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Sonoma County Gazette
Suzanne Carlin (left) and Artist Frances Brigman (right)
Suzanne Carlin (left) and Artist Frances Brigman (right)

Beauty in a Broken World

Mosaics from the Tubbs Wildfires

Apr 30, 2018


By Dale Englehorn

My husband and I, like so many others, barely escaped the wildfires last autumn with our lives. And like others who experienced the ensuing bittersweet chapters of returning to our houses finding these worlds largely reduced to ash, we were curious about the shards of mostly terra-cotta, stone, and ceramic and that managed to somehow endure.

My former Larkfield neighbor, Kathy Farrell, a skilled mosaicist and I wanted to gather community members to make mosaics together from these precious survived pieces.

shards of broken pottery among the ashes“Finding beauty in a broken world” is a quote from Terry Tempest Williams‘ book of the same name. She goes on to say, “a mosaic is conversation between what is broken”. The very language of Tesserae (an ancient Italian kind of mosaic) tells us that “this harmony is only achievable by the breaking and then rediscovery of the mosaic fragments reunified as a whole”. 

The pieces I am making and am gifting to family (see below contain things like: my great grandmothers Royal Dalton China, the little ceramic green man that hung for years on my art studio wall outside by the orchard, and my wedding ceremony Navajo drinking vessel.

Kathy and I plan to cover a stone bench that survived at our Ursuline Road property with mosaics and place it by the sidewalkless road as a welcoming colorful spot of beauty and rest - and as a memorium to the firestorm and to our 2 Larkfield neighbors who lost their lives.

If readers are interested in joining this healing art mosaic-making, Tawyna Lively has a wonderful mosaic blog:

Tyra Benoit


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