Writing is a dream, fantasy and passion for me and I long for time to write, something to write about and the ability to do it well, but at the same time, I have lately been drawn to artistic endeavors and I find that indulging in these opens the spickets of creativity and makes writing flow more freely. Co-teaching a mosaic class this summer has allowed me to explore a medium that is new to me and I am finding that spending time in the studio is a muse for my creative brain. I enjoy sitting, examining lovely tiles, creating designs and using new tools and materials. I enjoy translating the language of mosaic into understandable language for children, helping them discover their own ideas and gently guiding them to stay focused and create a work of art that instills pride. I have never pictured myself as a visual artist and don’t have much talent for painting or drawing but mosaic works for me. I can play with shapes and colors; I can create thematic lessons revolving around mosaic styles including ideas to transfer the knowledge through visual, oral, and kinesthetic manners. It is interesting to me that my involvement with the mosaic classes has brought me back to my creative self.
I realized today the importance of having a creative outlet when Gary and I went with artist Karen and her husband Barry, to a homeless shelter in Boyle Heights to assist with a mosaic project that Karen does monthly with the residents. We brought along two of my mother’s dear friends, Helen and Libby, who grew up in Boyle Heights. We were all impressed by the dedication the residents of the shelter demonstrated when it came to painting and designing their tiles. They focused for 2 hours and beamed with pride while showing their completed projects. I ended up playing with the children while their parents painted tiles. We played Candyland and read stories and talked about taking turns, patience and treating people nicely. There were about 10 children in the little room stocked with donated blocks, dolls, games and books and the age range was from two to seven. It was both draining and exhilarating but by 6 o’clock, as we cleaned up and left to grab a bite at a local, age-old Mexican restaurant, we all felt a camaraderie and sense of purpose doing something of value, something creative, something to help others create and to give, without expectations.