We’ve been following the trail of Redmond mosaic artist Kate Kerrigan since June 2021 — a trail that has taken her all over the country. Now, her 1 1/2 year project called “Piecing Us Together” is finished.
When we first introduced you to Kate, she was sticking pins in a map, plotting a cross country route, through her past.
“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.”
And so off she went, asking everybody along the way to participate in an art project, to contribute a small mosaic piece as part of a much bigger picture.
Through 40 states, 151 days on the road, more than 25,000 highway miles. Offering a break from pandemic isolation and “Piecing Us Together.”
JUNE 17, 2021: Traveling Tapestry: Redmond woman embarks on cross-country art project
DECEMBER 14, 2021: ‘Piecing Us Together’: Local woman returns from 131-day artistic adventure
“That was like the best thing. The smiles on people’s faces. Being able to create this little piece of mosaic and know that they’re part of something bigger is really big.”
Really big indeed; More than 30-square feet of mosaic made up of hundreds of little bits.
“There were 551 separate pieces.”
Kate says collecting them was just the beginning.
“That was the easy part actually, traveling around the country and talking to friends and family and making art.”
The real work started this past summer in the same backyard studio where she first stuck pins in a map. Every separate mosaic strip was collected and meticulously documented, names, dates and memories all carefully cross-referenced.
“Literally every piece I pick up, I write down the name and it conjures up the whole story of me going to visit and I remember what we ate what we talked about, where we were.”
At every step, Kate she has told us she had only the vaguest vision of a finished product, even when she had all those little pieces in front of her.
“I laid out, probably two different designs before this one, trying to get it to all fit together like a big jigsaw puzzle.
“And then it was go time and putting in the first piece was so nerve-wracking because I’m like ‘Oh, God. I hope I’m doing this right’ and don’t mess this up.”
Finally, four months after that first piece went down and a 1 1/2 years after the first glint of an idea and all that work, the time came to wrap it up.
“It’s like push, push, push. Good days, bad days, lots of cuss words, blood, sweat, literally in all of it. But yeah, it has finally come to the last name going in. The last person. My former neighbor, Karla.”
Kate calls the moment surreal and celebrates with a laugh and a sigh of relief.
“Thats it, haha. Whooooo! She’s done! Oh my goodness.”
But the “Piecing Us Together” piece has been built in three sections. The artist hadn’t even seen the finished product yet.
Central Oregon Daily’s Allen Schauffler helped her maneuver the sections together for her first look at what she and so many others have been working towards.
It’s 12 feet wide, 2 1/2 feet high. And in the pieces, as they finally fit together, she sees the country she has traveled.
“You see mountains and urban centers, desert and dry areas, lush green areas, water.”
And she sees unity, inclusion. 551 human beings — all of us, really.
“This is what we can all do when we come together. Make something beautiful. All of our differences aside. This is something special.”
So the art is done, but not the engineering and the planning. Kate has to figure out how to hang it and transport it.
She’s hoping to have it displayed in art galleries or museums around the country so everybody, especially the people who helped create it, can see the finished work.
So far, she has interest from ten different locations and the Albuquerque Ballet Company wants to do an original dance piece based on the project.