I don’t know what the word is for me; life-long learner, school-a-holic, knowledge junkie? Yikes. Somehow none of those terms sound good. All I know is, I sure do like to be in school, taking classes and learning stuff. I was in college for 7 years after all.
When my blogging bud, Stacy Brewer, of the blog Seattle Seedling announced her plans of starting an “Urban Farm Schoolhouse”, I was totally on board. I was especially happy to see that she was offering a Mosaic Flower Stone Workshop. I had seen some of her mosaics on her blog and was totally jealous of her skills, so I signed up immediately.
I’ve been reading Stacy’s blog for a while, so how wonderful her garden and schoolhouse are did not surprise me, but it was very cool to see them in real life. Her garden is such a great example of, well, everything! There are bottle borders, clever trellises, rain gutter gardens, chickens, a rabbit, raised beds, square foot gardening, mosaics and more!
It was hard not to jump right in and ask tons of questions about her garden, but I knew that wasn’t what we there for, so I kept it to a minimum. We got a quick tour of the garden, where I took a few photos of the mosaics, that were beautifully incorporated into it (several mosaic stepping-stones and one really incredible mosaic mural). Then we headed into the schoolhouse for our first lesson on mosaic making!
The schoolhouse itself was a well-lit, adorably decorated, cozy and comfortable converted garage. It was rainy and cold out the first night, but the schoolhouse was toasty and warm. Stacy’s attention to detail was impeccable.
Her teaching style was impressive as well. She was organized, funny and honest. Stacy’s a grade school teacher by day and I could immediately tell that she is good at what she does. In that first class, we focused on materials (glass and tile), where we could get them and how to cut them. She told us where we could get the best materials and tools for the least amount of money, which I appreciated. There was no up-sell or hidden agenda.
We then learned about thin set, how to mix it and use it to adhere our tile to the substrate (in our case a stone).
Stacy kept us focused and on schedule, so by the end of that class, we had arranged our mosaic pieces (called tesserae) and adhered them to the stone.
One week later, we returned for part two, which was all about grout! We learned that grout comes in different textures and colors and Stacy showed us her technique for creating a custom color. Our final task was to mix and apply grout to our mosaic flower stones.
I thought is was so neat that I got to complete a mosaic project from start to finish in just a couple of evenings and have something to take home! Plus, Stacy taught us everything we needed to know to start making mosaics on our own, so I can’t wait to work on a bigger, more intricate piece. If you are interested in taking this class, and I highly recommend it, it’s being offered one more time this Summer on June 14th and 21st.
There are other fun-sounding and unique classes as well, from Space Saver Gardening to Cocktail Gardening (this one sounds very interesting to me). For a full list of her Summer Classes go to: seattleseedling.com.
On a related note, I took this class about a month ago. Since then, my mother passed away. My flower stone had just been sitting on my desk in my studio. On Mother’s Day, in remembrance of my mother, Matt and I planted a hydrangea (thoughtfully given to me by my work) in her honor. My flower stone, with a message to my mother written on the bottom, found it’s home at the base of that hydrangea.