Friday, July 20, 2018

“ Where I’m From” at Montgomery High School

This mosaic mural is the biggest mosaic I have ever worked on. It is 8 by 30 feet long and is located on the outside wall of Montgomery High School in Skillman NJ. The title “Where I’m From” is based on a poem by writer George Ella Lyons. I became familiar with the poem as part of a class I took for teaching artists at Columbia University this past school year. There is a whole website devoted to this poem with the hope that many people will write their own versions in order to find common ground and connections to one another. Please see for more information and photos of this mosaic.

The students at Montgomery created bas relief tile using imagery from their own poems that they wrote with the help of guest poet Jacob Winterstein. I worked with ceramics teacher Tina Dailey who had the vision to create a mosaic that would cover up a racial slur that was etched into the wall of the school some years ago. Tina wanted me to help the students design and create a mosaic mural that brought the community together. At the time I was studying the quilts of Gees Bend with my students at Quinton Elementary. Quilting is a collaborative art form that builds community among the participating quilters. Creating a mosaic quilt in  which each student contributed a clay tile, became the framework for the project. Students designed, created the tile, glazed, grouted and installed this beautiful mosaic. At the dedication, several students spoke about the experience of working on this project. I was truly amazed and touched at how they were able to dig deep within themselves to create an authentic, moving and beautiful work of art.

Detail of inset window


Students installing the mosaic

 Students working on relief tile. 


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