Recycled Materials Are the Focus for April’s Workshops

At the core of Piece by Piece’s mission is making use of recycled materials. Broken plates, scrap glass, chipped ceramics are all discarded elements destined for landfill. But not in mosaic art. These precious materials are celebrated at Piece by Piece.

In April, Program & Artistic Director Dawn Mendelson led a series of workshops focused on pique assiette, a form of mosaic making use of a myriad of rejected materials that have found their ultimate purpose in the hands of artists. The term loosely translates to “stolen plate” in French and is named after Raymond Isidore, a Frenchman who covered his home inside and out with bit of materials he found on his way home from work between 1938 and 1968 in Chartres, France.

Mosaic flowers

Starting with how to break a plate (upside down so you don’t break the glaze) and moving to design techniques that incorporate texture and color into a piece, participants created individual pieces making use of a great variety of materials. Many started with a focal point—a teapot lid or an image from an old plate—and added shards of both ceramic and glass into both whimsical and meditative artworks.

“Pique assiette is magical in that it invites both the artist and the viewer to envision new ideas in common materials,” said Dawn Mendelson. “A broken green plate becomes the leaves on a tree; a chipped vintage teacup holds a bouquet of ceramic flowers. The narrative is shifted from things unwanted to pieces that are celebrated.” The creativity of the artists in April’s workshops reflects this philosophy.

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