Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mosaic Table Centerpiece Creations for Valley Christian High School

In 2005 and 2006, we created center pieces for the annual VCHS Teacher Appreciation Dinners.

Jan, a member of the Valley Christian High School Board, was chairman of this big event--one of the many she headed up for our kid's high school.

Putting together a memorable sit down dinner for three hundred people, would be a daunting enough task for most human beings. Add to that the responsibility of collecting and artistically arranging the donated items for ninety-some teacher gift baskets, and the creation of fifteen table centerpieces to be raffled as gifts at the end of the evening, and you have a recipe for many months of hard work. This is where bringing your girlfriend along as assistant comes in handy.

In 2005, we chose a colorful theme and planted the centerpieces with Gerber daisies. Using Terra Cotta pots from Italy, we glazed the rims and fired the pots, three at a time, in the kiln. After cooling, the pots were then sealed and mosaiced with a corresponding palette of tesserae. Production in the studio looked something like this. Here's Jan hard at work...
A few of our final pieces photographed by Jan's husband, Brent in their lovely back yard.
Many of our first ceramic tiles --in the form of leaves and flowers--were included in these pots.

In 2006, the Teacher Appreciation Dinner was held at the Cinnabar Golf Club in the Almaden Valley. For this elegant setting, we chose the theme "Under the Sea," along with a softer palette of colors. Once again the pots were glazed, but this time completely covered with our own handmade tiles created from clay slip, in the form of sea shells, mermaids and sea creatures.
The life-like appearance of the shells was obtained, after some experimentation, by painting with ceramic underglazes. Production in the studio (prior to our recent remodel) looked like this... Pots lined up and ready for grouting...Centerpieces were planted with a variety of sedum that had been propagated in Julie's garden for use in this project. These drought tolerant plants look a great deal like coral and plants one would find at the ocean bottom.
Difficult to see in these photos, two tiny glass fish on wires were stuck in the planter-mix to appear swimming above the plants. The centerpieces were placed in the middle of the table and coarse sand sprinkled around their perimeter. Real sea shells and dried star fish, along with glass beads and candles were then arranged around the sand for a lovely effect.
As always, at the end of the evening, names were drawn and the pots given away to the lucky winners.

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