Every time a long term mosaic project draws to an end, there are always mixed emotions. There's a sense of sadness or loss for perhaps no longer having a reason to meet up and work on a regular basis, but at the same time there is the elation and personal pride of having created and completed something beautiful and enduring which has expressed and integrated a part of you !
For any any form of physical exercise to succeed, it is said that it must be social, not solo. (Abandoned Gym equipment on the pavement bears mute testimony to that !) I've seen that this also applies to making art- particularly mosaic art, because of the lavish amount of time and focus this process demands of the maker. So two strands bind together like DNA over any mosaic project- namely creativity and storytelling. In a group or a class setting, you truly do build meaningful relationships. You have to problem solve, master new skills and learn a creative process. And as if that is not enough, making mosaic art does not tolerate rigidity or perfectionism. So many class participants initially find themselves way out of their comfort zones, challenged by working with their hands and learning to trust both themselves and the facilitating visual artist to pick and cut piles of disparate bits and pieces then slowly and methodically arrange them all into a glorious synthesis. The fact that there are others present who are engaged in the same journey provides diverse and unique insights, peer review and therefore direction and a better learning experience.
Then there are all those intangibles which cannot be measured- yet are so valuable. Things like not being able to sleep at night after evening class because your mind has been stimulated so much by the creative processes you and your classmates have been engaged in. Or, the stimulating shared conversations around the table on culture, politics, work, spirituality, family, travel and more. Because everyone is focused on working with their hands, there seems to be more inclination to really listen to each other.
More than what is depicted, when I view completed mosaics at the end of an eight week course, or I visit mosaics I have facilitated in the past with councils, schools, businesses or community groups, I often 'see' all of those intangibles within each tessera that has been cut, laid and bound together with glue and grout.
Creating mosaic art together is so good, not just because you end up with an exquisite physical artwork, but because it reverts its creators from human doings, back to human beings !