It has occurred to me that doing this in installments may have set up an expectation. Like daily installments, lots of progress. But that’s not how mosaic works. It takes time. Lots of time. Its a slow process. So if you were expecting something that unfolds in fast forward like time lapse photography, well, you may have to deal with time, real time.
I remember reading that the idea that stress is caused by the fast pace of life is actually wrong. Nowadays, we are stressed by things that don’t happen fast enough. We snap our fingers with impatience at microwaves, bank machines and computers that take longer than a few seconds to do their job or load. So mosaic is like a step into the past, where time takes, well, hours, days, weeks but definitely not seconds.
And sometimes other things get in the way of doing things too. Like the fact that sometimes you get sick, as I was for three long weeks. Or that you get company, happy enjoyable company but it puts you off your progress. But lately, I’ve made progress, some forwards, some backwards.
First I worked on the water lily or lotus leaves. That came together well. Then I needed to make decisions about the pond. The plate I’d originally planned to use was a disaster. It broke in jagged edges, was too thick and finally abandoned.
But the one I chose next was an improvement. Lovely, dark green with a pattern that to me spoke of ripples in a pond. The problem with it is that it also doesn’t break as well as I’d like. But that’s also part of mosaic, the lack of control, sometimes you have to go with the flow and work with that. And take more time to piece it together.
Next was the stand that the Buddha is resting on. I’d chosen a plate that just didn’t work with my new choice of pond. Students are always surprised when they discover that you can change things that are glued down. That’s what chisels are for, I tell them.
So off came the plate, and now that portion will be covered in my stash of carefully hoarded gold tiles. Being creative always seems to come down to making one decision after another.
Yesterday, I made progress with the pond. It seemed to go along so well. Maybe it was because I was listening to 10 New Songs by Leonard Cohen as I worked. Music is so important in the studio. Somehow Leonard’s deep smoky baritone and beautiful words just helped the pieces fit.
Now the only problem I face is that I don’t have enough of this lovely dark green plate and may have to use the chisel again to steal pieces of it already ensconced in the background. Or make another thrift store run. Hopefully I’ll get lucky and find more of it. That will take more time. But, time, the slow unfolding of it as you work is really what creating a mosaic is all about. It’s a slow art.