The Youth Arts Arise program at the Somerville Armory is back for a second year of free arts classes for local teens. And once again, I was able to teach a short session of mosaic as part of the program. This time I had the extra pleasure of working with Karen Edlund, mosaic artist extraordinaire, and in the process she taught me many tricks of the trade. First of all, I had no idea that you could clean off grout with no water! Why didn’t anyone tell me that?! And the wheel on mosaic nippers can be turned to find a sharper edge! On top of all that secret knowledge, Karen brought an array of dental tools and vinegar prefect for final cleaning.
To make our mosaics we used mixed media, including glass tiles, found objects and photos under clear glass to create square compositions that reflected our interests and our personalities. Today we grouted the work, using four different colors of grout to complement the colors of each piece. I also seized the chance to make a grout board that will allow future students to see how different grout colors interact with different tile colors.
Two of the youth who participated this year were part of the program last year, which meant that we had a really nice variety of skill levels. And after four sessions we have six established mosaic artists!