We are so looking forward travelling to Santa Barbara and meeting with Elizabeth Gallery and Robin Elander as part of a Certificate Design Course we are delivering. What a project and how thoroughly are they researching the many layers of history to be reflected in the Santa Barbara Timeline Mosaic. Building a project made by the people for the people. This fits perfectly with the ethos of London School of Mosaic where we reach out to residents and those who could be uplifted by practising artisan craft, giving themselves time to think about quality of life and reflecting about their local history.
We know Betsy and Robin are delving back into pre-history when the area was part of the ocean; tapping into the oral history of the Chumash: the seashell people who first settled the Santa Barbara area 13,000 years ago; recording the first European contacts and how they moved in to trade and then settle the area. Was it the planting of crops and spread of agriculture that supported a population growth? How did the industrial and technological revolutions affect the area? All these subjects and more will be opened up to research and as we think about how best to design a mosaic to last for several hundred years. It will inevitably be our own interpretation and people of the future who see it will wonder why we chose to highlight some themes?
Mosaic is architecture’s most expressive surface. Betsy Gallery is showing how artists and the community can work with developers to include character and detail into the fabric of her neighbourhood. When what we make will last for so long in the future, we can take time to be inclusive and considerate, to put in many symbols and layers of meaning, to keep a record of what we are doing so future generations can look back and find inspiration from our own efforts. If we leave a legacy then we set the future free to use our skills and expertise, to take off with their own fresh interpretations.
We thank Elizabeth and Robin for their invitation and their interest in what we achieved through Queenhithe Mosaic, on which the Santa Barbara Timeline is modelled. This has been a huge complement of our work and we are enormously pleased how this has inspired their project. We look forward in sharing our experience and skills with them.
Find out more about the certificate course we delivering in Santa Barbara in December 2017: Designing large-scale Public Mosaics
Listen to our radio interview with Elizabeth Stewart: