Creative Journeyat Tonglen Lake Lodge

The Mosaic Story

Mosaic detail.
Laying out the design on the netting and plastic.
Seemingly endless piecing.
Ford begins gluing.
Donna sectioning the image. Cruiser cutting cardboard for packaging.
Karen packaging the sections.
Packing the luggage.

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In February, I traveled to Springdale, Utah just outside Zion National Park and to the winter home of Karen and Ford Reeves.  The place is breathtaking and a stunning inspiration.  There was no better spot for immersing ourselves in a week long, mosaic marathon. 

The first day we shopped for materials and I hastily designed a composition based on Van Gogh's Starry Night but with a bit of Denali thrown in.  Neither one of us had any experience in creating a piece of this size and honestly, it was my very first mosaic.  There were inherent challenges in the process; mainly, how do we get the thing back to Denali?  We decided to pick up some netting and placed it on top of a plastic drop cloth with the intent of adhering the pieces to the netting so that it would be flexible and lend itself to sectioning.  The image was sketched on these with a marker. 

Hours ran into days of breaking up tile and glass, piecing and then gluing.  The general lament was that all the work was done at floor level but once started, there was no turning back.  Piecing was completed on Day Five.  Ford was integral in the process by assisting in the gluing and running into town for more glue when we realized that we had grossly underestimated the amount of adhesive needed to complete the job.  Ford even rounded up a recruit by calling Jeff Craig (aka Cruiser) and inviting him to drive over to be a part of the project.

The evening of Day Seven heralded the end of gluing.  My flight left the next night and we still had to section the thing and stuff it into suitcases for the trip home.  A few unknowns here.... total weight being at the top of the list.  An early morning start that last day and the four of us were able to cut it up into suitcase-sized sections, wrap them (Karen diligently counted ALL the pieces on each section so that we would have a total number of pieces used!), package three sections together, and then stuff those packages into four suitcases.  Karen and I were due to leave at 1:30pm to head to the airport.  We were ready at 1:25. 

Thank you, Karen and Ford, for willingly opening your home to an adventure, for your much needed support and your cherished friendship. 

Thank you, Cruiser, for being a great sport.

Thank you, Alaska Airlines, for not losing my luggage. 

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