Well, she’s done. “My Mother Lived and Died” is 11″ x 23″ and uses Shell, Coral, Pearls, Transparent Smalti, China, Pyrite, and Ceramic. I made it as a stab in the dark at working through the death of my mother, but of course really as a way to order my mind around the concepts of life and death in general. The mosaic traces the concept of life from the central birth motif, through the varied passages of life, to the climb up the final mountain and release of the soul. It uses pieces of a woman’s life (china, pearls) along with an evolutionary theme of tides, procreation (the miniature fetal-shaped snail shells), fragments of sea-tossed shell, the “sands of time,” and an edging of ephemeral sea foam. The central haliotis shell, which echoes the spiral sea shapes, shelters five pink pearls, just visible through the tiny arc of holes. I need to capture a detail shot. You’ll see it here first.
I’m happy with the mosaic, and it makes me smile to see it. I love the way the light bounces off of the transparent smalti and the gold and white china. I love the water-smoothed shell fragments. I love the fragility of the souls expressed in hard shell. I like the flow. But I have a hard time seeing it as mosaic, and even more so as well-executed mosaic. What moves a piece beyond just a collection of pretty things into the realm of art? Comments welcome. See more pictures here.