Every year I volunteer as a mentor artist for a big fundraising auction and gala to benefit juvenile arthritis research, in which I'm paired with a teen who has juvenile arthritis, and we create a big piece of art together, then auction it off at a fancypants gala for the charity. You might remember the city map papercutting
we did last year! So this year, we wanted to top what we'd done before, and decided to do a paper mosaic, in a stained glass style. WELL. Let me tell you, hand-gluing over 100K pieces of paper the size of a grain of rice or a bean TAKES WAY FREAKING LONGER THAN YOU'D THINK. It took us a full 6 weeks longer than we thought it would, oopsie!
Our piece "Wichita Proud" is a 28x36" watercolor, Tiffany-Style paper mosaic mounted on a watercolored canvas. Each piece was individually painted, cut, and meticulously hand-glued to create a stained-glass effect of the iconic Keeper of the Plains silhouetted against the Wichita flag (I also included a pic of the Keeper- he is an iconic symbol of our city, a 44-foot tall steel sculpture created by legendary Kiowa-Comanche artist, Blackbear Bosin). Many of the pieces of paper are as small as a grain of rice, and had to be placed with tweezers, with final details stitched to the canvas in bronze thread. The work was incredibly time consuming; the Keeper's headdress alone took more than 18 hours.
We worked together (often with enthusiastic help from my kitties) to paint, cut, and glue, with frequent breaks to watch movies, sing showtunes, and learn to play ukulele. Oh, and play with the kitties, of course. With this piece, we wanted to create something that would inspire hometown pride in the viewer (three cheers for Wichita, woo!), showing off some of the iconic imagery that is unique to our home. With the Wichita flag illuminating the Keeper like a setting sun, golden light and twilight shadows surround this symbol of our city. The map last year was a huge hit, and we actually got quite a few requests for another show-stopper that was city-centric (a lot of the winning bidders have downtown office buildings or are city officials, so quite a few of the art pieces hang publicly, and the Wichita-themed stuff seemed to really get people excited!).
And some process pics, because why not?
Some of the many little bowls of colors, all nicely separated out so we could pick precisely the exact shade and gradient and texture of little bits of paper that we needed.
This is Rufus. He was very helpful, as you can see here.
And here's a photo of the Keeper of the Plains, watching over the city at the confluence of the two rivers. We liked the way the sun and shadow looked on this particular shot, so we tried to emulate that in the shading when choosing our individual pieces.
And here's the Wichita flag.