The Installation of my mosaic mural is humming along! The progress in the last few days is astonishing. The photo above was taken yesterday. When I left the Mosaika team today, they were about to install the last two sections of the bottom tier, including the one with my signature. The middle tier is nearly complete, while the top tier has just one section installed.
The days have a pleasant rhythm. All tools and materials are stored in a locked room near the jobsite, so the first order of business is setting up for the day's work. The team brings the tool crate and a stack of mosaic sections, layered in the order in which they will go on the wall. Mortar is mixed away from the jobsite, since we don't have water or power nearby. Once everything is in place, the team checks the previous day's work. While the mosaic is largely intact, there are a number of tiles missing. They will be replaced once the whole mosaic is on the wall. The team has a supply of each color, so they'll be able to custom cut and fit the missing pieces.
One of the most interesting aspects of the process is that we'll be using six different grout colors in order to create a sense of spacial layering in the piece. Mike has begun to test and assign grout colors. The grout transforms the mosaic and since the process is so complex, it will take at least two full weeks to complete. Mike told me that, if we used a single color, the grouting could be done in two or three days.
Every day, lots of people stop by the jobsite. Architects, construction workers and SFAC project managers are regular visitors. The construction team's Inspector of Records, Lewis, documents our progress for the purpose of confirming that we are actually using materials and techniques as we stated we would. Lewis is very supportive of our work. Today, he offered to take me on a hardhat tour of the broader jobsite. My project is just a small part of an enormous remodeling and rebuilding of Terminal 3. Lewis took me behind the scenes, and what he showed me was fascinating, The construction team works around the clock, 24/7.
After my tour, I had a greater perspective on the enormity of this project-- a macro view of the vertical and horizontal spread of the construction project. Upon rejoining the mosaic team, my focus shifted to the micro once again. The photo below is the back of one of the mosaic sections, showing hand-cut edges very clearly, as well as notations in pencil. The sticky plastic sheeting that holds it together has been removed from the backside so that it can be applied to the mortar.
Just as I was leaving the job site for the day, the team pulled out the last section of the bottom tier of the mosaic. My "signature" (my real signature is an illegible scrawl) was added after the final quality check in December 2013, after the mosaic had been packed. I hadn't thought of signing the piece on the front, as I customarily sign my paintings on verso, but Mosaika convinced me that the mosaic should be signed. "A37: Bottom" refers to the bottom portion of the last section of tier A that was held back for the additional glazing required to "sign" the piece. Mike told me today that he brought this section to San Francisco in his suitcase.