Meet Piece by Piece Artist Kim

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Kim reached out to us in September of 2019, looking to be creative and infuse some arts wellness into her life. She joined our classes when she could for several months; then in February 2020, COVID-19 forced Piece by Piece—as well as the rest of the world—to shut down and shelter in place. We quickly pivoted to online workshops and reached out to the artists we had worked with that we could locate. Happily, we reconnected with Kim in late March, and she has been dedicated to honing her mosaic skills virtually ever since. She is an avid supporter of fellow artists, always present with positive input and comments. Through our online classes that have been both inspirational presentations and hands-on art making, Kim found a lifeline to finding purpose and creativity in her life. During the pandemic, she became a certified artist and contributed to the Village Well mural, her first large-scale mosaic project. She is now working on a personal project as well as participating in another large-scale mosaic for A Community of Friends’ supportive housing in South Los Angeles.

We talked with Kim and asked her a few questions about her work:

What do you like about Piece by Piece? What I like about Piece by Piece is learning about the variety of designing and creating with Mosaics; the balancing of color and shapes; learning about the different artists and their processes. It feeds my inner child, gives me more patience as I look at my designs, and if they aren't working, I slide everything off and start again. It helps me look at art differently, to look at mosaic art and other art forms’ intricacies. I am impressed how a tiny piece of Mosaic can change into a big piece.

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What inspires you to be creative? The other artists in Piece by Piece. I marvel at their mosaic art, their concepts. I'm inspired each day by new things: a yellow butterfly, the mountains outside my window, God, a breeze, listening to other people’s stories, filling the gaps in my artwork, discovering what I could do better, learning how to do people's faces is an inspiration, although they don't always come out looking like people.

What materials do you like to use in your mosaic work? The materials I like best is kind of a hard question. I like them all because they're interchangeable. I like the smalti and glass tiles, pieces of plates or cups. I'm thinking of using plastic caps and plastic to design a mountain. Aluminum foil is interesting on pine cones. Painting pine cones. I saw a great Christmas elf that you can make out of tree branches, paper mache, and buttons, so I guess I'm pretty much open to everything. I'll try anything once.

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What do you want to do learn about more? Oh, what would I like to learn next. I'd like to learn how to do people's faces and their hair, and animals better. The colors primarily, I mean, cutting out their hair so that it flows better like June does with hers. Those are like marvelous pieces and she just amazes me every time I see her work. All of the artists amaze me. But, I really would like to learn that. I think everything else-- the nipping and the cutting and the placing and the shapes--after a lot of practice is going to get easier and easier.

Do you engage in any other creative arts? As to other artists activities, I like writing and painting. I actually had a poem published. Painting with acrylics and watercolors and trying to make different shades. I just like to play around sometimes, like I mentioned about the plastic.

What does Piece by Piece mean to you?

 This is a really hard question because I pretty much can't find one answer. It's everything: the classes are challenging; the friends I've met; the kindness shown by the teachers -- the ladies that are there every day -- you, Gale, Bea , Vicki… just all of you and the visiting artists; seeing and learning about art; the endless possibilities; the poor snails that I learned about [a project from our beginning mosaic virtual  workshop] . It's a lifeline. You make me laugh, and give us the opportunity to create a safe haven to feed the soul as well as our minds. I see the differences in my old pieces and new pieces. I enjoy being part of a community. You're the sane place in an insane world. You guys took care of us during the pandemic, always upbeat. 

 
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