Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Teen Mosaic GLASS ACT: Part II

We finished up the Teen Mosaics Class at the Ellet Library about a week ago now, and I'm so excited to finally have time to blog about what a wonderful time it was. If you remember from Part I, everyone was thrilled to come back and mix the grout. I am happy to report that we had a full class of 16 very well-behaved students. I was impressed with their patience and diligence, not to mention their ability to work well with minimal instruction.

For this class, my assistant was Amy, who proved her mastery in mixing grout. It is important to achieve an icing-like consistency to ensure an even application. Some students were very specific in their color choices, which required us to mix in some paint to the grout. This was a risky undertaking, and Amy and I breathed a major sigh of relief when it worked out well. Here's Amy and a student discussing some of the steps involved in mixing the grout:
Amy says "Are you sure you need to mix colors?"

Amy and students deciding on paint colors
She is a task-master for sure! The kids loved having her there to help. I am so lucky to have such amazing helpers and friends. The students showed a great sense of color throughout the whole process. Kids at this age have such boundless creativity, and I think it has something to do with not being afraid. Adults need to remember this. Messing up is not a big deal, so there's no need to hold back just because you're worried about making a mistake.

Working on our grout
A mosaic, as I'm sure you know, is the art of creating an image with small bits of colored glass, stone, or other materials. The small pieces, known as tesserae, are used to create a unified pattern or picture. This requires some planning and a lot of concentration. A common method of making mosaics is called the direct method, which is when the individual pieces are glued onto a supporting surface. The grout, a mixture of water, cement, sand, and color tint, fills in the spaces between the glass pieces. It goes on as a thick liquid, but it doesn't take long for it to harden.

Explaining the importance of an even application
It's such a great feeling to watch a piece take shape as you work on it. The movement and flow of the individual pieces (the tesserae) has a very fancy name: Adamento. Say it out loud--it's fun. 

In the end, the grout colors accented all of the pieces very well. Their finished creations are such a reflection of their personalities. After we finished up, I took the pieces home and sealed them. I hope someone reminds all my wonderful students that their finished artwork can be picked up at the front desk of the Ellet Library. 

Thanks again to the staff at Ellet Library for providing these worthwhile activities for kids.

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