Making mosaics is always meditative for me. I spend hours determining exactly where each square goes, trying to balance the colors and textures. It’s a puzzle where all the pieces fit and there are hundreds of solutions, but always only one that I want.
In late 2011 I made a headboard for my new bed. After cutting the board to the right size I had a large piece left that sat in the carport until spring. Then one day I had an idea; I would make two birds in a blue sky. I wanted the look of a mosaic without the weight and expense of glass because the board was about 1.5 by 4.5 feet. So instead I gathered a pile of old magazines from friends and armed myself with a square hole punch to create a paper mosaic.
It’s funny how this piece felt so easy to work on despite how much space there was to cover. The idea was always clear and working on it was satisfying and peaceful. I cut hundreds of squares from the magazines, some fiber paper, gorgeous wrapping paper I’d saved, and even an acrylic abstract I’d made myself.
After creating just the right range of blues I worked on the birds. I decided on wood thrushes because “Song For a Wood Thrush” is one of my favorites and was playing a lot in my headphones at the time. I wish I could say how many hours I put in, but I do remember the very late nights vividly. I’d stand up at 2am to stretch after sitting on the living room floor, hunched over for hours gluing pieces one at a time. Four months and about 800 squares later I was finished and very happy with the piece. However, I knew there was always something unfinished about it; the gold border was a little crooked and not quite the right color.
At the beginning of this June I decided I was ready to show the piece and that meant I had reason to really tackle it and make some upgrades. I measured it out, got the perfect shade of bronze paint for the border, and went to work for one last night. I’ve always struggled with names so I kept it simple: “For A Wood Thrush.”