Friday, May 08, 2020

I Found My Puzzle

Puzzles! So many people are doing puzzles, there were reports of shops being sold out. I've seen lots of friends posting pictures of open boxes, pieces spread across dining tables, even several posts of nearly completed puzzles, but with one! missing piece. A lot of suspect cats, too. We have at least two boxes upstairs, and I've been imagining playing with them since Christmas, but I can't seem to make it happen. I finish another day, and wonder... will I ever make time and space for that?

At the same time, I've been fascinated with the idea of learning how to make mosaics. When we moved here, we inherited a utility closet with dusty boxes of tiles... bathroom and kitchen tiles, pool tiles, all from previous owners. Supplies! I spent the last ten years feeling very curious, very inspired, and too intimidated to act. I wanted to get lessons from my friend Carol, who has made gorgeous mosaics... her children, too have created masterpieces. That's not quite possible now, but lucky me... online learning has paved the way. Maria's drawing and design teacher has been posting great IG stories (@jermwright). Seeing his home, and the excellent mosaics there, I asked him if he'd give me tips to dive into making mosaics. Guys! He did me a righteous favor and made video tutorials... so complete, practical, and approachable, I dared to jump!

The tutorials, his teaching style... are so spot on for me. I can forget about feeling intimidated by complicated instructions or elaborate tools and processes. I have a hammer. I have tile adhesive. I have a blank section of foundation, where I can mess things up or create a masterpiece, and it's good either way. Suddenly, I was crushing tiles, and sticking them to the wall. Maria brought me goggles, thankfully, and after that I was gone! Happily in the deep end of assembling a free-style puzzle.

With mostly blue and beige to work with, I saw a beach, water, sky, and I saw that in one afternoon I was moving fast, and would soon be out of inspiration from my limited options. And, how many dishes could I reasonably sacrifice to my obsession? I went online, and ordered two boxes of broken tile. BC... I totally would have hit second hand shops, and other sources, but my mania needed immediate gratification!

Delivery was prompt! Colors arrived, and I saw my puzzle possibilities explode!

It's a long narrow surface, the face of the foundation of our porch. I work crouched, or laying down. It's going to be not fun to grout... I am guessing. And I learn by doing, so there is some weirdness to it, some bits that work better than others. I like the ship, but the fish is not too well defined. Maybe, I shouldn't say "fish." Maybe I should leave it to the viewer. Maybe we are in quarantine, and I am the viewer, and the whole thing has me totally engrossed and happy.

Still tending the garden, still minding the chicks. Still cooking beans, staring at laundry, making PPE.

Now I've come to the end of the wall, I am looking at table tops, other walls, blank slates. I am looking at shapes and colors. Puzzles, everywhere! And gardens to tend, goats to feed, dinners to cook, laundry to fold, PPE to deliver. We keep moving forward... and as Mr Wright says, "Remember, stay strong. Make something. And we'll get through this."