I originally featured a story on my friend and singular Renaissance woman and artist extraordinaire, 2 years ago, when the first set of these monumental mosaic panels went up. The final triptych was installed in June, and I want to share her brilliant art again. I am so proud to know her, and so proud to have been a just a small part of this amazing project. Along with countless others, I had the privilege to work as a volunteer on the VSAA Confluence Project in Vancouver, Washington with mosaic artist, Julie Brown, of Lake Oswego, Oregon. This is a 6-panel series which has been installed on the Main Street side of the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. Each panel measures over 6′ x 15′ when complete, and is comprised of puzzle-like pieces which fit together when installed, to form an image or images that tell the story, through history, architecture, and wildlife, of the Columbia River. Or, this from the Confluence Project website:
What is Confluence Project?
“At seven points along the Columbia River Basin, an unprecedented endeavor continues to unfold. Here, where rivers meet and indigenous people once gathered, the Confluence Project explores the intersection of environment, cultures and a regional history that reaches back many hundreds of years. Confluence Project is a collaborative effort of Pacific Northwest tribes, renowned artist Maya Lin, civic groups from Washington and Oregon and other artists, architects and landscape designers. The project stretches more than 300 miles from where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean, to Clarkston, WA, with sites in both Oregon and Washington. Each of its seven sites features an art installation by Ms. Lin that interprets the area’s ecology and history, encouraging the visitor to reflect on how the surroundings have changed over time. Each references a passage from the Lewis and Clark journals. With distinctive artworks and restored native habitat, the four currently completed sites create new points of contact – confluence – between nature and art; past, present and future; and the enduring communities of the Pacific Northwest-its Native People and more recent visitors and residents.” Julie works with ceramic, glass, and any object she finds that works into the image she is trying to create: in this project she utilized vegetable steamers
antique car parts,
and miscellaneous aluminum forms she found browsing the aisles of hardware stores. She is a true master of the mosaic medium, and managed an often random team of volunteers which she trained to cut tile and glass, and learn all the steps of this labor-intensive art form. I was lucky enough to be one of those volunteers, and while my time was very limited, it was a thrill to be involved.