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Mosaic has students buzzing


The imagery within Hardin Valley Academy’s new 110-square foot ceramic tile mosaic, under construction on a wall below the stairway facing the schools’ main entrance, has had students buzzing with anticipation.

“What’s really been surprising to me is the response of other students watching this be built in front of them, a little bit each day. … Trying to guess what it’s going to be,” said HVA advanced art teacher Hope Brashear, whose class of nine is using a “modern” concept.

With some outside professional help.

While it has “several shades of blues,” tying into HVA’s school colors of navy blue and powder blue, the mosaic has “black, burgundy, white, all sorts of things going on,” said Bailey Earith, Farragut “full-time studio artist” for hire and expert in tile art — with her fiber art displayed in a handful of locations nationwide — who is leading the project.


With construction during each school day from 7 to 8:20 a.m., “The design they came up with for the wall is gorgeous, it’s really creative and it’s going to speak to the theme, which is flight, because they’re the Hawks,” Earith said.

However, “It’s a geometric, modern, organic shape; it’s not a literal figure,” she added. “It’s a play on colors and shapes depicting motion.”

Senior Emily Ledet, who along with senior Kristin Eubanks helped Brashear and Earith coordinate the work, said the design “has a lot of different meanings in it: it represents the Valley, the Hawk’s wing and the Hawk’s eye, so it just has a lot of school spirit.

“It’s kind of a colorful way to start out your day,” Ledet added.

Eubanks said she and Ledet “kind of collaborated everybody’s ideas and just made something to represent our school and the area.”

Brashear said her students benefit from “collaboration” and “problem solving” along with “trying something new and figuring out how to do it.”

Earith, who runs Bailey Fiber Arts Studio out of her home in Walnut Grove subdivision, began training the art class in ceramic tile work Jan. 17 — twice weekly during one art class period. “They just spent the [first] week kind of learning about the process and prepping the material,” Earith said.

Construction on “the piece” began Monday, Jan. 24, and “it should be done by Feb. 10, at the latest,” said Earith, who is assisting in the mosaic’s construction.

“The kids will do most of the labor; I’m there for technical supervision,” Earith added. “I had to teach them the history of [tile art] and how it’s used in designs so that they had a concept of what the material could do. So when they were designing their project they would know that it couldn’t be too detailed because of the nature of the medium.”

With a $1,000 grant from Tennessee Arts Commission plus other donations, this tile art project cost the art department “less than $200,” Brashear said.

 

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