Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Kim Larson-Amy Blackshaw Wall Mural

My good friend, Kim Larson, has already told this story over on her blog, but, gave me permission to post it here as well since some of my readers aren't subscribers to her blog.

Here goes....

A couple of years ago, I met Amy Blackshaw, with her two children, Maya and Milo. We started chatting, and immediately hit it off. (We have a Maya in our family, too, so that's how the conversation began...) A week or so later, John and I ran into Amy at our favorite restaurant in downtown Oakland, and we all promised to stay in touch.... but then we all got busy with our lives and didn't....until recently.

Ok...speed ahead a couple of years.

When our daughter, Sarah, announced that she was pregnant awhile ago, I went onto Freecycle recently to try to find a breast pump for her...and lo! It was Amy who offered one. We were happy to reconnect and began an email exchange.

Amy is a mosaic artist, as am I, so naturally, our conversation turned in that direction. She told me she was searching for someone to help her mosaic a mural on a raw cement wall in her back yard and two of the Bay Area's best mosaic artists, Kim Larson and Delaine Hackney, immediately came to my mind, but as I knew Delaine was very busy at the time and probably couldn't help, I contacted Kim who subsequently introduced herself to Amy. They met, felt they were compatible, and decided to team up and take on the job.

Kim, with her graphic arts background, did the excellent design work and headed up the whole project with Amy as her assistant.

This is what the wall looked like before the "Kim Larson treatment"...

Amy was interested in learning the whole mosaic mural process from start to finish and Kim agreed to teach her...because Kim is good that way. :-) Soon, they were up to their necks in tile and glass and nippers and grout and were on their way.

Amy had nothing but good things to report about Kim's teaching abilities, and I'm not surprised. Kim is an excellent communicator and quite competent.

Among other things, the design included a variety of flowers, bees, dragonflies and a likeness of the family cat, all of which Kim made on her own specially designed substrates at home. She then took them to the site and set into the mural before filling in the background.

Kim's design is playful and full of color, energy and movement.

Maya helped her mom with the grouting process:

The finished mural is stunning! From the first glance, all I could do was smile. (Amy's husband came outside with a camera and snapped that first photo of all of us.)

So now, Kim Larson is off to a new re-start on a project that she began a couple of years back...a series of mosaics based on art from the American Southwest. She originally started by cutting the substrates for longhorn bull skulls and has since added other Southwest pieces to the collection. It will be fun to see what she comes up with!

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Stacy Alexander