Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mosaics Celebrating the Erie Canal

Mosaic Triptych

In the fall of 2016, I had another opportunity to work with fourth grade students on a mosaic project. This year our subject, also going along with local history, was the Erie Canal. For this project, the students looked at historical photos of the Erie Canal in fort Plain, NY. They chose three photos in which to be the subjects of their mosaics. There are three 4th grade classes and this year they chose to create a triptych. Each class worked on one piece of the triptych.
After the photos were selected, I enlarged them and made a mosaic cartoon.

This is one of the mosaic cartoons for the mosaics.

The students worked on the mosaics from October through December 2016. I prepared the tesserae for each section of the mosaics and outlined each area with the tesserae to be used in that section. This gave the students a guide to the way the tile would be placed. Almost like color by number.

This is the Erie Canal Store. This building no longer exists in this location. It was disassembled and brought the the New York State Museum for reassembling. But recently, it was moved back to Fort Plain for reassembling and will be on display at the Fort Plain Museum.

This piece is the aqueduct, part of the Erie Canal, located in Fort Plain, NY

This mosaic depicts the lift bridge, once located in Fort Plain, but is no longer in existence. The lift bridge is similar to a drawbridge, except that it lifts in one piece, to allow canal boats to pass under, rather than raising in two pieces like a drawbridge.

The three mosaics look beautiful. They will be displayed together, like this at Harry Hoag Elementary School in Fort Plain, NY

For more information and photos go to:

This project was made possible by Saratoga Arts and New York State council on the Arts

Finished Mosaic

The Fort Plain Mosaic is complete

The Students of Harry Hoag Elementary School, Fort Plain, NY did a wonderful job completing this mosaic.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fort Plain Mosaic


On my last visit, we working on finishing the mosaic. The students worked diligently and were so focused on the project…I was impressed!

It is coming along beautifully!

Here I am, working with some of the students.

Great progress has been made!

The mosaic is almost complete. The students will finish this during their art class and then I will grout it. I will be using two colors of grout, charcoal and medium gray.  In these photos, the tile edge is taped off to protect it from the glue and keep it clean. This was one of my biggest challenges…9 year olds have difficulty controlling the adhesive…too much, too little, sometimes more on top of the glass and not enough on the bottom. For this reason, I will be using an epoxy grout because it has adhesive qualities.

Fort Plain Mosaic

My Third Visit

I prepared more glass for my next visit. This was mostly background material. During this time, the kids learned about andamento or flow, for example, the boat shape pieces used to create flowing water in the fountain. The sky was simply triangle fill.

This was a great lesson in thinking and planning for the students. They really had to think about how one piece will affect the next. They could see when they left a small gap, it would be difficult to fill it in with another piece of glass. 

Continuing the Fort Plain Mural

Our first day of mosaic

Here is the start of the mosaic. The glass was precut for the students, they are very young, 4th grade! I cut the glass for specific areas of the mosaic, labeled each piece for placement, the taped the pieces to a piece of cardboard. I bagged the smaller pieces. Then I brought it all to Mrs. Slaweinski's Art Room at the school, where I worked with 6 to 8 students at a time to put the mosaic together.

The kids were so excited about working on this and their excitement grew as the mosaic came together and they were able to visualize and recognize the historic sites of their home town.

At the day's end, I left the unfinished mosaic in the capable hands of Ms. Slaweinski. She continued the work with the students until my next visit.

Friday, November 27, 2015

An Exciting New Challenge

My Introduction to the Fort Plain Mosaic Project

In June of this year, I was contacted by Harry Hoag Elementary School in Fort Plain NY, to work with the fourth grade student on a grant project. The students were to select historical sites from the area and work with me to create a design that would become the groundwork for a mosaic that will be on display in their school. 
On my first visit to the school, I worked with students on choosing historical landmarks for the mosaic and teaching them about mosaic. Most of the children did not even know what a mosaic was. After showing the kids some mosaic pieces, a slideshow where they could see different styles of mosaic, and demonstrations on how to create a mosaic, the kids were bubbling with enthusiasm!!
I went home with a list and photos of some historical landmarks in Fort Plain, that the children thought were important and with their suggestions, I created a design that would make their vision come to life.

Sketch for the Fort Plain Historical Mosaic
Covered Bridge, Bridge over Mohawk River, Fountain at Center of Town,
The Public Library

Saturday, September 6, 2014


I am calling this piece Cordelia...I think this Victorian style name is fitting for her!


Here are some detail photos...