This week has been busy- organizing/finding and sending home artwork! Plus- on Wednesday night I was able to attend the Compassion St. Augustine Obelisk Reception at Flagler College. This was a really awesome collaborative art project that teachers were invited to participate in with their classes in order to teach principles such as compassion, equality and kindness in our community. I had my art club students work on our design. I began first researching the background of the Obelisk itself- which seems to originate from Ancient Egyptian culture. Then the students began brainstorming symbols and pictures that represent compassion which includes the peace sign, hearts, faces and nature.
Watch the Video of how the Obelisks were made!
Then I began thinking about how to incorporate some elements to our designs that relate to ancient art forms such as mosaic and clay. So we used mask forms to create four faces for each side of our Obelisk. They were dried, fired and glazed. Then I ordered many small tiles and glass gems that the students got to adhere to the designs that they drew onto the Obelisk.
THEN we grouted- Black grout...which I thought would really make the color of the tile POP. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong. We also probably could have gone a little lighter on the gooey, tarlike (premixed) black grout. That night I was scrubbing that thing until my finger tips were almost raw!
The outcome was disappointing to say the least. So I put it in a corner, let the kids scrub it and tried to get their feedback and ideas. Some suggest the black was too dark- so I got some lighter brown grout- and we RE-GROUTED (using less grout this time) and the result......well it just looked dirty. LOL
So once again, our Obelisk got cornered until our next art club meeting. The kids loved it, but I just thought it needed something more. Many of my fourth grade were working on Egyptian portraits at the time and had used gold paint for many of the patterns- so I put two and two together and BAM- I thought- "could we just paint the grout gold!?" I wasn;t sure. I was sure was going to try. So we grabbed the bottle of gold and bam- IT WAS AWESOME. The natural color and shine gave it a real 'Egyptian' look and complemented the gloss of the tile and glass. We had also used mirror tiles which created a really awesome 'reflection' aspect of the sculpture- which I explained to the kids would allow people to reflect on themselves as they viewed the piece. The result was a unified, gorgeous mosaic Obelisk that I am so excited will be displayed around our city. I am so proud of our work and how much we learned.