers and supporters in our community who made this beautiful landmark happen.

Categories: Uncategorized

the rain garden

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

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Thanks so much to the City of Takoma Park for their generous contributions to this piece. Public Works brought in the heavy equipment and took up about 2×50 feet of sidewalk for our rain garden. They installed the pipe and drain, gravel, filters, everything needed to water the plants, and to filter storm-water run-off from a parking lot.  Thanks to City Gardener Mike Welsh for the beautiful and functional stone border, and rocks to break the flow of water.

We planted 50 feet of native plants: hyssop, coneflower, black-eyed Susans, 3 kinds of sedum, grasses….

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panel installation

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Everyone who hasn’t finished will have a chance to. We will be adding a few more panels on the far left, so be in touch if you have one to finish. A zillion thanks to Ken Gedling, Fritzie Seilder, Alice Sims, Luke Vawter for all the work sessions, teaching people how to do this. And installer Mr. Michael Hancock and wife, for their careful expertise with our precious panels!

There will be some work sessions over the winter.

It’s really pretty.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Installation prep

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment

All the panels are ready to go; caulked and waterproofed. Local mosaic luminaries Tracy Councill, Marika Partridge & Riki Schneyer  shared their talents and produced 3 large panels over the summer. The safest place on the wall to support large panels will determine placement of 40 gorgeous smaller panels. What a joy to see them sparkle in the sunshine! Thanks Ann, for numbering each piece. That will come in handy on Monday! See you then.

Categories: westmoreland mosaic

what’s next

July 12, 2010 2 comments

Congratulations, everyone.

After the creation of almost 40 beautiful panels, based on Japanese geometric designs, and a few large panels for emphasis, drama, and visibility from the street, we are ready to install them. The contractor will be at the wall on Monday, September 13th. We’re not sure how long the process will take, but if you want to meet for a drink in town, just leave a comment.

Come by around 6:30pm and see how they look!

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Thanks to City of Takoma Parks Public works, for great advice, and for offering to bring in the heavy equipment to dig the trench in the existing sidewalk, lay the drains for the rain garden and the use of a Bobcat to shovel 30 cubic yards of special soil into the 50 foot trench. Wow!

We will let everyone know when the planting date is set, and we hope that you can come out with kids and neighbors to celebrate and plant a plant. We’d love to show Roy Kahn’s video on last year’s project, as well as the award-winning City of Takoma Park Snapshots piece.

Do try this at home!

Categories: westmoreland mosaic

some technical specs

July 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Some participants have asked for some technical specs, and we certainly want to provide them, since the point of the project is to empower participants to make art on their own, for their own homes and projects, as well as helping  new people in our ongoing projects. Please use the blog format to comment and question! So, here are some basics:

Exterior mosaic requires  lot more care about materials than interior, which can be done with Elmer’s glue and any old grout (or not). Outside, moisture is your enemy – in our climate we have to deal with expansion during freeze/thaw cycles. Here is what we used on this project:

– Cement board panels. We used Wonderboard. Durock is fine too. It’s a cement backerboard available at Home Depot.

– We painted the back of the panels with a special moisture barrier. For the library, Tyvek was used.

– Use glass (stained glass, glass tiles or globs) and ONLY ceramic tile graded for outdoor use. There have been tragedies with left over bathroom tile used outdoors. It will spall, or pop the face of the tile off. Same with old plates etc. Those are great for interior pieces.

– Make sure you use some sort of protection on the edges of you mirror. Participants have sprayed every edge of every piece of mirror in this project, and the last, with a special sealant. The Visionary Art Museum used polyurethane. Time will tell. Grout will eat away at the silvering of the mirror, and you will be looking at adhesive, with no sparkle.

–  A marine adhesive to glue glass and tile to the boards, not the usual thinset.

–  An grout graded for exterior, not the usual grout available at the Home Depot, but one that is pretty much sand and acrylic admix. Alice as found a good brans, which everyone seemed to like it, with  pretty easy wiping and clean-up. It cures to a very durable state, but you can still drill through it if you forget the drill holes.

– Don’t forget to leave drilled holes for Tapcon bolts! Drill before grouting then fill with wax, paper, whatever, so that grout doesn’t fill it up.

– Don’t forget to leave space between glass tiles, ceramic, etc. at least 1/16” or so. The grout is the sealer for keeping water out, and you need to be able to get the grout between the tiles fully.

– Try not to grout too close to the edges (may ½” tp an inch). Its not as much of an issue with the panels hung as high as they will be, but in general, you don’t want to do that. Shape the edge in a bullnose, beveled fashion with the grout.

Thanks to the American Visionary Arts Museums for mentoring us in the technical side of things last year. It’s an ongoing study for the best, most durable materials.

What else? Comments? Questions?

Categories: westmoreland mosaic


July 12, 2010 1 comment

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Thanks so much to everyone who participated and created such joyful, beautiful work. We’ve seen some old friends from last year on this project, and a lot of new people as well. Alice, Fritzie Seidler, Luke Vawter and Ken Gedling took the lead and shepherded this project through. Thanks to building owner Bruce Levin, we’ve had storage space on site, and everyone braved the soaring temperatures to make beautiful diamonds of mandala-like blooms, a Flower Power homage to Takoma Park’s famous 60’s history.

Categories: westmoreland mosaic


July 12, 2010 1 comment

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After everyone’s wonderful work at the Takoma Mosaic Project in the spring of ’09, Alice and I started scouting the next location. The big white wall on Westmoreland off of Carroll seemed ideal. One day I was coming out of Still Point after a heavenly massage and Charlie Pilser was coming out of his new recording studio, and we headed for each other, both saying “I want to talk with you” with the same idea in mind. Charlie kicked in the first seed money, followed by the Old Takoma Business Association, wrangled by Roz Grigsby. DC Greenworks got in on the sustainability end, designing a rain garden for the storm water runoff that’s a problem at this location. There are several problems with this location that had to be dealt with in the design choices, primarily the damp and uneven wall that precludes a contiguous design like the library. The City of Takoma Park helped us a long with a Small Community Project grant and when we approached Public Works about regulations for planters on the sidewalk, they said “Let’s just dig it up and do it right” (the City has also acknowledge everyone’s efforts by giving an Azalea Award to last years’ library project as the best art piece in the City for 2009). Alice and her organization, Art For The People, took care of many, many permits.

Categories: westmoreland mosaic