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Story links : July 24  July 23 July 19  July 11  July 3  July 2  July 1  June 28  May 16  May 15  May 12

THE AMERICORPS GROUP PROJECT

A COURT YOUTH CENTER INITIATIVE

FUNDING BY PASO DEL HEALTH FOUNDATION

PROJECT CRITIQUE / COMMENTS and BIO's

AMERICORPS BOOK BY ABBY

 PUBLIC ART 

LOGISTICS OF MURAL

July 26

To the story of the project and the AmeriCorps team check out the small booklet Abby Lansing put together.

July 24

The first section of the wall tiles have been moved across the street to the "CHART HOUSE", as it is here where the individual tiles will be assembled according to the charts made by Ken.

There are well over 400 tiles and should they be separated  from the whole, it would be very difficult to know exactly where they should be placed. In other words it might become an impossible jig-saw puzzle.

 The idea is to keep them all numbered and in order so that when the professional artisans finally install them the picture will look like the original design instead of an abstract Picasso.

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1. The Chart House. 2. Work area. 3. Chart One. 4. Chart Two. 5. Chart Three. 6. Actual tiles assembled.

July 23

This is the last week that  Ken Wolverton works with the AmeriCorps team.

Section "C" of the ceramic mural was re-assembled and re-under glazed, as over 30 square feet of tiles were accidentally destroyed  (see July 19 entree) .  That section will be installed at the corner of Soledad and Compas.

Nobody was too happy about doing work that had already been completed, but the team pitched in with good spirit and repainted the section in one day. After that was done, the only thing left to do by the team was to get the art room facilities  back in order and help move the remaining material and tiles across the street to a new workshop space.

Abby Lansing has been responsible for compiling and producing a small documentary booklet covering the team and their  collaborative participation in creating the ceramic mural.

Sara Pfohl is one AmeriCorps member who will stay on at Alma d'Arte and complete the process of firing the tiles and and preparing them for installation sometime in mid-September.

Ken Wolverton will return to coordinate that installation with professional tile artisans.

All that is left now is to fire the remaining 280 square feet.

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1. The kiln that does not destroy. 2. Sara works over design. 3. What we thought was the last part to paint. 4.  The last day we thought... 5. The team together.  6. Abby, Robyn and Sara were responsible for most of the design and layout of the mural. 7. Part of the wreckage.  8. Abby creates the documentary booklet. 9. Tiles out of the kiln. 10. The empty hall where works was assembled and painted. 11.  Ashley cleaning up the mess. 12. Packing it all away for the move across the street.

July 19

Yesterday was not such a good day in one respect, in that a communication error led to the destruction of over 30 square feet of tiles.

It was a simple "zero" dropped from a conversation between Ken Wolverton and the ceramic technician at the Branigan Art Center in Las Cruces. That "0" was approximately 600 degrees difference in temperature between "Cone" .06 and "Cone" 6, the scale that is used in electric kilns.

The result was every tile either melted out of shape or simply exploded. Ken takes responsibility for not understanding the difference in the dropped zero. However on his side of defense a later technician said,  "...a ceramicist should know that this kind of under glaze fires at at cone .06" . There is little point in blaming blames as the damage is done. Ken was told he is now getting closer to being a ceramicist having had the honor of being the first to blow up all the kilns at the Art Center.

The project that was all but done, as far as the application of under glaze to tiles, now may be extended a day or two.

As for the installation of the tiles at the site, it is now impossible to have the mural up before the AmeriCorps group departs from Las Cruces at the end of July.

WATCH THIS SITE TO SEE ONGOING PROJECT

July 11

The AmeriCorps team have done an amazing job and finished "painting" over 300 square feet of tiles by lunchtime yesterday. Of course almost all of the tiles have not been fired yet so much awaits the final outcome.

After lunch The team and Ken went on tour to view Jardin de Mesquite, The Dona Ana Health Center and the site where the new ceramic mural will be installed. They also discussed possibilities of continuing the design onto the two retaining walls to the north. The site can be found on the PUBLIC ART page.

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1. Team in front of the Dona Ana Health Center. 2. Team at site location. 3. Some team members begin new designs on computers. 4. Robin, Abby and Sara put final touches on mural tiles.

July 3.

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122. The kiln has been cracked and we wait to see the results once it cools down. 123. Rebecca, Justin, Rebecca, Joanna and Katie work in the pottery room. 124. Lu Lu, David and Robin in the hallway. 125. Abby and Sara in the painting room.

The team will have a relatively short day, stopping at 3pm so everyone can enjoy the most of their 4th of July weekend.

July 2

Each day the team wages an incredible war on the supplies, going through under glaze, covering section by section of the 140 foot long proposed ceramic tile mural...proposed, because at the moment all waits for the process of fire.

 If our calculations are okay, then the kiln will do what it is supposed to do, and the end product will be ready to install.

But...in a way, all of it is theoretical until it comes out of the cooker.

The ceramic tile mural that was done in Las Cruces in 2006, had several disastrous "firings" before success, so hopefully previous mistakes will be good teachers.

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119. Early morning, clear tables. 120. Robin the designer. 121. Team members choose their space to work.

July 1

The team has painted in the first wall section which measure 50 feet long by 2.75 feet high. So far it is laid out on six long tables in the upper corridor of the school. Within a day or so we will start the "firing" of 20 square feet at a time. That will show us for the first time what our true colors are...

We will work until Thursday afternoon, then it will be the Fourth of July weekend and another short break.

At the moment the plan is that all tiles will be completed by the 24th of July and all fired and ready to install on the wall by July 27. It is very ambitious, but maybe it will happen the way we hope.

Above is a manipulated photo which shows the site and projected mural.

June 28

There was a break in the ceramic tile mural workshop when project lead artist Ken Wolverton left for a four week visit to his former home in Bastelicaccia, Corsica ( France).

On Kens return June 23 the workshops resumed with the addition of two Alma d'Arte High School students, Lu Lu and David.

Designs had been completed by Sara and Robin, then transferred to full scale paper layouts.

Next the team traced the designs directly onto tiles and the application of undercoat glaze commenced. Below shows some of the process taken. At this point approximately 80 square feet have been painted  with another 220 square feet to go...

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May 16

Images from today's  workshop.

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The wall and designs from May 15 workshop.

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May 15

SECOND DESIGN DAY

On the second day of design, the group came up with the designs below.

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FIRST DESIGN DAY

The AmeriCorps Ceramic Mural Project, under the auspices of The Court Youth Center and funded by Paso Del Health Foundation, began May 12, 2008.

The group is composed of 12 artists from around the USA. They are college graduates who have volunteered for one year to work in Alma d'Arte Charter High School,  Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Part of their program is to initiate community arts projects and community development .

Working with professional muralist, Kenneth Wolverton, they began preliminary designs May 12.

Below are the first conceptual designs from Rebecca Kiernan (New York), Robyn Midi (Vermont), Johanna Royo (New Mexico), Abby Lansing (Ohio), Christopher Vick (All-Over), Justin Raines (Texas) , Ingrid Bohnenkamp (Missouri) , Caity DiSanza (Texas), Rebeccah Lopez (New Mexico), Sarah Pfohl (New York), Ashley Emmert (Oklahoma) and Alicia Doyl  (Washington).

The graphic charts (2 & 3) are scale to the walls shown of photo 1.

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LOGISTICS OF MURAL

We are concentrating on a retaining wall on Compos  street, which is comprised of one long wall running N/S divided by a stairwell and around the corner a shorter wall running E/W.

It is 359.6 square feet.

Initial designs

A layout of final design and the first section of fired tile (2.75 feet by 13 feet).