This mosaic is junk. No, really. It is 100% scrap that any sane person would have tossed right into the trash. But not me. I just can’t help myself.
It all started with my artist in residence gig. At my events, the little ‘pancakes’ of thinset that people would make their climate-action mosaics out of were going like, well, like hotcakes. There was no time to be picky about how pretty and smooth their edges were as I was hurriedly spreading them. In the heat of the moment, that was definitely a problem for Future Julie. And so, after each event was done, faced with ugly cracked and chunky dried edges, I set about nipping them off to tidy the pieces up. After doing the first batch, I looked down at my little pile of offcuts and thought: Yep, I think I could make something out of that. So I dutifully saved every single scrap I nipped off the edges of all 244 community-made mosaics.
Over the months, as my pile grew, I daydreamed of what I’d make out of them. I could not get those scraps out of my head. But I couldn’t just dive into a project that used them, because there were other projects in the pipeline that needed to get made first. Ugh, deadlines. This, of course, only made me want to make this mosaic even more.
Finally it was time. I can’t even tell you how good this project felt. It was like I was playing the whole time. I’m sure the delayed gratification had something to do with this, but I think a large part of it was owing to the scraps themselves. As someone who normally struggles with being too precise and also with being terrified of colour, the wonkiness of those colourful little scraps set me free. And using the leftover colour mixes to adhere the scraps—the exact same mixes that the scraps themselves were made out of—just felt so over-the-top to my colour-fearing self that, of course, it was perfect.
Now, you might be wondering about the title, “Enough (Talk)”. Well, I’ve decided that this definitely qualifies as one of my “Enough” pieces. Though I didn’t take one thing, chop it up, and put it back together again, like I did with “(More than) Enough” and “Enough (Size matters),” the spirit is the same. It is about a shrewd and thoughtful use of a material; it is about not wasting a single scrap. And the “talk” part? Where did that come from? I’ve previously written about how each of the community-made mosaics in “Baseline (We’re just getting started)” is like one voice in a big noisy conversation about climate change, each one nudging the dialogue forward. And if each individual community-made mosaic is one voice, then the scraps are snippets of those conversations.
But enough talk. It’s time for action.
Brilliant, brilliant! In concept, and gosh, the same word applies to the colour! Inspired by you, I’ve started saving my leftover pots of thinset by spreading them on plastic sheets to cure in odd shaped pancakes. I’ve been layering them with subsequent day’s leftovers. Eventually I’ll cut them up into tesserae for something!
Thanks Lynn! So awesome that you’re starting to save the dregs of your mixes. It was Erin Pankratz who inspired me to do it, though her leftovers are far more colourful than the ones I seem to accumulate (this project notwithstanding) :-)
I love this. The concept and inspiration to other mosaic artists (so much hardened leftover thinset generated – and it might work with excess grout, too). And it has great flow.
Thanks! Can’t imagine that grout wouldn’t work. Sure worth a shot!