Thursday, July 11, 2013

Junction Park Mosaic Mural - A Theodore Community Arts Project

Amanda Whitney (totally amazing Community Development Officer) and I finally get to relax and admire our handiwork!

For you special souls who visit the blog regularly, here is the explanation for the lack of regular postings lately.

Our mosaic wall. That's the reason. It was a big part of our lives for a while. It's finished. Can you hear the heavy, satisfied, exhausted, slightly sad sigh?

That was fun. Full on, and at times overwhelming and a bit scary, but fun. Amanda, our very dedicated Community Development Officer approached me, what seems like years ago now - oh hang on, it was in fact two years ago - with the offer of a wonderful creative opportunity. Would I be interested in creating a design for a mosaic work for our community, and acting as the local coordinator for the Banana Shire Council ? I'm so glad I said yes! Though there may have been moments in the ensuing couple of years when I seriously questioned my faith in my own capabilities, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

This is why:

Theodore locals turned out in force to work on a piece of the mosaic that they'll feel forever connected to.
It's no secret I love our little town and the people who call it home. Sandy Robertson and her wonderful hubby Dave came from Ozmosaics in Brisbane, bearing tools and tiles and other treats; and spent the next seven days showing over 60 Theodore locals the 'how to' of mosaics. No small accomplishment considering that of those 60, maybe 2 had any previous experience of mosaics. That's one of the things I love about this place - people get involved. Even after hearing me on Jacquie Mackay's ABC Radio interview, they still came! To stand in the middle of the shed, and look around at the absorption on people's faces, listen to the stories being shared, the laughter, see the sense of satisfaction when they looked at what they'd accomplished; was a great privilege and tremendous buzz.

Black Cockatoos, Saratoga fish, Tawny Frogmouth Owls (totem of the Wulli Wulli people), Fitzroy Bottom Breathing Turtles and the Livistonia Palm - all locals themselves - are depicted on one side of the wall.

After working on the mosaic (I have to add that 'work' doesn't quite feel like the right word) for 7 days on tables in the shed, we had a break for a couple of weeks, and Sandy and Dave returned, to glue the mosaic onto the wall that had been purpose built in Junction Park, one of Theodore's loveliest spots. A green, leafy, tree studded park, flanked by the Dawson River and Castle Creek; this location was the inspiration for the design. 

Bottle Trees, wheat, cotton, a water wheel, a cow and a slightly abstracted version of the water tower and town main street complete the other side.

Sandy's inextinguishable energy carried us along, as we glued, patched, grouted, cleaned, laughed and shared endless stories. She even showed us her clever secrets to create three dimensional effects with the tiles, as well as the plates and bowls that were donated by the community.

We loved our brass plaques acknowledging 'those who made this project possible' including the State and Federal  Governments, Operation Queenslander, and the Banana Shire Council

These loose circular shapes on the ends represent the stacks of timber from the local sawmill, and  also reference the many  circular traffic islands in Theodore's main street.

I have a confession. I drive down to the park, just to look at this wall. The resident Grey Nomads in their  camper vans possibly think I'm stalking or something. Every time I look at it, I find myself thinking of Jeanie working on the water wheel, Diana creating amazing birds, Lotte bringing the bottle tree to glorious life, Jim laying roadway.... I could go on, and on, and on...... but I'm pretty sure you've got better things to do than listen to me list where 60 individuals laid their tiles. But the point is, I know, and I will always remember. From our youngest kids and oldest residents who created sweet, five petalled flowers that create a special background; to the brave souls who didn't believe they could do it, but discovered that rivers and leaves and green rolling hills were not beyond them at all, this wall has the hearts of a whole community cemented right into it.

One of our talented locals, Kelly, showed up with this amazing cake collection  as we were finishing off the wall.
This Thank you is for them. And for our mosaic artist extraordinaire Sandy and Dave, whose DNA is in this wall - literally. Sandy bled into it more than once! For Community Development Officer Amanda, without whose vision and efforts this would never had come to life. For Laticrete - ceramic tile and stone installation products manufacturers -  who very generously donated all the glues, cements and grouts we would need for the project, and to everyone who supported, encouraged and shared in any part of the process. I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity, and beyond delighted with the results. One day, the grout might even come out from under my fingernails!


Gail said...

The grout does come out Tracey. I've proved it. haha
The Mosaic Mural will hold the stories and memories for years and bring memories back of the time you made it.
Thanks for allowing me to come and share in this wonderful project, I felt very privileged among the Theodorians and gave me the momentum to get my step done. Yeah!!! put the final sealer coat on this morning before going and visiting my Grandsons in Calliope. In all a great day, and the step (even though I say it myself) looks pretty darn great!!!
The finished wall (as i left before it was finished) Looks wonderful and you should all be very proud of your achievement. Well done everyone!!!

Tracey Hewitt said...

Gail, it was great to have you with us! I'll never forget how cold it was that day though!
One day I'll have to pop in and check out your step - I bet it looks awesome.
We are all pretty chuffed with the end result of the wall... It's been an amazing ride!