Three-Hour-Mural with Josef Norris

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I am not a speed artist. I don’t do anything in three hours, let alone a 9’x12′ wall. The great joy of this class for me was learning to work against my grain, with no time for obsessing, intricate cuts, considering and reconsidering the design, or taking a sleep-on-it break.

This weekend I was lucky enough to make my first visit cross-country for a stay at Laurel True’s fabulous Institute of Mosaic Art. The occasion was a workshop offered by San Francisco mural artist Josef Norris, who has facilitated 66 mural projects in Bay Area public schools, in addition to his own mosaic installations. Our class of nine mosaic artists, all women, was composed primarily of dedicated artists beginning work in the public sector. Along with two half-days of advice, q&a, and tips, we completed this 9’x12′ mural in the Jingletown section of Oakland. In fact, I have to tell you that our nine fabulous women completely tiled this wall in three hours! We grouted the second afternoon in three colors, and from mixing to the final clean-up, took only about 2-1/2 hours.

Josef had the simple design chalked in before we began, handed us buckets of mostly-broken tile, and said “Go. You have three hours.” And you know? I’m damn proud of it. I hope this experience will filter over into much of my life, which I yearn to spend working in a blessedly meditative way, but could really benefit from dividing the meditation from the unproductive angst.

For more info on Laurel True and IMA, look here. For more info on Josef Norris and his Lid Serve murals, look here.

6 thoughts on “Three-Hour-Mural with Josef Norris

  1. YES! I’m going back in April for Laurel’s week-long Mural-Making-Intensive, and I can’t wait. I so wish I were close enough to take them all, because the classes offered are all so inspiring — not to mention the wonderfully creative and giving atmosphere of the school itself. There was an exhibit of mandalas just created in Lilian Sizemore’s Mind’s Eye class that I could have studied for days.

    Yes, there’s a hotel very close by called Executive Inn and Suites. It’s well-priced, and I was able to get a large “suite” with a big work desk for my mosaic-in-progress, which I tucked into my suitcase, and a nice balcony overlooking the estuary. Got to watch the sun rise and set, and little water birds pecking for seaworms and floating on the water — it was just beautiful. And the hotel shuttle will deliver you and pick you up from both the airport and IMA.

  2. 3 HRS!!! EGADS!! It is blowing my mind doing it that fast. The class looks Great! Josef has done so many wonderful mosaic murals in California! what a great class to be part of. I have been wanting to get myself cross-country to the IMA. Are the hotels near? Are you taking any other courses?

  3. This is fantastic! What a great project! You”ll have to point this out to me when we do this mural class – I cannot wait for it now that I know I’m heading over.

    I love how this was working outside the box for you – as far as time management goes. I tend to over-think some projects and working like this can be so freeing! It really looks fantastic. Lucky you!!!

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