This mural represents a first-of-its-kind for me: a commission to transform an entire middle school hallway (formerly quite drab) into a beautiful and engaging underwater scene.
Here’s how the hallway looked before:
There are three classrooms of students with special needs located in this hallway, as well as a computer lab. The school library is just around the corner, as is a stairwell to the 2nd floor, and a door to the outside. Many students pass through all day long. The goal was to engage the students in the three classes in a project that would enliven and beautify the area where they spend most of their school day. Mission accomplished!
We began by creating sea creatures in clay, which I fired in my studio’s kiln.
Then we used some of those many creatures as “tiles,” along with broken colored tile pieces, to form a series of larger creatures in mosaic. (This was done in an indirect method by gluing the tiles onto mesh, which I later installed on the wall. Why? So that the students could make the mosaics on tables in the library rather than having 20 students up on ladders in the hallway!)
After I installed and grouted the mosaic creatures and painted on some “water” in large diagonal strokes (think sunlight shining through the shallow water above a coral reef…), the students added more creatures in acrylic paint.
This phase could have gone on forever, of course, but we declared the mural “finished” in early April 2015, and had a mini hallway celebration to enjoy our efforts. Of course, the students and teachers who worked on this project will enjoy it every day they come to school!