Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Put People First; A Mosaic for the Vermont Worker's Center

After discussing a Mosaic Workshop for the Voices and Choices Self Advocacy Conference (mentioned in previous blog), with Green Mountain Self Advocates (GMSA) State Coordinator, Karen Topper, she approached me with an additional idea. How about a mosaic placque for the Ally of the Year Award this year.  It was to be given to The Vermont Worker's Center, a grassroots organization, for their work alongside GMSA with the PUT People First Campaign and their dedication to making sure all Vermonters have a voice. I loved the idea and was thrilled to be a part of the project.

The wheels began spinning instantly and at a rally the same week. We grabbed one of the PUT PEOPLE FIRST Campaign Posters and got to work.
After the wooden frame was built I transferred the pattern and started the lay work. The materials used included stained glass, glass tiles, seed beads, glass gems, buttons, and glass beads.
Background details in progress
Making Progress. A whole lot of red glass!

The award being presented

The Award being presented by members of GMSA, at the Voices and Choices Conference in Burlington, Vermont

This is now hanging in their office location in Burlington, Vermont

Detail of the personal placque installed within the Mosaic.
It was a great project to be a part of and an honor to have it presented at the conference in front of over 500 hundred people. For more information on Green Mountain Self Advocates and The Vermont Worker's Center check out the following links.
The Vermont Workers Center

For any inquiries about having signs or Mosaic Art created for yourself or your organization shoot me an email at daybreaksglass@gmail.com or visit my facebook page Day Breaks Glass


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Self Advocacy through Mosaic Art

For many years now I have, along with my mosaic and stained glass art, worked with individuals with developmental disabilities. Assisting them with their daily life activities, teaching classes, taking them to various places, and managing crisis situations. I have often enjoyed intertwining some artful forms of expression into their lives when needed. This is not always well received as we are all different but most of the time it is.

A couple of years back, I did a Mosaic Birdbath with a group of adults with varying degrees of of physical and mental ability. I found a group mosaic to work perfect for this situation. There were a whole bunch of different jobs that needed to be done and many adaptations that could be made. Someday I will dive into a lesson on here about those physical adaptations, but for now I want to stress that all involved had fun and were full of pride when the project was done.

When the Voices and Choices Conference was coming up this May, a conference that supports Self Advocacy and human rights for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, I thought of a group mosaic. What more is a large group of individuals coming together to support a common subject than a mosaic. Lots of individual pieces creating one large picture.

I presented the idea, received support and on the first night of the conference I held my workshop. We had decided we would mosaic the letters GMSA, standing for Green Mountain Self Advocates, the organization who had organized the large scale event at the Sheraton in Burlington, Vermont. There were well over 500 people attending the conference but many workshops happening at one. I had an entire talk prepared with posters about how to run a mosaic project with a large group, materials, adaptations, etc. , but things don't always go the way you plan. Folks came in sat down at the tables and wanted to start gluing. That's just what they did. I let go of my original plan, handed out bowls of shiny pre-cut, non-sharp pieces of glass tile and cups of glue and they filled those letters in no time.

After the workshop, while the conference participants were partying at the dinner dance, I grouted away. Above you can see a before and after.  The completed letters were screwed into their stands and placed on stage for the awards /luncheon the next day to be shared and seen by all conference goers!

 These letters will be used in future endeavors of the Green Mountain Self Advocates to show what beauty can come from many hands working together on a common goal. It was a great experience!