Tuesday, August 6, 2019

When the Pieces Come Together

I previously wrote a post on the importance of a portable hobby. One of my hobbies that seems to ebb and flow depending on time and place and mood is creating art. Luckily for me, my dear friend J ran a mosaic art studio in Nairobi, which allowed me to refill my fairly depleted creative reserves. I spent about six months working on one project: a coffee tray. It may sound simple to make a mosaic coffee tray, but the process was quite involved: painting the glass, cutting pieces that were correctly sized and shaped, gluing them precisely, leaving enough space for the grout, and all of the steps required in finishing including grouting, painting the tray, and sealing the glass.

When it came to the design, I chose a graphic from Ingress, an augmented reality smart phone game (the one in which M proposed to me almost five years ago but that others may be more familiar with as the predecessor to Pokemon Go). To make it a surprise for him, I used a design from our team/side within the game: the Enlightened. Although the complex image and especially the small glass pieces were a major challenge, it was all worth it to see the final product (and to finish miraculously just before our departure).

There was something soothing about the repetitiveness of working on the mosaic for hours at a time and doing something with my hands after a long workweek of exercising my brain. I enjoyed the company of a number of other women inside and outside the Embassy who joined for the art class, as well. We all encouraged each other in our projects and benefited from the inspiration of each other's projects and creativity. I'm so happy with the final product and feel so lucky to have found this before I had to leave Kenya!

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