This is the first mosaic I ever made, if you don’t count all those pictures created with dried beans and pictures fashioned with little squares of construction paper in elementary school. Oh, and I guess there were those mud pies from the same time period which were mosaic precursors. Recipe: scoop up dirt, add enough water to make it soupy, and drop by spoonfuls onto smooth cement. Immediately add sticks, Mountain Laurel beans, and pebbles for decoration, and allow to dry in the sun. We had a lot of clay in our soil, so the cookies held together nicely.
This is the first and last time I have used broken pieces of large ceramic tile for a mosaic. Since “Growth”, I have used much smaller and more varied tiles for my art, but the principle is the same: take little pieces of hard things and stick them onto something else with an adhesive. Allow to dry and grout, if needed. Done. I guess you could say I have grown some myself since I made “Growth”. This particular mosaic looks positive and uplifting to me, but I could have made a malevolent mosaic with the same title. Sometimes the word ‘growth’ has the connotation of improvement, of looking forward to better times. Sometimes it means the inevitable- never stopping in one pleasant place, or at one illustrious stage, but moving on into the unknown, unwillingly. But, sometimes ‘growth’ brings sorrow or panic, as in, “You have a growth in your right lung.” I guess the reason we are often afraid of growth is because it can be painful. Ask the young teenager with aching legs about this. Ask the young adult who has been plied with about one too many hard life lessons simultaneously. Ask me, the middle-aged person who is learning new skills every day, but whose body and memory aren’t always cooperative with the spirit. I tell my same-age friends that by the time we get used to the accommodations to middle-age, we’ll be elderly and will have to start a new set of accommodations.
Sometimes growth is crooked when it would be better straight. It is painful to look at a tree having to grow around a hindrance, just as it is painful to see a human having to become jagged or bent from avoiding some obstacle to his best development. Sometimes hindered growth becomes beautiful over time, as in a coastal tree that is bent from the constant wind, yet has lithe, plaintive, reaching branches focused in one direction. An old person who has experienced many setbacks in life, but whose spirit has thrived, becomes beautiful.