Building Up the Crowd on the Panel and in the Room


Laughter. Tears of joy. Frustration. Problem-solving. Messiness. Wonderment. Amazement. Satisfaction. Sore feet. Mental fuzziness. Happy glow.

These are part of the character of a weekend-long mosaic marathon.

For those of you who don’t know, I have spent two years now training mostly non-artists to see, to observe, to use mosaic tools, to solve problems, and to allow themselves to experiment and undo experiments while making large panels for University Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. I learn from my fellow participants, and they from me.

These panels re-tell a story about Jesus and trust, disciples and letting-go, all of us and surprise and fulfillment and sharing. It’s called “The Feeding of the 5000”, and our panels are set in contemporary Austin.

In this fourth panel of six, Jesus is pointing to the weary, hungry crowd before them and assigning his groupies/students to feed the people with what seem like non-existent resources.

I like to think of the confusion, the doubt, the puzzlement that would enter my mind were I the woman in turquoise or the man in sky blue print.

big part of the satisfaction for me in supervising the making of these panels is introducing people to their non-verbal side. This is the side that sees people a few yards away in the picture as appearing to be a fraction of the height of foreground people. This is the side that sees how light falls on the high spots, making them very light indeed, while the places hidden from the light are extremely dark. It is the side of us that divines how facial expressions and body language send signals- signposts for the telling of a story.

I love watching people decide, “I do”, instead of, “I don’t”.

Among other mosaic-related tasks, participants this weekend enlarged the crowd scene in this panel. We all enlarged our idea of community.

There were 20 church members, 2 Austin Mosaic Guild members, and about 8 Micah 6 food pantry participants who had a hand in this weekend’s festivities. Hundreds of people have helped create the panels in the past two years. We are not finished yet.