From Trash to Treasure: The Making of a Mosaic Quilt

A few months ago, a woman contacted me and said that she had been looking for a local mosaic artist. She told me that for the past 10 years or so, she had saved the pieces of every special piece of pottery or dish ware that had broken in her house. I was immediately intrigued.

Her idea was to have me make a mosaic out of these treasured bits, to give to her daughter for her 16th birthday, which was just after Christmas.

Beautiful broken bits

I found myself wanting to know all about this young woman, her interests, her style, etc. so that I could create something she would love. Through our conversation, we determined that the mosaic would be in the design of a quilt, somewhat abstract and without a lot of rigid repetition, but with a lot of color. Here is the color drawing we settled on.

There is a parallel between quilting and mosaics, both follow a process of taking objects that previously held one form and function, and cutting and piecing them together to take on a new form and a new significance. This new form becomes a keepsake, telling a collection of stories, old and new. I really enjoyed the quilt research I did for this design.

I wanted this young woman to be able to look at the mosaic and find beauty in it as a whole- in the shapes, colors, textures, and also to be able to look up close at the pieces and recognize them from their ‘past lives’, thus recalling memories she had from those times she used them.

Here is what I created:

And I was thrilled to get an email from my client, the mother of the young woman, right after she had presented the gift. She said that her daughter “loved it, and could not believe her eyes at how so much of our broken pieces could be re imagined so beautifully.  The rest of my family was in awe at how beautiful it is.  Thank you a million times over for the best gift and work of art ever.”

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