Mosaic art is about pieces.
Lots of little pieces.
Redmond’s Kate Kerrigan has traveled to Italy to study the old-world ways of putting those pieces together.
“Each individual piece, no matter what it is, stone, glass, found object, each little piece in a mosaic is called a ‘tesera,'” she explains, calling the process contemplative, meditative, calming and reassuring.
“I love working with my hands. I am such a tactile person. Just every aspect of it. You’re cutting. You’re picking it up, you’re touching everything, placing it in,” she said. “These pieces have been touched a thousand times, you know you’re making all these little decisions. It’s neat to step back and say “wow, after all that time, this is what it turned out to be!”
Kerrigan has realized life is sort of like that too; lots of different little pieces, forming a bigger picture.
A 50th birthday put it all in perspective.
“It’s a big milestone. I’m closer to the finish line than I am the starting line ” she says with a chuckle. “You start looking at your life a little bit different. Almost an urgency. What things haven’t I done? what do I want to do? What’s important to me? We’re not all around forever. No matter how young or old, we’re not around forever. We don’t get forever.
So, she’s planning a road trip.
“My initial destination is lacrosse, Wisconsin, that’s where I’m from,” she said. “That’s where mom is and she turns 80 on the 14th of July.”
And she’s planning an art project; a cross-country creative binge. She plans to make stops all over the Midwest, New England, down the Eastern Seaboard to Florida, then back across the South through Texas, New Mexico, Utah, California and back home to Redmond.
If the Canadian border opens, she’ll go there too.
She’ll reconnect with the people of her past and ask each one to contribute to her project.
How many possible stops?
“There’s about 500 right now,” Kerrigan said. “Friends and family that I know from all walks of life. People from yoga, climbing, writing. All the places I’ve worked, all the places I’ve lived.”
Her trusty Subaru is retrofitted as an all-wheel drive, live-in, mosaic studio for the journey of four to six months.
She wants everyone she visits to create their own small piece of flexible, fiberglass-backed, mosaic art, which she will eventually weave into a bigger picture; the fabric of her life.
“In my head I have this sort of tapestry with an undulating surface, creating this fabric I have woven together representing my life,” she said. “So all these people who are a part of it. They’ve helped me weave my life right now.”
After the last strange, challenging year and a half, she feels it’s the perfect time to reach out and get people involved.
“Seems to be a window of opportunity right now. People need a little uplifting, a little smile, a little hug, a handshake. You know, in-person gatherings,” she said.
Lots of little pieces.
Lots of different hands and hearts involved.
Lots of variables.
She’ll call the finished product, whatever it looks like, “Piecing us Together.”
How will it all fit together in the end?
Kerrigan admits, beyond that vague vision of a tapestry, she can only guess.
“That’s kind of exciting,” she said. “Letting go of the end result and really trying to enjoy the process and the progress along the way.”